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County Commission Approves More Deputies

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In the end, Sheriff Dan Houston got his deputies.

Bernalillo County commissioners on Tuesday voted 4-1 in favor of authorizing 15 more deputies for the Sheriff’s Department, giving Houston the full 20-deputy expansion he had sought earlier this year. The commission approved five extra deputies earlier this year.

“Nothing good happens in this community if it can’t be policed and secure,” Commissioner Wayne Johnson said.

The political climate has changed since the sheriff’s request was turned down earlier this year. Republicans now control the County Commission because Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, stepped down to run for Congress.

Her replacement, Republican Simon Kubiak, appointed by Gov. Susana Martinez, joined the commission two weeks ago.

Commission Chairman Art De La Cruz, a Democrat, joined the commission’s three Republicans in favor of the expansion. He said the sheriff presented much more information to the commission this time.

Maggie Hart Stebbins, the other Democrat, was the lone “no vote.” She questioned county budget officials repeatedly about whether the county can really afford the extra deputies.

The county administration said the deputies will fit into the budget as long as the current revenue-growth projections are accurate.

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