Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office is replacing the Albuquerque Police Department as tenants of Coronado Center’s mini substation.
At a news conference outside the Uptown-area mall – between the Boot Barn and Kohl’s department store – Sheriff Manuel Gonzales announced the opening of the satellite office Thursday morning. He said it will not be staffed with deputies, but will be used to assist operations in the area and for recruiting.
“Other things like our Community Action Team coming out for periods of time and walking through just to have a presence here,” Gonzales added when asked how the office will be used. “If we want to have our bike unit come out here and ride … Any way we can use it for public relations with the public – we’re going to utilize it to educate people and just to be present.”
However, he said the office’s “commitment is to continue to provide service to … areas that we’re already committed to.”
Rebecca Atkins, an APD spokeswoman, said APD had been at the mini substation for “at least 20 years,” but its lease was not renewed a few months ago, so the department moved out.
“The mall wanted our entire organized crime unit working out of the mall, which was not feasible,” Atkins wrote in an email. “Chief (Harold) Medina has been working closely with the Attorney General’s Office for some time now on a retail organized crime initiative that applies to retail crime citywide.”
She said Medina had asked to have a “recruiting presence” at the location, but the mall declined.
“They decided to go with BCSO,” Atkins said.
General Manager Randy Sanchez said the mall had more than 13 million visitors last year and “there’s always a few bad apples in the crowd.”
He did not return a follow-up call about why the mall decided to go with BCSO instead of APD.
Gonzales said that, for a couple of weeks in June, deputies conducted an operation at the center that resulted in the arrests of more than 100 people.
“There was over a 90% reduction in retail crime here at the center,” Gonzales said. “And, of those over 100 people that were arrested, 100% of the property was recovered, leading to tens of thousands of dollars of merchandise that was not stolen.”