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Bernalillo County Sheriff-elect John Allen on Monday announced the names of three people he plans to appoint to top deputy positions on his command staff, a group he says reflects the diversity of the community.
Lt. Aaron Williamson and Sgt. Johann Jareno will be appointed undersheriffs. Retired Sgt. Hollie Anderson, who recently was with the Albuquerque Police Department’s Violent Crimes Section, will be appointed to major, a new rank with the sheriff’s office, Allen said in a news release.
The three, who have taken different career paths, bring more than 50 years of combined law enforcement experience to their new roles. Allen said in an interview that his team has unique backgrounds and career paths, and the sheriff-elect said he’s hoping they will improve trust between the agency and the community.
“I am confident in the skills and leadership of these individuals to accomplish the mission and goals I have set forth for the agency, while being a clear representation of the community we serve,” Allen said in a statement.
Allen, a Democrat, was elected sheriff last month and will be sworn into office on Jan. 1.
He said Williamson brings administrative experience and familiarity with speaking on behalf of the department, thanks to his time as a spokesman for the office. He said Jareno, an immigrant, has a multicultural background, and Anderson will help restore trust between the public and the sheriff’s office.
Williamson began his career as a volunteer and now has more than 20 years’ experience as a sworn law enforcement officer.
Jareno emigrated from Chile and became a deputy in 2009 after he became a U.S. citizen. Allen said he’ll be the first immigrant to serve as undersheriff for the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office.
“I only surround myself with people who I trust,” Allen said. “I told people (during the campaign) that there would be changes, and that I will break barriers.”
Anderson, when she was with APD, was often tasked with holding public briefings and answering questions about police shootings.
Allen said her prior position at APD forced her to work across the department with different police units on a years-long reform that was started after a Department of Justice investigation found in 2014 that the department had a pattern of excessive force, which included police shootings. That was one of the reasons Allen wanted her to be part of his command staff.
“What she can bring to our department, not just provide an outside look, but also explain what are the things that the Albuquerque Police Department did wrong, and what we can improve on to make sure that we don’t revisit those same mistakes,” Allen said.