Study to examine if county and city first responders should merge

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Imagine one public safety agency serving everyone in the city of Albuquerque and everyone in Bernalillo County. That idea may become a reality very soon.

Councilor Dan Lewis says combing all public safety agencies just makes sense and it’s something that’s been on his mind for a number of years.

“For us to be able to fight crime better, to be able to improve response times, to all around just being able to do better job to improving public safety within the city of Albuquerque,” he said.

That is why he is proposing combining Albuquerque Police and fire departments along with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and Bernalillo County Fire Department into one. Before that can be done, it all starts with a study.

“A study to look at the benefit of consolidating our public safety into a regional public safety agency,” he said.

That study would cost $50,000. Even before it’s done, Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzeles is on board, saying that having everyone under one roof will only help.

“Anytime you can share information and you can actually gain intelligence, and you can keep the public safety, that’s what’s important,” he said.

However, not everyone is a fan of the idea. The Albuquerque Police Officers Association tells KRQE News 13 this proposal would just complicate the DOJ settlement agreement process and would ultimately do more harm than good.

Councilor Lewis says, this is only meant to make officers’ jobs easier.

“It’s important that we look at any and everything that we can do to ensure that our officers are well lead, that they are well resourced, that they feel good about their job and what they do and they feel like they’re backed up.”

Combining city and county emergency services isn’t a new idea. Other major cities like Las Vegas, Nevada and Charlotte, North Carolina already do it.

A resolution to pay for the study is set to be considered at the city council meeting on Monday.

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