lonnie sandoval rsLonnie Sandoval, candidate for Sheriff of Grant CountyI have 28½ years of law enforcement experience and am a longtime resident of Grant County. I’ve been married to my wife Anna Maynes, who was born and raised here in Grant County, for 17½ years. I have 5 children, two (2) of whom are grown and have moved away. The other three (3) attend school in the Silver District.

I started my career in law enforcement in 1989 with Socorro County Sheriff’s Dept. In 1992, I joined the NM State Police and retired from the NM State Police in 2010. The last 8½ yrs. of my career with the State Police I worked as a sergeant. After my retirement in 2010, I took the Chief of Police position in Santa Clara, which I still hold today.

I attended (REMI), Rural Executive Management Institute. This training is a part of the Criminal Justice institute offered by the University of Arkansas and National Center for Rural Law Enforcement and was held in Utah. As Chief of Police in Santa Clara, I rebuilt the police department. Since I took over the chief’s position, I have brought Santa Clara up to 6th place in the Safe Wise program. This program lists the safest small cities in NM to live.

I’m a working chief. I to have to handle calls and make arrests. I don’t have the luxury of sitting behind a desk and just answering phone calls. I’m involved in my community and I plan to bring these work ethics to the office of the sheriff’s Dept.

I am also involved with the Neighborhood Watch Program which was started within our community. The program has shown to be helpful in many ways and I believe it can continue to do so with the right people getting involved.

I’m also involved with our community with our youth. I coach Little League baseball, Pop Warner football and Youth wrestling. I also Umpire for Little League baseball. I’ve been coaching or help coach since 2006. I believe being involved with our youth is very important. We need to make an impact with our youth and let them know that we are approachable and that we care about them. I have recently been appointed to the El Grito Board of Directors.

I decided to run for sheriff because I want to make a difference in the county where I live. As an outsider looking in, I see the issues that are plaguing our sheriff’s Department. I do not have the passion for a political office. My pursuit of this office is because of what the department has become. I believe I can make this department become an agency that officers will want to work for again. I’m just looking to make a difference. We have good officers in the sheriff’s department and I want to keep them. We have to be more competitive with other agencies in pay and give our officers incentives to make them feel appreciated. This is a thankless job, but we do the job because we care about our community. I believe I have the administrative experience needed and the skill set to lead this department in the right direction.

My platform:

I want to solve the unsolved murders in Grant Co. and give the families the closure they deserve. I know this won’t be easy but it can be done. As a department we will be transparent in everything we do, both good and bad. We will get more involved in Community Policing. I believe that the community is a big part in our success as a department. I want to gain the public’s trust again and will do that by getting more involved with them. We will get more proactive in the fight against drugs, as we all know the drug problem coincides with the other criminal activity.

If you look at the past Sheriffs, they have been all Deputies who worked for the department and it has been that way for a long time. The cycle hasn’t changed, nor has it worked. Well, I’m not a Deputy, I’m an outsider who will make a difference with new direction and good solid structure. I have the integrity, honor and discipline to lead this department in the right direction. I will put in place the best qualified supervisor to overlook the first line supervisors (Sergeants) who have the most important role.

Sergeants are responsible for the day-to-day work that gets done. They have to be out there and get involved with the officers and give them the guidance they need to do their job. I will send our officers to advanced training to give them the tools they need to solve the crimes they are sent to handle. I still have good ties with the State Police and with other agencies. I will solicit help from them if need be to get the job done. I realize change is hard, but it is progress and I’m progress in the right direction.

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Editor's Note

The Grant County Beat continues to bring you new columnists. New this past week are the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.

The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.

The Beat has a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

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