Q&A: Roosevelt County sheriff talks crime and scams
Last updated 9/9/2023 at 1:47pm
Editor's note: This is one in a continuing series of state-of-the-entity interviews with local officials. Javier Sanchez is the Roosevelt County sheriff.
Q: How are crime numbers right now in Roosevelt County? Anything that sticks out? Is there a crime that's most common?
A: Crime has been pretty steady for the last few years. Some of the most common crimes in Roosevelt County are property crimes, which generally go back to narcotics. We have also seen an increase in alcohol-related DUI's.
Q: What about juvenile crime? Do you have any numbers on this year's juvenile crime? What about compared to previous years? Is it up or down?
A: I don't have the exact statistics on juveniles right now, but juvenile delinquency is definitely up. Our office is responsible for transporting juveniles from detention centers in New Mexico to court. We have seen a substantial rise in juvenile transports. The closest juvenile facility for us is Lea County.
Q: How many openings do you have? And how would you describe staffing -- doing OK or just enough to get by? Is it in critical condition?
A: Currently we are fully staffed for the allotted positions. Like any other profession we could use more help, but we have been pretty fortunate to have either been fully staffed or find a qualified replacement pretty quick.
Q: Scammers seem to be getting better at fooling people these days. Recently, there have been some even impersonating deputies. Have you experienced this in Roosevelt County? What suggestions do you have to prevent becoming a victim?
A: Scammers are very smart and persistent. We have had scammers call people and tell them that they work for the sheriff's office or another agency who is working with our office and threaten to have them arrested if they don't pay money immediately over the phone.
I encourage people to reach out to us and ask questions if they get a call from someone claiming to work for the sheriff's office. Also keep in mind it is pretty easy to spoof our number and make it look like we are the ones calling.
Q: Recreational cannabis use has been legal in New Mexico for 17 months. Do you have any statistics that suggest violent crime is up or down as a direct result of this change? What about traffic citations? Are there more impaired drivers on the road?
A: I don't have any statistics that indicate violent crime is up in Roosevelt County due to the legalization of cannabis. We do write a lot of traffic citations but not due to cannabis violations. In Roosevelt County, we have seen an increase of impaired driving arrests but those have been due to alcohol.
Q: What do you do to inform the community about crime in the county?
A: We have a weekly radio spot on (KSEL) 105.9 most Friday mornings. We give updates on what is going on and also let people know of scams going around and events that we will be attending. We also attend events and give presentations at schools. We recently went to the Floyd Lions Club meeting and had a Q&A with them. We also utilize our Facebook page to keep people notified about what is going on.
Q: Is it important to you that residents be aware of criminal activity in their neighborhoods?
A: Yes, it is very important for residents to be aware of criminal activity in their neighborhoods. We encourage people to call our office if they have a concern about criminal activity. We would rather respond, and it be nothing than not get a call when we could have prevented criminal activity.
Q: Who is your all-time favorite fictional crime fighter, and why? All-time favorite TV crime show, and why? And who is your all-time favorite fictional villain, and why?
A: My favorite fictional crime fighter would have to be Frank Reagan played by Tom Selleck on my favorite TV show Blue Bloods. He is my favorite because he is a man of principal and good values. I really don't have a favorite villain; I'm always rooting for the good guys.
- Compiled by Landry Sena, The Staff of the News