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Three area leaders share their visions for 2020

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This year the Gallup Sun asked local leaders to think about the issues that concern them. They were asked how they planned to address those issues in the coming year, and what their biggest dream was for their organization, department or board for 2020.  Also, they were asked how they plan to achieve those results.

Here are their answers in their own words:

James Maiorano III, Undersheriff, McKinley County Sheriff’s Office

Issues and how we plan to address them:

“We at the Sheriff’s Office are always looking for ways to improve the quality of living in the community and the quality of service we provide. We pride ourselves in participating in community events, meetings and schools functions. We try our best to set a good example and educate others when we can.

The Sheriff’s Office has been diligently working toward being fully staffed to provide the best service possible. We have hired eight new deputies over the last six months and they are all certified and ready to handle calls for service. Alcohol abuse still has a devastating affect on McKinley County and the Sheriff’s Office continues to try to combat that. We have added another deputy to our full time DWI Task Force, which is funded by the State to remove drunk drivers from the roadway. We are participating, with Metro Dispatch, in new software to track criminal activity, locations, and times to enhance our patrols in hopes to prevent crimes from occurring. In other words, to take a proactive approach to crime, rather than a reactive approach, where response is after the crime occurs.


Biggest Dream[s] for the organization and how we are accomplishing them:

The Sheriff’s Office has several goals for the next 12 months which include:

We continue to work with the schools each year to provide Active Threat/Shooter Training. We work with Gallup McKinley County Schools as well as the BIE (Bureau of Indian Education) schools in McKinley County. As part of that training we have deputies who work with school staff during lockdown drills, to make us all better at protecting our children and grandchildren from harm.

Opening a social media page to quickly and accurately communicate with the community. We are finishing a policy and hope to have our page up in January.

Activate an emergency Response Team (SWAT) to respond to dangerous threats and provide well-trained deputies and K-9s to resolve situations with planned strategy and appropriate force. We have already begun drafting a policy and hope to be testing for team members in the next 90 days.

Continue with our intern program to allow youth to participate in public service work and provide a work reference. We currently sponsor interns from Miyamura High in the GUILD program, Workforce Solutions, National Indian Youth Council (NIYC) and UNM Branch.

Rapidly Deployable Resources- We have acquired a six seater side-by-side UTV, two 4- wheelers, a body carrier, trailers, and command center (RV). We are just waiting for a diesel truck to arrive, we will be able to respond to lost hikers, lost children, fugitives, rural calls for service, crime scenes and provide assistance in areas that are hard to reach. This will increase our response time and allow us to be self-sufficient with the proper resources.

Drone Team- We believe we have the funding to purchase the drones and train some of our staff as pilots. We are working on policy and training and intend to have a team that can quickly deploy to photograph motor vehicle crashes, crime scenes, search for fugitives, look for lost hikers, search for evidence, and assist surrounding agencies.

We continue to look for qualified, certified (or cert by waiver) applicants to be deputies at the McKinley County Sheriff’s Office. The McKinley County webpage has listings under ‘Jobs’ and we welcome people to apply.”

David Conejo, CEO, Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services


Projected 2020 Goals and Challenges:

“The constant need in McKinley County is to address issues of homelessness, poverty and addictions. To respond to this challenge in 2020, RMCHCS will initiate a year-long effort to coordinate with and support programs and services which may be struggling for financial and personnel resources. In conjunction with their own efforts, RMCHCS can have a powerful affect in McKinley County.”

To achieve this, RMCHCS will expand its existing outreach service:

Inpatient addiction treatment services to include more pregnant addicts, LGBT, and possibly teens.

Expand Community Work Services by recovering people.

Increase the scope of services for the Behavioral Health Collaborative to assist other agencies.

Improve and streamline Urgent Medical Care providing lower cost care on nights and weekends for non-emergency care. This will be an alternative to higher cost ER services.

To continue/complete development of a medical school residency program. RMCHCS is presently rotating medical students and will begin accepting medical residents in 2020.

The goal is to have some of them return to practice here.

As a priority, implement an upgrade or replacement of our existing medical records computer system for an estimated cost of $6 million dollars.

Completely upgrade the Women’s Health and Labor and Delivery area to coincide with expansion of the medical school residency program. Estimated total cost: $2.9 million.

Provide expanded services to the Navajo Nation through a partnership with them as they create an independent medicaid provider agency.

Hire six (6) new physicians…one every two months.

Initiate the mobile health unit service.

Rose Eason, Executive Director, gallupARTS

On the issues: “In 2019, gallupARTS expanded its Young Artists of McKinley County project, which has always centered on creating arts education and display opportunities for McKinley County students, to also leverage the arts for family and community engagement in order to provide broader support to area youth. Toward that end, gallupARTS received a $12K grant from an N.M.-based foundation to launch The Art Collective in 2020. Geared towards children living in poverty, The Art Collective program is designed to strengthen their family and community ties and thereby build resilience through art.”

On dreams and goals: “Since 2016, gallupARTS has generated over $650K for the regional creative economy. One highlight from 2019: gallupARTS’ ART123 Gallery doubled its revenue, with 87% of sales going directly to artists. A strong arts economy translates not only into income for artists, but also into a rising tide that lifts all boats. In 2020, gallupARTS will continue to work to grow an equitable local art market for the benefit of all by enhancing its gallery programs through talks, classes, workshops, and special events.”