RIO RANCHO, N.M – New Mexico State Rep. Patricio Ruiloba has resigned from his Albuquerque-area seat and will run for Bernalillo County Sheriff.
The Democrat told The Associated Press on Tuesday he submitted his resignation letter and will begin organizing his campaign.
The 53-year-old retired Albuquerque police officer says he has been urged to run for sheriff by residents concerned about rising crimes and conflicts between law enforcement and communities of color.
Current Democratic Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales has faced criticism for a rise in deputy shootings and for stalling on requiring deputies to wear lapel cameras.
Last month, Gonzales endured ridicule after he told reporters he was looking to partner with a company so deputies can put smartphones in their vests and record video.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham recently signed a bill requiring all law enforcement to wear body cameras. But Gonzales calls the current technology archaic and says it’s too costly.
Gonzales says he is considering running for mayor in Albuquerque.
Two Black women from Wisconsin are suing Gonzales and two deputies, alleging racial and religious profiling stemming from a traffic stop in July 2017.
The lawsuit comes about five months after Bernalillo County reached a $100,000 settlement with another Black woman who filed a lawsuit against the office.