Dozens of police officers, both active duty and retired, converged on Mountainair Saturday as the town dedicated its renovated police station the Stephen A. Sandlin Memorial Police Station.
The event was attended by representatives from the governor’s office, part of the state’s congressional delegation, and local elected officials, along with Sandlin’s parents and extended family.
Sandlin was killed in the line of duty in 1988, at age 21, a crime that remains unsolved.
The police station was rebuilt after a fire last year, and now has the ability to monitor many areas of town by camera.
A large crowd of Mountainair residents gathered at the Dr. Saul Community Center, adjacent to the police station, for lunch before speakers honored Sandlin’s sacrifice and the new facade of the building was revealed.
The dedication was attended by Tom Sandlin —himself a veteran of the Albuquerque Police Department—and his wife Yvonne, along with other family members.
Mountainair Mayor Peter Nieto said the space is not only a station for the town, but is also a substation for both the Torrance County Sheriff’s Department and State Police. “They will have codes to get in the door and use the department as they need—internet, the bathrooms, to make a cup of coffee, whatever,” Nieto said.
About six months ago, the town hired on Juan Reyes as chief, described by the mayor as “a great cop,” and “by the book.” The department currently includes longtime officer Milton Torres, along with Matthew Martinez and Walter Lewark, Nieto said.
Martinez is also the town’s school resource officer, and has had training for that in Ft. Worth, Texas; Lewark is currently uncertified but will be going to the academy, Nieto said.
Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at email@example.com.