Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



This study contains a detailed assessment of four New Mexico Sheriff's departments that comprise a unit for State planning purposes and is designated Region III. The contiguous counties are Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance, and Valencia. Data on the Sheriff's departments was obtained by the author from the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office, the Office of the Bernalillo County Commissioners and New Mexico's Governor's Policy Board for Law Enforcement, a branch of state government. From the data collected, a profile of the Sheriff's departments was derived. This profile revealed that the Office of the Sheriff in Region III is in need of increased funding to improve law enforcement. The need for planning and coordination agencies with law enforcement oriented mission elements is evident. The Federal government is the only source of funds in sufficient quantity to alleviate the situation through the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration. The hypothesis of this study is that regional planning and intergovernmental cooperation can improve conditions within law enforcement agencies and provide programs to establish law enforcement as a profession. The study contains a history of the role of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration in New Mexico, the evolution of Federal aid in the form of block grants, the national trend in Federal law enforcement grant legislation and a model for coordination. The dominant theme of the profile of the Office of the Sheriff in Region III is that it is a political office. There is little intergovernmental relations practiced. The Sheriff due to his elective office is free to administer his office as he chooses. The county normally does not provide the Sheriff the services of a research and development staff to evaluate his needs. In New Mexico both the Regional Law Enforcement Planning Commission and the Governor's Policy Board for Law Enforcement through lack of staff and strong responsible and responsive directors and coordinators have not served the public interest well. The pluralism or multiple access common to the American form of government complicates the coordination of law enforcement grants and confuses the establishing of a sense of hierarchy among the many agencies with law enforcement oriented mission elements. Law enforcement as a profession in the Office of the Sheriff is found to be virtually nonexistent in the sense that a policeman can't be considered a professional. For the Office of the Sheriff with its heavy overlay of political patronage the concept is inapplicable. Again the source of upgrading law enforcement to a profession is through intergovernmental cooperation and coordination by passing legislation to improve pay and fringe benefits and raising educational and training standards for the Office of the Sheriff.

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

John Mace Hunger

Second Committee Member


Third Committee Member

Daniel Howard Henning



Document Type