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The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office has created a new position: behavioral health and compliance manager

The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office has filled a newly created position that will oversee the agency’s policies regarding its interactions with people in crisis.

Sheriff John Allen announced that retired law enforcement officer Diane Dosal will serve as BCSO’s behavioral health and compliance manager.

“You can see my smile, because this is a long day coming. It’s time for a culture change and it’s time for something new to bridge the gap between law enforcement with the sheriff’s office, and also our community,” Allen said during a Thursday news conference.

He said part of Dosal’s job will be to help BCSO expand the mobile crisis team, build better connections with the community, update policies and “make sure that we don’t make mistakes that we see from other agencies around the nation.”

Allen also said they will be working to better support deputies’ mental health.

Dosal started as an officer with the Gallup Police Department and retired as a sergeant in the Albuquerque Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Unit.

Raised in the North Valley, Dosal is the interim president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in New Mexico and credited with creating APD’s first mobile crisis team.

When she spoke, Dosal reminded everyone it was her ninth day on the job.

“I’m still in the learning process,” she said. “… These past few years, I truly feel I have built my resume and I’ve made it to this point to be the middle person, the liaison between mental health and law enforcement.”

Dosal added, “Officers have come a long way in learning how to speak to individuals in crisis, but we still have some work to do.”

She said her goals include forming new partnerships and gathering more resources to help BCSO interact and serve those in crisis. Specifically, Dosal said she wants to have more behavioral health services available to BCSO on the night shift, when resources are “pretty scarce.”

She said she also wants to find ways BCSO can get help for those who need it “without harsh criteria which could limit them from being admitted or accepted into a program.”

“We want to partner with our community, not be separate from them,” Dosal said. “And while we may be the first responders to an acute mental health call, we should not be the only responders.”

Allen said he had decided on creating the position — and expanding BCSO’s behavioral health capabilities — in 2019 when he started to ponder a run for sheriff. He said he had seen firsthand a “deficiency” in law enforcement to address those suffering a crisis.

“Certain shootings I’ve seen around Bernalillo County, within probably the last five or six years, … there was a gap and we all know that,” Allen said. “We never want to lose a life but at the same time we have to learn from those experiences, whether they’re positive or negative, and we have to move forward.”

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