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City Announces 14 Members Joining the Gun Violence Prevention and Intervention Task Force

Task force brings expertise from across government agencies and community organizations

Tues. Dec. 21, 2021

ALBUQUERQUE – The City of Albuquerque in conjunction with the Albuquerque Police Department is announcing 14 members who have joined the Gun Violence Prevention and Intervention Task Force.

In October, Mayor Keller signed an executive order establishing the task force, with the goal to develop a comprehensive violence reduction strategy from crime fighting, to addressing root causes. The task force will produce actionable, equity-driven recommendations within a year of its inception. 

“Gun violence is an epidemic Albuquerque and our entire nation face,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “This is not something that can be left for officers to deal with alone, for trauma surgeons to treat – it is a crisis that must also be addressed at its root. That’s why this task force has been convened to dive deep and develop recommendations for across-the-board action.”

The task force will examine and make recommendations to addressing gaps in region’s the current response to gun violence. This could include improving cooperation among city departments and outside entities, recommending substantive changes to policies and ordinances aimed at reducing gun violence, using culturally responsive trauma and equity informed frameworks to guide strategies, and exploring opportunities to increase services through grants and funding opportunities.

Members of the task force represent the following agencies, CYFD, Bernalillo County Department of Behavioral Health Services, City Council, Adult Probation and Parole and the following City departments, Albuquerque Community Safety, APD, Family and Community Services, the Office of Equity and Inclusion, and members from community organizations and individuals impacted by gun violence.

“Gun violence is an issue we know is fueling crime in our community,” said Chief Harold Medina. “Through a comprehensive look at this problem, we as law enforcement officials, will better understand what’s driving gun violence in our city.”

Below is the full list of the Gun Violence Task Force Members who will be examining and making recommendations on how to fill the current gaps in responding to this issue.

Tanya Tijerina- Clinical Operations Manager Second Judicial District Court

Tanya Tijerina, LCSW, has a Master's Degree in Clinical Social Work, with an emphasis in Substance Abuse and Co-Occurring Disorders. Her professional experience includes working in both inpatient and outpatient treatment settings, providing substance abuse treatment to adults and youth involved in the criminal justice system. Tanya, comes from a long line of justice involved family members. With 5 younger brothers who spent much of their years battling substance abuse disorders and mental health conditions. Tanya has dedicated her life to helping people access the treatment and services needed to promote positive behavioral changes, quality of life and overall health and well-being. Tanya currently manages multiple treatment court programs within the Second Judicial District Court. She was also a part of the core team that developed the Young Adult Court program in 2016, a program she continues to manage today.

Amanda Davis- Business Solutions by Design, LLC

Amanda Davis is a Small Business owner and Small Business advocate. Amanda pursued a degree from UNM and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Science with a concentration in Accounting. After starting her career working for local CPA firms, she purchased her home in 2009 where she currently lives and operates her home-based business. Amanda started her business in 2014 and has grown to need 4 bookkeepers and a virtual assistant, she is poised to continue to grow. Amanda has proven her drive to support our community through her volunteer work with local organizations such as the Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce, NAWBO NM, SCORE, and WESST. Amanda is also a gun owner, with a concealed carry permit and is interested in weighing in on gun violence issues in the City.

Louise Blazquez- Community Advocate

Louise Blazquez is a community member living in the International District, having relocated with her family to New Mexico over ten years ago. Blazquez is Indigenous, Bilingual/Bicultural, Spanish language speaker. Currently, she serves as a case manager providing resources for disenfranchised families in Albuquerque, NM. She is a member of Families United for Education (FUE), and a voting member of the Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Community Supports Subcommittee.

Prior to working case management she was employed as a public school teacher, student success manager within community colleges, assistant professor at New Mexico State University, adjunct at Central New Mexico Community College, and Albuquerque Public Schools Family Liaison.

Blazquez and her family volunteered and eventually led a non-profit for over two decades titled: Youth Struggling for Survival (YSS), before relocating to New Mexico. YSS was youth driven, adult supported and entailed restorative justice, peace-making, and transformational practices. The organization evolved to include advocating and supporting "interventionists" who were doing the street outreach work, and those who were formerly imprisoned to become mentors/coaches.

LaQuonte Barry – Grandmas House BBQ and BLACK NEW MEXICO MOVEMENT

LaQuonte Barry is a 33 year old African American male who is the founder of BLACK NEW MEXICO MOVEMENT and Owner of Grandmas House BBQ. LaQuonte has been fighting for change throughout New Mexico since 2019. LaQuonte wants to see change within the city to benefit our youth.  LaQuonte also coaches youth sports so he always tries to be a father figure to the youth in the community.

Suzy Sanchez-Beg – Endorphin Power Company

Sanchez-Beg was impacted by gun violence at an early age, her father was killed by gun violence. Ms. Beg is a community navigator with Community Based Crime Reduction through the District Attorney's Office. Ms. Beg does street level outreach to unhoused and underserved populations in the International District. Beg serves as Chair of the Community Policing Council for the SE area Command.

Miranda Viscoli – New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence

Miranda Viscoli received a Bachelor of Fine Arts at New York University as well as a Bachelor of Arts from California State University at Long Beach. In the summer of 2009, she completed her masters in Latin American art history at California State University Long Beach where her master’s thesis won the Outstanding Thesis Award for the College of the Arts. After the Sandy Hook shooting, Miranda Viscoli suspended work on her PhD at UNM in order to research and write about the problem of gun violence both in New Mexico and the United States. Miranda Viscoli is co-president of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence. She recently served as Chair of United Way of Santa Fe County. She was awarded Ten Who Made A difference by the Santa Fe New Mexican and the Mucho Gusto by the Santa Fe City Council for her work on gun violence prevention in New Mexico.

Alicia Otero – New Mexico Crusaders for Justice

Alicia Otero is one of the founders of the New Mexico Crusaders for justice. She works with families of victims of gun violence. Mrs. Otero is also a mother who lost her son to gun violence this year. She believes there are many holes in the way things are handled with families of homicide. She believes she can fill these holes in and work with the families through her advocacy.

Angel Alire – Community Advocate

Angel Alire lost her son to gun violence this year. Ms. Alire is a community organizer and recently worked with National organizers to bring the National Gun Violence Memorial work to Albuquerque.  Ms. Alire wants to work with Gun Violence Reduction Initiatives.

Melanie Martinez – Adult Probation and Parole

Director Melanie Martinez has dedicated more than 20 years of public service and leadership to the State of New Mexico, 17 of those with New Mexico Corrections Department, Probation/Parole Division. She is responsible for over 14,000 individuals on probation and parole supervision in the community. During her time with New Mexico Corrections Department, PPD, she has implemented a new strategic framework, focusing on offender rehabilitation and reduction in recidivism. 

Director Martinez started her career in Probation/Parole as an Officer. She transferred briefly to the New Mexico Corrections Training Academy where she was a Chief over the Basic, Advanced and International Training Divisions. She returned to the Probation/Parole Division as a Supervisor, Region Manger, Deputy Director and currently serves as the Director. Martinez is a member of the Criminal Justice Reform Committee, Criminal Judicial Committees throughout the State and various violent intervention programs throughout New Mexico. 

Jeanne Masterson – Juvenile Probation Assistant Deputy Director of Juvenile Justice Field Services

Jeanne Masterson has worked for CYFD for nearly 27 years and is currently the Associate Deputy Director for Juvenile Justice Services, Juvenile Probation field services. Jeanne supports the Central Region for the state which encompasses Bernalillo, Sandoval, Valencia, Socorro, Torrance, Cibola and Sierra Counties.  

Nichole Rogers – Office of Equity and Inclusion African American Community and Business Liaison

Nichole Rogers is the City of Albuquerque’s African-American Community and Business Leader Liaison. Rogers joins the City with experience in both the public and private sectors. Previously she served as a Staff Development Specialist with UNM Hospitals in the Department of Nursing Excellence.

Rogers has been an active member in the community as an organizer and advocate for Black children and families in Albuquerque, including co-developing Juneteenth celebrations, vaccination outreach events and other community endeavors. She received her Associates Degree from Central New Mexico Community College.

Rogers was born in Las Vegas, New Mexico and has lived in Albuquerque for 28 years.

Rogers was instrumental in helping the City get a complete count for the 2020 Census by completing extensive outreach and education in the African American community about why answering the census was so important.

Deputy Chief Cecily Barker – APD Investigative Bureau

Deputy Chief Cecily Barker was born and raised in Albuquerque and joined APD in 2004. Prior to receiving her promotion to Deputy Chief of the Investigative Bureau, Barker served as the Chief of Staff. Prior to her time as Chief of Staff, DC Barker was the Northwest Area Commander.

While in the Field Services Bureau, Barker was a Field Training Officer, Gang Suppression Officer and Crisis Intervention Officer. In 2012, she was promoted to Sergeant at the Violent Crimes Division, working in FASTT, Missing Persons and Cold Case. In 2017, she was promoted to Lieutenant of Property Crimes/Juvenile Division and Criminalistics Division and in 2020 was promoted to Commander.

Lynea Lovato – Albuquerque Community Safety Department CORA Responder

Lynae Lovato was born and raised in Albuquerque. She has over 10 years of experience in violence prevention, youth development and mentoring. Lynae comes to ACS from Youth Development, Inc., where she was the Violence Prevention Coordinator.

Lynae is the Albuquerque Community Safety Department’s CORA Responder. The Community-Oriented Response Assistance (CORA) team is a multidisciplinary group of first responders and mental health professionals who organize outreach to communities affected by tragedy and violence in Albuquerque.

ACS’s CORA Responder coordinates the outreach effort, reaching out to community leaders and organizing meetings or finding alternative methods of connection. They provide education on grief and trauma, guide individuals through what they can expect while processing the event, and connect people to mental health providers and other resources.

Charlie Verploegh – Assistant Director, Department of Behavioral Health Services

Charlie Verploegh oversees the Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Initiative.  She received her BA in Sociology from Smith College in North Hampton Massachusetts and their MA and PhD from the University of Iowa in Sociology.

Charlie has a background in data analysis, research evaluation, and social psychology. Charlie currently oversees the Behavioral Health Initiative, a recurring Gross Receipts Tax, used to fund community providers for behavioral health services not otherwise funded.