Streets To Be Flooded With Officers for Dawn of 2000 : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Saturday, September 18, 1999

Streets To Be Flooded With Officers for Dawn of 2000

Deputies and police say they are prepared to be at full force for as long as necessary

By Jeff Jones

Journal Staff Writer

The Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department plans to flood county streets with a record number of deputies on New Year's Eve in case unlikely Y2K problems such as blackouts or panic flare up, the department said this week.

The 250-deputy force in February stopped allowing deputies to take vacations during New Year's and will switch everyone to 12-hour shifts -- with no days off -- starting the morning of Dec. 30, said sheriff's Lt. Bill Rehm, the head of a sheriff's committee working on Y2K preparedness.

Rehm said the force also will take nearly every deputy and detective who doesn't normally do patrol work, such as those who serve arrest warrants, academy instructors and property-crimes detectives, and have them double up with patrol deputies.

The department normally has about 45 deputies on the streets on any one shift, Rehm said. At New Year's, the number will swell to about 100 per shift. The special shifts will continue until Sheriff Joe Bowdich decides the department should resume its normal schedule.

Bowdich and Rehm said they don't expect any big problems at the turn of the century. But putting extra deputies on the streets is good insurance.

"This is going to be the most celebrated holiday of the century. We anticipate there will be a lot of parties -- and a lot of large parties," Rehm said. And with so many deputies on the streets, drunken revelers had better think twice before trying to drive anywhere.

The so-called Y2K problem is a programming glitch that could confuse computers and other electronic devices when the year turns from 1999 to 2000. Some computers only know the last two digits of the year, so they might think "00" means "1900."

For example, a power plant computer thinking the year is 1900 might shut down because it was confused about when the next critical safety check was to be done.

Some fear the result of the Y2K problem will be chaos, possibly for days, and predict electric power could be interrupted, phone lines could go dead and government services could grind to a halt.

Government agencies and private companies have spent millions to upgrade their computer systems and say they'll be Y2K problem-free by year's end.

Bowdich said law agencies across the country are gearing up to handle possible problems, and many have plans similar to that of the sheriff's department.

Earlier this year, the Albuquerque Police Department said it was not allowing its officers to take vacation from Dec. 30 through Jan. 3 to ensure plenty of them will be available in the event of disruptions. City police Detective John Walsh said earlier this week the APD will be ready to switch over to 12-hour shifts if needed.

Rehm said the county's 12-hour shift plan will cost about $105,000 in overtime on Jan. 1. He said the costs would drop after that Saturday because deputies would not be getting holiday pay, and keeping the 12-hour shifts for a full week would rack up a total overtime cost of about $393,000. Bowdich said the overtime money will come out of the county's budget.

Bowdich said "if everything goes smoothly," the department could be getting back to normal on the Monday following the holiday weekend. But "we're prepared to go as long as we have to."

Rehm said he's hoping "logic will prevail" at the dawn of the new year and urged people to read -- and follow -- American Red Cross guidelines on being prepared for any disaster.

To get a copy of the Red Cross's Y2K pamphlet, call the agency at 265-8514.

-- Gayla (, September 20, 1999



-- Gayla (, September 20, 1999.

Thanks, Gayla. It's s-l-o-w-l-y heating up, but the frogs aren't noticing.

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, September 20, 1999.

I am a retired police officer from an agency in Arizona in a city of about 400,000. My wife works for this agency also. In a briefing about 2 weeks ago, they were informed that starting Dec.27 thru Jan.3 all sworn officers and some civilian positions will be working 12 hr shifts,no days off and no vacations. Should there be serious problems, ALL employees will work 12hr shifts and be available for traffic control or whatever else may be necessary. Police employee's families can go to the training facility for protection should there be any danger.

-- B.Clark (, September 20, 1999.


You say if things get dangerous your ex-fellow officers' families can come and stay near them. Do you think they would leave all of their possesions for looters, or be more inclined to say "screw this job" and go home to guard the fort? Probably some of each, but what percentages do you think?

-- @ (@@@.@), September 20, 1999.

Helloooooooo, B. Clark - still there? Care to take an educated guess on that? What percentage of your officer friends do you think would want to save their home, and how many would stay with the job? Just curious - or is that classified?

-- @ (@@@.@), September 20, 1999.

we need to be praying,that police will not be overwhelmed. pray for there safety.

-- see ing the signs. (, September 20, 1999.

According to a cop I spoke with, the cops will all be out in force in Dee Cee. In his words "everyone will be working that night"...

-- Anonymous99 (, September 20, 1999.

Good old Sheriff Bowdich, at least he is getting ABQ prepared. He is going to blanket the south valley area so the gangs don't get out of hand. Good luck to him and the officers of Albuquerque.

NM seems to be prepared for the worst... (key word is "seems") at least they are publishing more on the subject matter than most.

Gayla, do you live around here?

I think the impact will be less here than in the megalopolis of California and the northeast. The only issue is water. Most wells here in the DESERT are about 300 ft. deep. There is not a pitcher pump made that will pump from those depths.

I am prepared, as are most of my friends.

Are you?

sittin' and sniffin'...

The Dog

-- Dog (Desert, September 20, 1999.

Hi Desert Dog! I live near Houston. Albuquerque sounds like a good place to be on New Year's Eve. I would probably be down in "Old Town" having some Mexican food! :-)

-- Gayla (, September 20, 1999.


There are some MUCH better restaurants than the ones down in Old Town. My favorite is Rancho de Corrales, in the village of Corrales. They say it is haunted by the murdered wife of the original owner of the building. It is an awesome place. Make my reservations for the garden room please! And don't forget El Pinto...

Old Town is a very quaint shopping area though... You oughtta come down for the Balloon Fiesta!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

barkin' at the strange things floating in the air....

The Dog

-- Dog (Desert, September 20, 1999.

Gosh Gayla & Dog,

Wouldn't you rather be in Silicon Valley for the "action?" Actually, bet half the Bay Area will be up in San Francisco, watching fireworks pour from the Golden Gate bridge. Should be "an adventure."

*Big Sigh*


-- Diane J. Squire (, September 20, 1999.

And in Seattle they have the fireworks show etc. from the space needle. Now my understanding is that a couple from Portland reserved the Needle for some 500 of their closest friends for the midnight show. No way would I be up in the Needle waiting for the power to go out!! Do you suppose they have a generator that can operate the elevators or are these people going to have to crawl down that ladder in the center of the "legs" in the dark??? No Thanks!!!!

-- Valkyrie (, September 20, 1999.


The baloon fiesta is held in August. Were you one of those dogs barking at us?

-- Anita (, September 20, 1999.

Thanks, Dog! It's been a long time since I visited. I will keep Rancho de Corrales in my vacation notes! :-)

I'm not sure what Houston has planned for New Years. Doesn't really matter, I will be at home! :-)

-- Gayla (, September 20, 1999.

If the 'Net ever comes back up we all'll hafta vote for "Stupidest Party of the Eve" ;^)

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, September 20, 1999.


The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is October 3-10.

barkin' at the neighbor...

The Dog

-- Dog (Desert, September 20, 1999.

To the Cascadians...

I heard a rumor that there will be some "executives" on the Concorde flying over the Atlantic at rollover... Talk about "gifted"...

Got life rafts???

chasin' the cat...

The Dog

-- Dog (Desert, September 20, 1999.


I'm sure you're right because you live there, but I seem to remember meeting my cousin to crew a hot-air baloon during a period of unemployment, and I thought I was employed last October. Oh makes no difference in the long run. 'Tis nice to know you're one of the dogs who barked up at us. 'Twas fun stuff, BTW. You oughta give it a whirl if you haven't before.

-- Anita (, September 20, 1999.


As soon as it starts getting cool in the evenings and mornings, this valley that Albuquerque sits in becomes balloon city. Every morning during the fall there are at least three or four balloons in the air. I hear this year there is going to be over one THOUSAND balloons at the fiesta...

Can you say traffic jam?

worrying a tennis ball...

The Dog

-- Dog (Desert, September 20, 1999.

Valkyrie, I'm going to be watching the Space Needle from a few miles away. And that line - "300 of their closest friends" - you know, there really are people who think like that. I can think of a dozen friends, in a good decade, and maybe 3 or 4 who I'd trust in a pinch, but when you get up to 300 you can't even remember their children's names without your daily planner.

When the lights go out, they can go to any of those 300 close friends and the friends would be glad to take them in, right? You bet.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), September 20, 1999.

"Earlier this year, the Albuquerque Police Department said it was not allowing its officers to take vacation from Dec. 30 through Jan. 3 to ensure plenty of them will be available in the event of disruptions. City police Detective John Walsh said earlier this week the APD will be ready to switch over to 12-hour shifts if needed."

As many here have discussed, the likliehood that problems will stretch out over weeks and months is much greater than things going kerpflooey immediately. So the question must be asked, "How long can police departments function with 12-hour shifts, everybody on call?" I'd imagine the stress and anxiety would begin to affect performance. In a sense, we're depending on a very thin blue line to protect us.

-- Kurt Ayau (, September 20, 1999.

"How long can police departments function with 12-hour shifts, everybody on call?" I'd imagine the stress and anxiety would begin to affect performance.

If the situation requires the police to maintain 12-hour shifts for longer than a few days, a more pressing problem will be the stress and anxiety of the rest of the population.

-- Tom Carey (, September 20, 1999.

I honestly don't know @, I have pondered that question myself. I don't care about my possessions as long as my family would be safe, but I don't think I could go out in the street if I knew my family was in danger. I would guess that many other officers especially with family might feel the same way even though, and speaking for myself, I also had a strong feeling of duty also. It's a tough call. Police are humans and humans when faced with danger go into survival mode.

-- B.Clark (, September 20, 1999.

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