Money will come from state Law Enforcement Protection Fund

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KIRTLAND — The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office is looking to purchase a diesel incinerator to destroy drugs and drug paraphernalia seized during investigations.

“For years, San Juan County has been in kind of a pickle when it comes to drug destruction — drug and paraphernalia destruction,” Undersheriff Shane Ferrari told the Kirtland Town Council on Tuesday.

The town of Kirtland receives $20,000 annually from the state's Law Enforcement Protection Fund. The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office advises the town about how to spend the money. Kirtland does not have a town police force and contracts with the Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement services.

The Town Council approved using the money to purchase an incinerator, which will cost nearly $11,600.

In the past, the sheriff’s office has used a 55-gallon drum attached to a weed burner to burn the drugs and paraphernalia.

“You can only imagine it was quite hazardous for those operating it,” Ferrari said.

The Sheriff’s Office then started having the Farmington Police Department bomb squad blow up the drugs and paraphernalia. That practice ended one day when the bomb squad was blowing up the evidence while there was snow on the ground.

“We noticed these little Baggies falling all over the snow,” Ferrari said.

Since then, the Sheriff’s Office has been taking the drugs and paraphernalia to Albuquerque on a quarterly basis to use an incinerator there.

Ferrari said having an incinerator in San Juan County will help all local law enforcement agencies.

“It’s going to help all of San Juan County,” he said. “That’s Aztec, Bloomfield, Farmington police and the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office.”

The Sheriff’s Office will build a shade cover and a concrete pad for the incinerator.

“We’ll also be building a fence around it so nobody’s inclined to use it as a barbecue pit,” Ferrari said.

He said the fence, shade cover and concrete pad will cost an additional $5,831. The incinerator will be located at Safety City, an officer training faciliity located off of County Road 6480.

About $2,000 also will be spent to purchase a computer, 55-inch televisions that can be hooked up to the computer for projection purposes and a graphics card for the Kirtland Town Hall.

Ferrari said the equipment will help the Sheriff’s Office with community meetings in Kirtland by allowing it to do PowerPoint presentations.

Ferrari said the total estimated cost for the incinerator and the computer equipment is about $19,500. The remaining $500 will be used for any wiring or installation costs for the computer equipment.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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