Monday, June 29, 2009

D.W.I. , Why are our children dying? What can we do?

This has been a tragic weekend for the Sheriffs Office and our community at large. Worse it has been tragic for 6 families. I can not discuss the details of the case on a personal blog. However, I do want to discuss the lessons we can learn from this. I have attended two of the three memorials for the deceased teens and witnessed hundreds of teens in pain. Unfortunately my daughter is one of them. I haven't met a single person in Santa Fe yet who does not know one of the kids or the young 28 year old driver who has been arrested or an immediate family member personally. I have had a chance to talk to over half of the parents involved and all including the mother of the young man who was arrested are feeling the greatest pain imaginable. My wife and I pray for all those touched by this horrible tragedy and hope they will all find peace.

New Mexico has been battling D.W.I. for a long, long time now. As a state we have made huge strides. In 2008, there were 143 alcohol-involved fatalities in New Mexico, down 34 from 2007 and a huge drop from 221 in 2002. Since 2003, New Mexico has seen a 35 percent decline in drunken-driving related deaths and has implemented some of the toughest laws and most innovative programs in the country to stop drunken driving in New Mexico.

So why are our children still dying? What more can we do? As I looked at the teenagers mourning at the memorials one thing came to mind. How many of these kids will drink and drive? Statistics say over half will drink and drive at some time. Most people who drink and drive and get arrested say when taking surveys during mandatory treatment that they have driven while intoxicated up to 100 times before getting caught. Driving home after drinking is ingrained in the culture of New Mexicans. Not drinking and driving is something we will have to teach a whole new generation of New Mexicans so that it is considered a true moral and subconscious "you do not do this, type thing". Now we all have that little subconscious thing in the back of our head that says "you do not kill someone". Unfortunately for many that does not kick in where drinking and driving is concerned.

So here are a few hundred teens who have witnessed first hand and directly in their own lives just what the consequences are for drinking and driving. How many now will go out and fulfill the prophecy of the statistics that say over half of them will drink and drive? Will they go out and teach their children about the friends they lost on June 28, 2009 ? I hope so, I hope the memory of the four teens who lost their lives and the young man arrested for their deaths, will live on in the minds of these hundreds of teens mourning today. Not as a haunting memory of death, but as a reminder of life. What a life is worth and what is lost when you choose to drink and drive. I have sat down with my children and discussed just what I wanted them to get out of this tragedy. My family is not without sin and has been touched repeatedly over the years by drinking and driving. However, I still have hope, hope for my family and for yours. Talk to your kids about this tragedy and what can come out of it. Tell them that the way to honor the lives of these teens is by pledging to never, ever, ever, drink and drive.

My families prayers go out to all those touched by this tragedy.
Sheriff Greg Solano

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tips to prevent Home Burglaries

I want to reissue this post on how to prevent home burglaries. Property crimes throughout the nation are on the rise. One of the interesting notes in many of these burglaries is the fact that many of these homes had alarm systems which the owners did not activate before they left the home. This brings to mind the fact that this is a good time to remind everyone on some simple steps you can take to prevent burglaries at your home.

  • Make your home look occupied, leaving TV or radio on works, and make it difficult to break into.
  • Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed. Even if it is for a short time, lock your doors.
  • Leave lights on when you go out. If you are going to be away, connect some lamps to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day. Use motion detector lights outside.
  • Keep your garage door closed and locked.
  • Don't allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or fliers to build up while you are away. Arrange with the post office to hold your mail, or arrange for a friend or neighbor to take them regularly.
  • Push-button locks on doorknobs are easy for burglars to open. Install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors.
  • Know who belongs or does not belong in your neighborhood. If someone looks suspicious, call the police to have them checked out.
  • Keep your yard clean and bushes and trees trimmed. You don't want to give burglars a place to hide or remain concealed as they come in and out of your yard. Plant Cactus or yucca around vulnerable windows.
  • If you have an alarm system, use it, even if you are only leaving for a short time. While they may not prevent burglary's they do reduce the amount of items taken and many times when the alarm goes off the burglar will leave with out taking anything. Whether you have an alarm system or not buy signs that say you have an alarm and place them around your home.
  • Call the sheriff's office to get involved in or start a nieghborhood watch program in your area. 505-986-2402
The thing about burglaries is that one or two people can do 5 or 6 burglaries in a day. A few days of doing this and the crime rate can rise dramatically in just a short time. When we catch these persons the crime rate drops just as dramatically. We will catch these people and things will return to normal. The most effective way to catch these burglars is through help from the public. Deputies can not be everywhere and most burglars are caught when someone calls in a suspicious person or vehicle or when a burglar is caught in the act. I ask everyone to be extra vigilant and be our eyes and ears, it is a cliche but its also very true that crime prevention begins at home.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Reception with Speaker of the House Ben Lujan

Speaker of the House Ben Lujan and the Democratic Legislative Delegation of Santa Fe County are holding a reception to benefit the Democratic Party of Santa Fe County.

Wednesday, June 24

5:30-7:30 pm

Thunderbird Room

Bishops Lodge, Santa Fe

RSVP to (505) 992-1396 or email:

A contribution of $75 to the Democratic Party of Santa Fe is suggested

Add this event to your google calendar.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Making Waves.

My Campaign for Lieutenant Governor is starting to make some ripples in the New Mexico political waters. See my Road to New Mexico Lt. Governor Blog for more!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Check out Solano for Lt. Gov Blog for new posts!

Its getting busy for the 2010 election cycle and I am starting to see opponents at the same gatherings and meetings I attend. See my Road to New Mexico Lt. Governor blog for details!

Photo of me speaking at the BCDP Meeting in Albuquerque Thur, June 18, 2009

Sunday, June 14, 2009

In Memorial, Sgt. Andrew F. Tingwall

My deepest condolences to the family, friends, and fellow officers of Sgt. Andrew F. Tingwall. I have no doubt there is a special place in heaven for men like him.

Most New Mexicans know how he passed away. Unfortunately he like many Law Enforcement Officers across the nation died in an accident. Although his was an helicopter accident during a rescue mission. The truth is that most Law Enforcement Officers do not die at the hand of a criminal or a gun but in accidents, usually automobile accidents. We will miss Sgt. Tingwall and his dedication and loyalty to New Mexicans is one which we will be hard pressed to match with a new recruit.

We often look to ways to prevent deaths in law enforcement and much of the focus is on assault weapons, "cop killer bullets", bullet resistant vests, training, and tactics. This is all important and we need to continue to push these issues. However, as police agencies we need to look for new and innovative ways to prevent the biggest killer of our officers, accidents. Perhaps Sgt. Tingwall's accident is not a good example of a preventable one, that question may or may not be answered in some future date. However, at least once a year I take the black band I keep in a jewelry box on my dresser and place it on my badge. It is the saddest thing I do each year. It would be nice to skip a year or two.

Below is the obituary and photo posted by the New Mexico Department of Public Safety,

Sgt. Andrew F. "Andy" Tingwall served with the New Mexico State Police since 1995 and graduated with the 56th New Mexico State Police Recruit School. His first post was District 6 in Gallup, NM. In 1998 he was moved to the Training and Recruiting Division at the New Mexico Law Enforcement Acadamy. Sgt. Tingwall spent five years at the Academy where he was the lead instructor for the Recruit School. During his time at the Academy, Sgt. Tingwall was part of the NMSP Tactical Team for five years as an entry man. Sgt. Tingwall was transferred to the New Mexico State Police Aircraft Section in 2003, where he logged 1,300 hours flying time as a pilot. In 2008 he was named the Chief Pilot of this Section.

Sgt. Tingwall was named 2008 Officer of the Year in March 2009 by the New Mexico Sheriffs and Police Association for his lifesaving efforts in an August 2008 arroyo rescue of an Albuquerque man. He was to be honored by his fellow state police officers this month with a Medal of Valor for the same incident.

Sgt. Tingwall is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Donations are being accepted at any Wells Fargo Bank, nationwide under Tingwall Memorial Fund.

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Torch is Passed at The Santa Fe City Police Department

Today the Torch was officially passed to Chief Aric Wheeler of the City of Santa Fe Police Department. Chief Eric Johnson retired on Friday and took his last ride in a City of Santa Fe Police Cruiser to his parents home. Chief Johnson was an excellent chief who carried the department through some growing pains with a lot of integrity.

Chief Aric Wheeler

Congratulations to Chief Wheeler, I look forward to continuing to work with you in your new capacity. Your family must learn to ignore or accept the criticism which will come. Each person deals with it differently. I like to read the criticism whether it is in letters, emails, comments on the Santa Fe New Mexican Website or sometimes through the rumor mill behind my back. I look at all of it constructively which can be hard when some of it is personal and hatred based. When you are the leader criticism comes easily. Remember what Theodore Roosevelt once said.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”