Meet Pat

ABOUT PAT RUILOBA 

I was born and raised in the Adobe Acres neighborhood in the South Valley.  My wife, Denise, and I raised our three children in Adobe Acres; we all still live in the neighborhood. I grew up in a working-class family who valued faith, family, friendship, community, and hard work. These values led to a more than 30-year career dedicated to public service and community relationship building to improve Albuquerque communities.  

As a parent, I understand first-hand why safe communities are important.  Throughout my career I have always advocated for safer communities within Bernalillo County, starting with law enforcement, my work as a Legislator, and now implementing restorative justice practices in public schools.


CAREER

I worked in a local grocery store and delivered produce to restaurants before my  20-year career with the Albuquerque Police Department. I graduated from Albuquerque Police Department’s 62nd Cadet Class in 1988 and worked in various divisions within the department.  I started in patrol and, through hard work and dedication, quickly rose to detective three years later. As a detective, I worked in Organized Crime, Narcotics, Criminal Intelligence, Violent Crimes, Robbery/Homicide, School Resource Officer, Gang Unit and Highway Interdiction before retiring in 2008. I gained valuable insight into what makes policing effective while working in these various units.

Successful policing is built on trust within and across an agency and with the community. In the law enforcement community, trust is built through action, performance, and experience. Community trust is built through community engagement and follow up. I was able to effectively build trust with my fellow officers and the community at the same time by working together, coordinating efforts across multiple agencies and working with community members to understand local community needs and to investigate criminal activity.  

“The various units I worked in were challenging and required integrity, specific training, experience and a change in mindset to be proficient, professional and community orientated.”

After retiring from APD in 2008, I was elected president of the Adobe Acres Neighborhood Association (AANA). As president of AANA, I worked with neighbors, BCSO, county agencies, local businesses, and other community organizations to mitigate community conflicts and criminal activity, including drug dealing, burglaries, vandalism, and gang related issues. We achieved greater success at AANA than I had seen at APD because we effectively engaged members in our community and built strong, trusting relationships.

My work on AANA led to my appointment as the board president of Partnership for Community Action (PCA). PCA partnered with community organizations and identified resources for neighborhood associations and schools. We worked together to identify local community needs and support individual community members. This reinforced the idea that organized community efforts lead to more successful outcomes for the community.

“Our community addressed criminal activity by working together to reduce crime and create a safe environment for our families. Our leaders came together to identify problems, provide resources to educate our neighbors, and resolve each issue strategically by partnering with local service providers, elected officials, the county manager, county directors, and sheriff deputies to prevent crime.  This improved our quality of life and allowed us to celebrate our cultural and community events together, which set a path for change in our neighborhood.”

In 2010, I returned to work with the Albuquerque Public School Police Department as a school resource officer at Atrisco Heritage Academy High School. I used my experience in restorative practices to create and implement an alternative-to-detention process that later transitioned to a suspension reduction program. I partnered with students and their families, school staff, and local community organizations to address the needs of students and their families. The Southwest Community School Collaborative (SCSC) was created and provided the direct services that students needed during the school day. By building relationships, we were able to develop a safer, more supportive school environment that reduced the suspension, expulsion, and dropout rates (and ultimately the school to jail pipeline) and increased the educational success of Atrisco’s students. I am still working for the APS Police Department as a civilian employee to train school resource officers and school staff in restorative practices.  

“We changed the culture in our school and community by building relationships and repairing harm, which allowed us to focus on keeping our students in school.”


POLITICS

In 2014 I was elected to serve as the New Mexico State Representative for House District 12. I served as the Vice Chair of the House Business and Industry Committee until 2019, when I was named chair of the House Transportation and Public Works Committee.

As a legislator, I focused on building relationships with community members, advocates, cross sector leaders, local and statewide officials to identify their priorities and worked to implement policies and appropriations that addressed their necessities. Much of my work in Santa Fe focused on supporting first responders. I worked with fellow legislators and other elected officials to secure millions in funding for equipment for Albuquerque area law enforcement and fire departments. I sponsored legislation that was signed by the governor to require specific training for school resource officers and provide increased funding for equipment and training for police departments. Additionally, as the Chair of the House Transportation and Public Works Committee, I worked to secure appropriations to address DWIs and improve roadway safety.


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