Privatization of Law Enforcement Bad Move

I guess desperate times call for desperate measures.

It is alarming when neighborhoods start talking about hiring their own private security to patrol their neighborhoods because property crimes and violent crimes have gotten so out of control APD cannot respond fast enough.

Obviously, it is the more affluent parts of the city and neighborhood associations that are talking about hiring private security to patrol their neighborhoods.

The more cynical would argue that if the more affluent parts of our city go ahead and provide security for themselves, poorer areas of town will be able to get the police presence they need to bring down their crime rates.

Mayor Berry has even gotten on the “let’s privatize law enforcement” bandwagon with his suggestion to hire a private security company at the rate of $1.5 million a year to hire 25 retired cops to help with crime scene investigations and processing evidence.

Law enforcement is a very basic essential service that must be provided by a municipal government and the hiring of private security companies by neighborhoods should in no way be considered an acceptable alternative.

We must demand what we pay for as taxpayers when it comes to law enforcement.

All taxpayers in all parts of Albuquerque have the right to expect and demand equal law enforcement protection from their police department.

Albuquerque’s violent and property crime rates have hit a 10-year high. In 2015, there were 34,082 property crimes with a 15% increase.

Murders spiked in Albuquerque from 30 in 2014 to 46 in 2015.

In 2015, Albuquerque’s violent crime jumped by 9.6% and property crime increased by 11.7%.

Seven years ago APD had 1,100 sworn police officer and response times had been brought down below the national average. Albuquerque’s crime rates were at historical lows.

Today APD has 830 sworn police officers and only 430 patrolling our streets and response times at historical highs with calls to APD taking hours instead of minutes to respond, endangering public safety.

Mayor Berry spent $60,000 for a study to tell him why crime has spiked when the answer is that “community based policing” does not exist anymore in Albuquerque, he has a feckless chief of police and a mismanaged, out-of-control police department.

Albuquerque needs at least 1,200 full-time sworn police officers with 650 spread out over three shifts, patrolling our streets and neighborhoods to get the job done that will have an effect on violent and property crime rates.

In my November 21, 2016 blog article “It’s Time to Clean Out APD’s and City Hall’s Sewer Lines,” I proposed the creation of a civilian Police Commissioner and a Department of Public Safety, a complete replacement of the command staff, and civilian management of APD Internal Affairs.

Until aggressive action is taken with APD and its personnel shortage, APD will continue to spin out of control, violent crime will continue to rise and Albuquerque will continue to see dramatic spikes in crime.

Privatization of law enforcement is not the answer.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.