Tell Governor You Cannot Impose a Penalty Without an Arrest and Conviction

The Governor is seeking tougher DWI penalties, which means we are in store for another “all crime all the time” legislative session. What a joke!

(For full story see January 4, 2017 Albuquerque Journal article “Gov. seeks tougher penalties for DWI”, page A-1)

The Governor is a former District Attorney and she may have forgotten that you need to make an arrest and secure a conviction before you can impose increased sentences on anyone for breaking the law.

Someone needs to tell the Governor existing DWI laws and penalties are not being enforced and imposed at least in Albuquerque.

According to Metro Court records and statistics, DWI felony and misdemeanor arrests, arraignments and convictions are down dramatically.

In 2008, there were 633 felony DWI arraignments and the number steadily declined each year to 104 in 2015.

In 2008, there were 6,538 DWI/DUI misdemeanor arraignments and the number steadily declined each year to 2,942 in 2015.

In 2008, there were 6,538 people arraigned for misdemeanor DWI and in 2015 that number dropped by close to 60% to 2,942.

There is a direct correlation between the dramatic decline in the number of DWI arrests and arraignments and the severe decline in APD personnel.

The December 11, 2015 Albuquerque Police Department Comprehensive Staffing Assessment and Resource Study prepared by Alexander Weiss for the Department of Justice concluded that APD needs at least 1,000 sworn officers.

The Weiss report concluded that 1,000 sworn police officers were sufficient for Albuquerque provided that APD officers did not respond to certain low priority calls such as minor traffic accidents or false alarm calls.

In 2009, APD had 1,100 police officers with approximately 700 assigned to field services, patrolling our streets over three shifts.

In 2009, APD had a traffic unit and a DWI units that had upwards of 40 patrol officers and today it is at less than 10.

In 2009, APD command staff recommended that Albuquerque needed at least 1,200 sworn officers for community based policing and felony prosecutions.

The number of APD sworn officers has fallen from 1,100 officers to 850 over the past seven years.

These are the type of statistics you get when you have the Governor’s former Secretary of Public Safety Gordon Eden as our APD Chief, who is a political operative and who has no prior experience managing a municipal police department.

The silence by the press and anti-DWI advocates is deafening when it comes to reporting that DWI arrests and convictions have dropped dramatically.

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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.