This falls under the category of adding insult to injury.
KRQE is reporting that the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) is so short staffed that people, neighborhoods and businesses are unable to solely rely on APD police so they are turning to private security companies and paying for private security.
According to the KRQE report more and more, people and businesses are looking for extra protection that normally would and should be provided by APD.
“Everything from shopping malls, movie theaters, banks, private businesses, residential, everything you could think of that law enforcement is involved in, but we’re doing it on a privatized level,” explained Aaron Jones, the President and CEO IPS a local private security company,
According to the KRQE report, IPS has 85 marked patrol units and more than 100 security officers.
Aaron Jones says Albuquerque’s criminals keep him busy.
“Ever since we’ve been in business, we’ve seen nothing but an upward sprial,” Jones said.
He explained that his private security business doubles every year and he can’t hire security guards or buy units fast enough.
“We’re getting a lot of burglar alarm responses and a lot of crimes in progress,” he said.
Retired APD Officer Daniel Magetteri says private security companies are filling a gap where APD is shorthanded.
Police services are a basic essential service that needs to be provided by city government and not privatized but that is what is happening within the market place and it’s a damn shame.
Having to pay a private security company to handle calls for service that should be handled by law enforcement is adding insult to injury when taxes are also being paid for police services.
But given the shortage of sworn police, you cannot blame people for hiring private security given our rising crime rates.
The Albuquerque Police Department had a general fund budget of $171.8 million approved for the 2017-2018 fiscal year which includes an increase by $7 million or a 4.2% increase for the Department.
The adopted FY/18 General Fund budget for APD has funding for a total of 1,484 full-time positions which consists of funding for 484 civilian support staff and funding for 1,000 sworn police officers.
Although funded for 1,000 sworn officers, APD has 853 sworn police officers, and only 436 are assigned to field services, divided into three working shifts, less any of those on vacation, sick leave or in court.
Albuquerque has six (6) APD area commands.
At any given time, there are 124 sworn police officers assigned to field services, divided by three shifts, or 24 officers per field command shift.
In 2016, field service officers responded to 546,550 calls for service with a priority 1 response time of 11 minutes, 35 seconds which is approximately two minutes over the national standard.
In 2016, APD made 8,744 felony arrests, 19,857 misdemeanor arrests, 1,070 DWI arrests, and 2,462 domestic violence arrests.
The voters of Albuquerque have a right to demand and expect a fully funded and staffed Albuquerque Police Department.
Reliance on private security to fill in the gap for APD reflects a serious failure of City Hall, not only by the Mayor but the Albuquerque City Council.
But hey, knowing Mayor Berry and his false and inflated opinion of himself and what an excellent job he thinks he has done he will say he has been a “job creator” because his mismanagement of APD has resulted in jobs being created in the private security sector!