There is an old saying. “The more things change, the more things stay the same.”
Above is the “link” to my “Public Safety” commercial that I ran four (4) years ago when I ran for Mayor entitled “Safe Again”.
I was deeply honored to have Bob Stover and his wife Linda Stover appear in the commercial with me.
Bob Stover was the best Chief of Police we have ever had in Albuquerque and he knew how to run a law enforcement agency and how to get things done.
Bob Stover was a “cop’s cop” and for many years worked the streets as a patrol officer on a motorcycle.
Chief Stover understood full well the importance of “to serve and protect”.
One thing Chief Stover was very proud of was that in his entire career, he never had to discharge his firearm, even during some very tense confrontations with criminals that he told me about.
Chief Stover initiated many innovative programs within the department that are still around today.
Bob Stover passed away a few years ago, he was my neighbor, and I miss our conversations and our friendship, especially the advice he gave me when I was Chief Public Safety Officer.
Chief Stover is the type of Police Chief and leadership within APD we need today.
What APD needs is a Chief of Police and command staff that know what they are doing and who are committed to the Department of Justice mandated reforms.
The commercial talks about crime, the police staffing levels and police response time endangering public safety.
After four (4) years, things in Albuquerque have changed yet essentially have remain the same when it comes to law enforcement and crime:
Our crime rates continue to soar. APD continues to be understaffed. Emergency call response times continue to increase.
According to Albuquerque Police Department (APD) statistics, the total number of violent crimes in Albuquerque increased and went from 4,291 crimes in 2010 to 5,409 in 2015.
The total number of property crimes in Albuquerque increased each year during the last six (6) years and went from 26,493 crimes in 2010 to 34,082 in 2015 according to APD.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) statistics reveal that in the last eight (8) years, Albuquerque has become the is fifth-most violent city in the country on a per capita basis while the nation’s violent crime rate dropped by 13.7%.
Albuquerque has become number one in the nation for auto thefts and in 2016, more than 10,000 vehicles were stolen in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County or more than 27 vehicles a day.
APD continues to be seriously understaffed and the staffing levels are the worst they have been in eight(8) years.
In eight (8) years, APD went from 1,100 sworn police officers to 844 sworn police officers.
In 2017, APD employs 854 sworn officers with only 436 sworn police assigned to field services and is severely shorthanded in the felony divisions to complete investigations and turn the cases over to the District Attorney for prosecution.
Police 911 emergency response times have gone from 8 minutes, 58 seconds to as much as 15 minutes endangering public safety.
The biggest changed in four (4) years is that the Albuquerque Police Department is now working under a federal court order after the Department of Justice found a “culture of aggression” within APD and with two police officers having been charged and tried with murder.
APD still struggles to implement all the reforms mandated by the consent decree.
Four(4) years ago, Albuquerque had the lowest voter turnout since 1977 with only 19% of eligible voters actually getting out to vote.
Soon we will be seeing many television and radio commercials from candidates running for Mayor.
My hope is that the candidates will in fact start articulating real solutions to APD’s problems.
My biggest hope is that people will listen to the truth about what has been going on, listen to what the candidates are saying and actually vote.