A Video Worth Watching

Mayoral Candidates At The Police Oversight Board

This August 11, 2017 Albuquerque Free Press article reports how five of the candidates for Mayor appeared before the Police Oversight Board on August 10, 2017 to talk about their views and positions on two subjects: civilian police oversight and the ongoing Albuquerque Police Department reform efforts.

The Free Press article has a 25 minute video link of the candidates making their statements.

If you want to see the video, simply “click” on the article posted above and scroll down and click on the video link.

The five candidates who appeared were Brian Colon, Tim Keller, Dan Lewis, Gus Pedrotty and Susan Wheeler-Deichel.

Each of the candidates attending were given five minutes to make a presentation with no questions asked by the Police Oversight Board members.

The Police Oversight Board will not be endorsing any candidate but issued and invitation to all the candidates to allow them to talk about their visions of police oversight and the DOJ reforms.

Regrettably Ricardo Chavez, Wayne Johnson and Michelle Garcia Holmes did not attend.

Anyone who has not had the opportunity to attend any one of the mayoral forums, the video posted along with the article gives a very good example of how the candidates have been responding to questions.

Following is a schedule of debates and forums for the October 3, 2017 Mayor’s race:

TELEVISION DEBATES:

August 15 – KNME TV, 6:00 to 8:00 pm

September 11 – KASA FOX 2, 7:00 to 8:30 pm (Sponsored by Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors

September 15 – KOB TV (time not announced)

Channel 7 and 13 are probably waiting to schedule debates until the runoff between the two top vote getters.

ORGANIZATION FORUM DEBATES:

August 10 – Police Oversight Board Candidate Forum, 5:00 pm to 8 pm, City Council Chambers at City Hall, 400 Marquette

August 16 – National Association of Woman Business Owners, 5:00 to 8 pm, Tanoan Country Club

August 23 – North Valley Coalition Mayoral Forum, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

August 29 – District 4 and District 8 Forum, 6:30 to 8:30, El Dorado High School

August 30 – MiABQ Mayoral Forum, 5:00 to 8 pm, The Cell/Fusion Theatre Company, 701 1st Street

September 1 – “State of City” Mayoral Forum, 6:00 pm, North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center Social Hall, 7521 Carmel NE.

September 6 – Community Safety and Policing Forum, 6:00 to 8:00 pm, African American Performing Arts Center, New Mexico State Fairgrounds. (This debate is sponsored by APD Forward which promotes police oversight and the DOJ reforms.)

September 8 – NAACP Civil Rights and Diversity Conference Mayoral Forum, 6:00 to 8:00 pm, Embassy Suites Hotel, Lomas and the Freeway

September 21 – East Gateway Coalition Mayoral Candidate Debate, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, The Canyon Club at Four Hills

I encourage one and all to attend one or more of the forums.

Three of Five Most Violent Areas Of City Include ART Bus Route

The Albuquerque Innovation Team, or ABQ i-team, is a three year research project funded by Bloomberg philanthropies.

The ABQ i-team released a 145 page study of Albuquerque Police Department (APD) crime statistics to identify the five (5) most violent areas to live in Albuquerque.

(See August 11, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A-1, “The 5 most violent areas to live in Albuquerque”)

https://www.abqjournal.com/1046430/the-5-most-violent-areas-to-live-in-albuquerque.html

The report is very revealing and disturbing.

The research by ABQ i-team revealed that 10% of the city residents experience a disproportionate amount of crime.

The extent of crime along Central Avenue was identified in four of the five areas of the city.

Three (3) of the five (5) high crime areas are along the new ART bus route, which does not bode well for extensive ART bus usage.

According to the report, the five areas of the city with the most violent crime are as follows:

1. Southeast/Primary (includes central ART bus route): The area as roughly from Carlisle to Eubank and from Lomas to Gibson.
2. Downtown (includes central ART bus route): from Lomas as far south as Pacific and from Eighth Street to Broadway;
3. Far Southeast (includes Central but not ART bus route): from I-40 south to Horseshoe and from Juan Tabo to Tramway;
4. San Mateo: A triangular area bordered by San Mateo and I-25 and stretching south of Comanche, including the Alta Monte neighborhood;
5. Southwest (includes ART bus route) : The area which includes Avalon south to Bridge and Old Coors to new Coors.

It is not surprising that three (3) of the areas involve Central and are some of the poorest parts of down.

A fourth area is in the “mid heights” and a fifth area is the downtown area.

In the Downtown area, 75 percent of nonfatal shootings with injuries occurred on Central Avenue between First and Sixth streets.

The more affluent areas of the city, with the most gated communities in the far northeast heights, are not experiencing the same extent of the violent crime, but other city wide statistics do not reflect this fact.

From 2014 to 2016, 43.6 percent of murders, 36.2 percent of robberies of individuals and nearly half of all shootings with injuries occurred in the five areas identified in the study.

The five areas of the city have a population of about 57,000 people and cover a little more than nine square miles.

Albuquerque’s total population is about 560,000 and the city covers about 189 square miles.

According to the study, in the past three years, the biggest and most violent area of the city is the area roughly from Carlisle to Eubank and from Lomas to Gibson and that part of city accounted for 27 percent of the murders, 20 percent of carjackings and 37 percent of nonfatal shootings.

In the mid-heights area of the Alta Monte neighborhood between Comanche and Candelaria in Northeast, an average of one in 25 of that area’s residents was assaulted or robbed from 2014 through 2016.

OTHER SOBERING CRIME STATISTICS

The ABQ i-team report does not complete the equation and does not give a full picture of the violent crime wave engulfing Albuquerque.

According to the Bernalillo County District Attorneys Office, from 2009 to 2015, Albuquerque’s violent crime rate jumped 21.5% and the city is fifth-most violent city in the country on a per capita basis while the nation’s violent crime rated dropped by 13.7%. (See June 23, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A-1, Justice council challenges DA’s criticism of court rules.)

Albuquerque has become number one in the nation for auto thefts per capita.

In 2016 more than 10,000 vehicles were stolen in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County or more than 27 vehicles a day.

In 2016, APD made 8,744 felony arrests, 19,857 misdemeanor arrests, 1,070 DWI arrests, and 2,462 domestic violence arrests.

Priority 1 call are those calls that involve the immediate threat of great bodily injury or violent crimes and include but are not limited to murder, rape, assault with a deadly weapon and armed robbery.

In 2016, field service officers responded to 546,550 priority one calls for service.

APD has a priority 1 response time of 11 minutes, 35 seconds which is approximately two minutes over the national standard.

The SWAT Unit was activated 44 times in 2016 to respond to violent crimes and priority 1 calls for service.

DEDICATED LAW ENFORCEMENT RESOURCES

The research report does not report the law enforcement resources dedicated to the areas to combat the crime.

The Albuquerque Police Department has a general fund budget of $171.8 million.

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 but only 436 are assigned to field services taking calls for service.

The 436 assigned to the field are 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.

Repeatedly APD area command staffs report to Community Policing Council meetings that there are too short handed and many times entire area commands have less than 8 sworn officers patrolling the entire area commands.

CONCLUSION

Albuquerque’s severe rising crime rates have been in the making for a number of years.

Unless you have enough dedicated law enforcement resources, things will not be getting much better, especially when it comes to crime along Central.

We need solve the underlying causes of crime which is poverty, drug addiction, lack of education, mental health problems and failed social intervention.

Why Does This Sound So Familiar?

Keller Unveils Crime-Fighting Plan

Mayoral candidate Tim Keller released a detailed crime fighting plan in this Albuquerque Free Press article.

Much of what he proposes sounds very familiar and I agree with it.

Keller’s plan contains much of what I have been proposing for three (3) years.

On July 14, 2017 I published my blog article “A Plan To Reform and Restructure APD: Appoint Police Commissioner and Abolish APD Internal Affairs” at www.PeteDinelli.com.

My plan was also reported by the ALB Free Press on July 14, 2017 with the headline “Dinelli Plan For Reforming APD”.

On May 25, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A-7, published my guest commentary entitled “APD is going in the wrong direction on reform; Latest federal report shows an out-of-control department that desperately needs new leadership” making the proposal that a Special Master needs to be appointed.

My proposal calls for the appointment of a civilian Public Safety Commissioner and creation of a Department of Public Safety.

I formulated my plan when the Department of Justice found a “culture of aggression” within APD and when the city negotiated the consent decree.

Three years ago, I gave the plan to a few of the Albuquerque City Councillors.

The City Councilors I met with told me they could not do anything and Albuquerque would have to wait for the election of a new Mayor which was their way of saying they did not have the political backbone to act.

My plan was also given to Federal Monitor James Ginger.

I recall vividly my conversations with Federal Monitor James Ginger three years ago wherein he expressed significant interest in the appointment of a civilian police commissioner to assume control of APD to implement the DOJ reforms.

Dr. Ginger said that eventually APD may get to the point that a special master may need to be appointed to take over APD, but it was not his job to recommend it.

The biggest difference is that my plan abolishes the APD Internal Affairs and have those functions assumed by the City’s Inspector General and Internal Audit with the Department of Human Services to handle the functions of Internal Affairs.

APD has proven repeatedly that it cannot police itself.

The current command staff is not committed to the DOJ reforms.

The Federal Monitor has made five damaging reports and findings that APD is not committed to the mandated reforms justifying the appointment of a Special Master to take over APD, which is not likely, or the removal and replacement of the entire command staff of APD.

More must be done to aggressively implement the DOJ reforms, solve the staffing shortages and address APD’s leadership crisis.

Dramatic, sweeping changes with a new approach to APD management is in order.

Following is the condensed version of my plan to restructure and reform APD:

A PROPOSED SOLUTION

Upon being sworn in, the new Mayor needs to seek a hearing with the Federal Court, the Federal Court Appointed Monitor, the United States Department of Justice, the United States Attorney and City Attorney and the Chief of Police to outline all changes to be made to APD and seek a court order approving modifications to the consent decree if needed and seek restructuring of APD in order to continue with the implementation of the DOJ mandated reforms.

The entire APD chain of command must be removed and replaced with a new generation of leadership and not from within the ranks of APD.

The command staff who created, contributed or who did not stop the “culture of aggression” need to be replaced.

A national search must be conducted to identify and hire a new management team to take over APD, including a new Chief of Police, new Deputy Chiefs and a new chain of command to assume control of APD.

The City Council by ordinance needs to create a Department of Public Safety, which would overtime include both the Police and Fire Departments, both Police and Fire Academies, and 911 emergency dispatch center, the emergency operations center with the appointment of a Public Safety Commissioner.

Until the creation of the Public Safety Department, a Police Commissioner needs to be appointed immediately to assume civilian control of APD.

The Police Commissioner would be appointed by the Mayor with advice and consent of the City Council.

The Chief of Police would be appointed by the Police Commissioner but serve at the pleasure of the Mayor with advice and consent of the City Council.

The Police Commissioner would assume direct civilian oversight, management and control of APD and could only be removed for cause and would not serve at the pleasure of the Mayor.

A Police Commissioner and Chief with extensive and proven leadership in managing a municipal police department must be hired, not political operatives.

The civilian Police Commissioner would assume primary responsibility for implementation of all the DOJ-mandated reforms.

Implementation of the DOJ consent decree reforms would include continued formulation, writing and implementation of standard operating procedure and changes agreed to under the consent decree, expansion of crisis intervention mandates and certified training of APD department personnel in constitutional policing practices.

The Police Commissioner, with support assistance from the Chief, would assume the responsibility for interacting and reporting to the Police Oversight Board and the Community Police Councils.

The Police Commissioner would completely overhaul and restructure APD, appoint new chiefs, commanders, lieutenants, academy director and a 911 manager and each would report directly to the Chief of Police, with the Police Commissioner in the Chain of Command as the Commissioner determines to be necessary and appropriate to carry out their duties.

The positions of APD Majors would be abolished and the chain of command would be streamlined where necessary.

Every single APD felony unit would be increased in personnel by anywhere between 40% and 60%, including the following APD units: Armed Robbery, Auto Theft, Burglary, Homicide, Gang Unit, Narcotics, Property Crimes and Sex Crimes Units and the Criminal Nuisance Abatement Unit.

The number of sworn police officers patrolling the streets is currently 436 and would be increased to at least 650 out of a fully staff department of 1,200.

The civilian Police Commissioner would be responsible for preparing budgets, personnel management and enforcement of personnel policies and procedures and imposing personnel disciplinary action.

The Chief of Police would be responsible for day-to-day operations of APD, public safety initiatives, tactical plans and management of sworn staff and report directly to the civilian Police Commissioner.

The Public Safety Department would consist of four civilian staffed divisions and managed by the Police Commissioner:

1. Personnel and training, for recruiting, hiring, internal affairs investigations and police academy;
2. Budget and finance;
3. Information technology support and crime lab; and
4. 911 emergency operations center with a civilian manager.

“Deadly use of force” cases would continue to be investigated by the Critical Incident Review Team and the final reports with finding and recommendations submitted to the Police Commissioner.

APD has consistently shown over many years it cannot police itself which contributed to the “culture of aggression” found by the Department of Justice.

The APD Internal Affairs Unit needs to be abolished and its functions absorbed by the Office Independent Council.

The investigation of police misconduct cases including excessive use of force cases not resulting in death or nor serious bodily harm would be done by “civilian” personnel investigators.

The function and responsibility for investigating police misconduct cases and violations of personnel policy and procedures by police would be assumed by the Office of Independent Council in conjunction with the City Human Resources Department and the Office of Internal Audit where necessary.

The Office of Independent Council would make findings and recommendations to the Police Commissioner for implementation and imposition of disciplinary action.

The city needs to fund and implement a non-negotiated major hourly rate increase for entry level sworn officers, excluding management, to improve recruitment, retention and morale.

Sign on bonuses, tuition debt payoff and mortgage down payment bonuses need to be offered to new recruits.

Yearly experienced officer retention bonuses must be made permanent.

APD needs to “triple down” on recruitment and dramatically increase the size and number of police academy classes per year.

If necessary, the City Council needs to enact a public safety tax to pay for APD’s staffing expansion, pay incentive programs, needed training programs, DOJ-mandated reforms, equipment acquisitions and 911 emergency operations, staffing and equipment.

CONCLUSION

Every candidate for Mayor needs to articulate a clear platform on what they will do with APD.

Until aggressive action is taken with APD and the Department of Justice mandated and agreed to reforms, APD will continue to spin out of control, crime rates will continue to rise and Albuquerque will continue to see dramatic spikes in violent crime.

Mayoral Debate Forum Schedule

The scheduling of debates and forums for the October 3, 2017 Mayor’s race is finally starting to pick up.

TELEVISION DEBATES:

August 15 – KNME TV, 6:00 to 8:00 pm

September 9 – Mayoral/Dist 7 candidate forum sponsored by neighborhood associations, 1:30-4:00 pm, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 9100 Menaul Blvd, between Wyoming & Eubank

September 11 – KASA FOX 2, 7:00 to 8:30 pm (Sponsored by Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors

September 15 – KOB TV (time not announced)

Channel 7 and 13 are probably waiting to schedule debates until the runoff between the two top vote getters.

ORGANIZATION FORUM DEBATES:

August 10 – Police Oversight Board Candidate Forum, 5:00 pm to 8 pm, City Council Chambers at City Hall, 400 Marquette

August 16 – National Association of Woman Business Owners, 5:00 to 8 pm, Tanoan Country Club

August 23 – North Valley Coalition Mayoral Forum, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

August 29 – District 4 and District 8 Forum, 6:30 to 8:30, El Dorado High School

August 30 – MiABQ Mayoral Forum, 5:00 to 8 pm, The Cell/Fusion Theatre Company, 701 1st Street

September 1 – “State of City” Mayoral Forum, 6:00 pm, North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center Social Hall, 7521 Carmel NE.

September 6 – Community Safety and Policing Forum, 6:00 to 8:00 pm, African American Performing Arts Center, New Mexico State Fairgrounds. (This debate is sponsored by APD Forward which promotes police oversight and the DOJ reforms.)

September 8 – NAACP Civil Rights and Diversity Conference Mayoral Forum, 6:00 to 8:00 pm, Embassy Suites Hotel, Lomas and the Freeway

September 9 – Three Neighborhood Association Mayoral/District 7 City Council Forum, 1:00pm to 4:00 pm, St Luke’s Lutheran,9100 Menaul Blvd NE, (between Wyoming and Eubank), moderated by League of Woman Voters

September 21 – East Gateway Coalition Mayoral Candidate Debate, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, The Canyon Club at Four Hills

I encourage one and all to attend one or more of the forums.

And The PIO Medal Of Honesty Goes To Simon Drobik!

http://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/albuquerque-police-apd-montgomery-carlisle/4566361/

This is what APD Police Officer and public Information Officer Simon Drobik had to say in his Channel 4 interview about the shootout at Montgomery and Carlisle in front of a day care center:

“It looks like some dumb-asses got into a gunfight in the street. An individual got shot, some citizen actually walking down the street. A child almost got killed, got hit by glass. And this is the result of idiots in this town thinking they’re cool getting into gunfights.”

Drobik told the Albuquerque Journal “This is some idiots shooting themselves up in the middle of the street while kids are getting picked up [at a daycare center.]”

(See August 8, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A-1, “Gunfight breaks out in front of ABQ daycare center; Child and bystander injured; 3 in custody after traumatic shooting”)

Officer Drobik needs to be awarded a medal for honesty, candor and transparency, probably the first ever awarded to an APD Public Information Officer given the fact that two APD Public Information Officers lied about the investigation and brutal murder of nine year old Victoria Martens.

Drobik’s quote is also a reflection of what our City has become and the new norm for Albuquerque.

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 Albuquerque Police Department (APD is 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 for murder resulting in a jury unable to agree on a conviction and the charges dismissed.

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 in its municipal election with only 19% of eligible voters actually voting.

Voters need to get angry and demand that aggressive action be taken by our elected officials with increasing funding for APD and personnel so that it can be more proactive as it was eight (8) years ago.

A Search For Solutions

http://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/mayoral-candidates-on-downtown-crime/4565399/?cat=500

Channel 4 did this story regarding the downtown walking tour to discuss crime.

I was glad to see that all eight (8) candidates for Mayor participated.

I hope more of these tours are scheduled throughout the city and perhaps in each City Council District.

Most of the candidates like Republican City Councilor Dan Lewis still stuck to their scripts of meaningless talking points saying we need far more police officers and we need to change our spending money priorities, yet he has been on the council for the last eight (8) years when he could have done something.

A few of the candidates finally started to offer real solutions.

Gus Pedrotty once again came up with a realistic solution regarding using different model for crime fighting by saying “When we try and get more police officers we know that’s a long-run change; no way we’re going to hire all the officers in a single year” … We need a new service model to reduce the strain on those officers now.”

When the candidates attend candidate’s forums, they give their canned answers and slogans to questions sounding like they know what they are talking about but not really understanding what the problem is associated with the question.

I for one hope that all the candidates get away from their talking points and slogans and start articulating real solutions and not just parrot what we all know our problems are.

When I was Director of the Safe City Strike force dealing with crack houses, meth labs, slumlords and properties that had become magnets for serious crimes, I had to go out and interact and meet with the neighborhoods and citizens affected by crime.

When you see fear, anger, desperation and hopelessness in people’s faces, eyes, and voices, and they are asking for help, you listen and learn.

You become determined to find solutions to the problems and forge a desire to help.