APD is Not a Consumer Product to Privatize

Albuquerque City Councilors Pat Davis and Brad Winter along with the Berry Administration are once again pursuing their efforts to hire a private corporation or 30 private investigators who are former cops who will work exclusively on property crime and auto theft investigations for the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).

See http://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/city-councilors-pat-davis-brad-winter-property-crime-unit-albuquerque-police-apd-mayor-chief-staff-gilbert-montano-/4349143/#.WFlj4QcvEt8.facebook for full story.

Davis and Winter suggest that the 30 investigators could be police service aides or retired police officers, but who exactly will be hired is not made clear and is intentional misleading on their part.

The truth is that this is an attempt to privatized APD and law enforcement functions.

It could cost up to $1.3 million a year to pay for the property crime and auto theft program being proposed by Councilors Davis and Winter.

APD has only four (4) full time sworn police officers assigned to the Auto Theft Unit with each police officer handling upwards of 1,000 open cases.

Seven years ago the APD Auto theft unit had between eight (8) to ten (10) full time sworn officers assigned to the unit.

Current APD statistics reveal a car is stolen in the city every hour and 41 minutes.

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 and 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.

Mayor Berry’s sorry excuse for a Chief of Staff Gilbert Montano says of the proposal “It allows for better customer service ability for qualified individuals come out and do the same function as a sworn officer.”

Mr. Montano’ s comment is a reflection of a total ignorance of law enforcement and confusing law enforcement functions and criminal prosecutions with customer service as if it were a consumer product of some sort.

The Davis-Winter proposal is a very bad idea and is tantamount to trying to privatize law enforcement.

Law enforcement is a very basic essential service that must be provided by a municipal government.

The hiring of private investigators to do investigations of auto thefts or property crimes is a pathetic attempt to find an alternative solution to APD’s personnel crisis.

Seven years ago APD had 1,100 sworn police officer and response times had been brought down below the national average.

Seven years ago, 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.

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

Part of the problem with hiring private investigators is that APD is operating under a federal Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree.

APD has had enough problems with resisting civilian oversight.

The Davis-Winter proposal is taking the functions of law enforcement and giving it to the private sector.

A serious question is who will the private investigators be responding to and reporting to and will they be required to follow consent decree mandates and constitutional policing practices mandated by the DOJ consent decree?

The Mayor and City Council need to make it a priority to increase APD’s personnel ranks with sworn police officers with an aggressive recruitment program, increased wages for rank and file and sign on bonuses rather than trying to privatize a basic municipal function.

Please see my November 21, 2016 blog article “It’s Time to Clean Out APD’s and City’s Halls Sewer Lines” on what I feel needs to be done to improve APD” on my blog PeteDinelli.com

APD Policy Drafting Step by Step

The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) gave presentations on the Department of Justice settlement agreement to the six (6) Community Policing Council meetings.

The very elaborate process used to draft and approve new or revised APD policy was presented to the Community Policing Council’s with a “flow chart”.

The process for developing APD policy, practices and procedure is essentially by committee and committee referrals.

Tossing the flow chart, here are the steps followed to draft APD policy under the Department of Justice Consent decree:

1. Existing standard operating procedure (SOP) goes to the Office of Policy Analysis (OPA) where all the stakeholders give input.

2. The Office of Policy Analysis (OPA) drafts new or revised SOP.

3. The new SOP goes to the “SOP Review Committee” and input is given by “subject matter” experts and a final draft of SOP is prepared and APD proposals are also considered.

4. The new SOP goes to the “Policy and Procedures Review Board” (PPRB) for review and they send it to

5. Office of Policy Analysis (OPA) for final review to ensure appropriateness and consistency with other APD Policy and then it is sent for

6. Review and approval by Chief of Police and City Attorney to see if it relates to the settlement agreement

7. If Chief and City Attorney do not approve, it goes back to step one, and the process starts all over again.

If the SOP is approved by Chief and City Attorney, it then must be reviewed and approved by all the parties to the lawsuit and consent decree.

8. The revised or new SOP goes to the federal monitor who must approve it and then it is sent to the federal judge for final approval.

The federal court appointed monitor can only audit and report on the process and cannot help write any new policy, even though he has the expertise.

However, the city hired a retired federal court magistrate judge, who has no prior experience writing police policy, to help write APD policy.

The retired federal court magistrate was hired to help draft SOP after the city attorney acknowledge that the so called inhouse experts at APD consisting of high ranking command staff were having difficulty writing the policy.

Chief Eden defended giving retention bonuses to his command staff saying he needed their institutional knowledge to help him implement the Department of Justice reforms and write new SOP policy.

Many of the APD command staff who are responsible for drafting and review of new APD policy under the DOJ consent decree include those who created, contributed or who did not stop the culture of aggression found by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Included in the writing and review of APD policy under the DOJ consent decree is the Assistant Chief of Police who retired as the commander of the APD SWAT Unit that the DOJ was so critical of in its 2014 finding of a culture of aggression.

It is a wonder that anything really gets done in writing new policy and explains why it has taken two years to get any SOP policy approved by the federal court.

You would think the process could be streamlined, but I would be concerned the City will create the “Streamline Committee” to get it done.

No Excuse for Blighted – Slumlord Properties

Albuquerque and the commercial real estate sector may be on hard economic times, but that does not mean commercial property owners and landlords can just turn their backs on making repairs and do nothing to maintain their properties.

Not being able to afford to make repairs is not a good excuse when it comes to substandard commercial and residential buildings.

If commercial and residential rental property owners cannot afford to make repairs and keep maintenance up, then they need to sell their properties to someone who can.

Blighted and Slum Properties

Nuisance and blighted properties bring down property values and can endanger an entire neighborhood when the property becomes a magnet for crime, especially when used for a crack house or meth lab.

A magnet for crime property is one that has an extensive history of calls for service to the Albuquerque Police Department and where crime occurs.

A review of the total number of calls for service a year is used in part to determine if a property is a public nuisance or a nuisance under city ordinances.

Residential rental landlords and motel owners need to provide housing that is safe, secure and livable for all tenants.

Tenants are legally entitled to safe, secure, clean, living quarters with working utilities when they pay their rent.

As director of the Safe City Strike Force, I saw way too many slumlords charging top dollar to rent their properties to some of our poorest and most vulnerable citizens.

Many slumlords refuse to make repairs when needed, even when the health and safety of tenants are at risk.

Slumlords have the financial upper hand with their tenants and have the attitude with their tenants that if you do not like what I am renting to you, then get the hell out.

Undocumented or non United State citizens are also reluctant to complain to slumlords for repairs or the police because of fear of eviction or deportation.

Slumlords are also quick to evict when there is a missed monthly rental payment.

Some of the more egregious instances where property owners refused to make costly repairs and where health and safety was an issue involved heating and air condition systems that broke down during peak usage times.

The City of Albuquerque can have an impact and reduce the number of blighted and substandard commercial and residential properties in Albuquerque by relying on existing nuisance abatement state law and city ordinances.

New Mexico and the City of Albuquerque have some of the strongest nuisance abatement laws in the country and enforcement action can be taken by the city.


New Mexico law states: “A public nuisance consist of knowingly creating, performing or maintaining anything affecting any number of citizens without lawful authority which is injurious to public health, safety and welfare or interferes with the exercise and enjoyment of public rights, including the right to use public property.” (See 30-8-1, NMSA, defining public nuisance.)

Under New Mexico law, civil actions for the abatement of a public nuisance can be taken in the form of seeking injunctive relief to secure temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions and permanent injunctions to abate the nuisance.

A civil action to abate a public nuisance may be brought by any public officer or private citizen in state district court against any person, corporation or association of persons who creates, performs or maintains a public nuisance. (See 30-8-8, NMSA, abatement of a public nuisance.)

New Mexico law empowers all cities in New Mexico by city ordinance to define a nuisance, abate a nuisance and impose penalties upon a person who creates or allows a nuisance to exist. (See 3-18-17, NMSA Nuisances and Offenses; Regulation or Prohibition)


A City of Albuquerque ordinance defines a nuisance property as “any parcel of real property, commercial or residential, on which …illegal activities occurs, or which is used to commit conduct, promote, facilitate, or aide the commission of … any … [crimes or housing code violations].” (See 11-1-1-3, city ordinance defining Public Nuisance)

The nuisance abatement ordinance lists misdemeanor and felony statutes and housing and commercial codes.

Albuquerque’s Nuisance Abatement Ordinance states: “It shall be unlawful for any owner, manager, tenant, lessee, occupant, or other person having any legal or equitable interest or right of possession in real property … or other personal property to intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently commit, conduct , promote, facilitate, permit, fail to prevent, or otherwise let happen, any public nuisance in, on or using any property in which they hold any legal or equitable interest or right of possession.” (See 11-1-1-10, Public Nuisance Prohibited)

The City’s Uniform Housing Code defines a nuisance in part as “Any nuisance known at common law …” or “whatever is dangerous to human life or is detrimental to health, as determined by the health officer” or “any violation of the housing standards” required by the building and housing codes. (See 14-3-1-4, ROA 1994, Housing Code defining Nuisance).

In 2004 the city enacted the Vacant Building Maintenance Act which requires property owners to register their vacant buildings, repair them and keep them maintained.

Albuquerque’s housing and commercial codes define substandard structures and there are provisions that allow inspections and civil code enforcement actions.

Under existing city ordinances, property owners can be cited for code violations for not maintaining their properties in compliance with city codes.

Under the nuisance abatement ordinance, aggressive code enforcement action against blighted properties, both residential and commercial, can be taken where it is found that that the properties have become a nuisance and magnets of crime resulting in calls for service to the Albuquerque Police Department.


For the last seven years, little to nothing has been done by the City of Albuquerque to address blighted and substandard commercial and residential properties in Albuquerque.

There is a lack of commitment by city hall to properly fund a program that was recognized as a best practice by municipalities throughout the country.

Albuquerque was safer and cleaner because of the work of the Safe City Strike Force.

Today, the Safe City Strike Force has one employee, its director, and the Safe City Strike Force largely exists in name only.

The Code Enforcement Division of the Planning Department secured $25,000 in federal grant funding for the Safe City Strike Force its first year of its existance for tear downs of blighted properties.

By the seventh year, the Code Enforcement Division of the Planning Department secured almost $1 million a year in funding for board ups and teardowns by the Safe City Strike Force.

Albuquerque City Councilors are attempting to enact another ordinance requiring the registration and maintenance of vacant commercial property.

The City Council attempt to enact a new ordinance to address blighted commercial properties is downright foolish and a waste of time given the existing ordinances on the books.

The city administration is claiming it will cost $900,000 to enforce the new ordinance and there is no money available.

Existing code enforcement resources are already in place in the City Planning Department and the City Attorney’s office.

The City administration never says there is no money available when the mayor orders funds to be found, like when they found $500,000 to help continue the development of the entertainment district downtown and millions for the negotiating contracts for the DOJ consent decree.

City Councilors are given $1 million each in discretionary funds out of the general fund to use as they see fit in their City Council districts.

All our City Councilors need to commit their discretionary money to good use for condemnations and tear downs of substandard buildings in their districts by the Safe City Strike Force.

Funding the Safe City Strike Force may not be a glamorous construction project like a library or fire station that city councilors always love taking credit for, but it would go along way to getting rid of blighted commercial and residential properties, which only sully entire neighborhoods and put residents in danger and bring property values down.

The Progressive Coalition Movement in New Mexico

On December 17, 2016, I attended the half day, first organization meeting of the Progressive Coalition held at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union hall.

The Progressive Coalition had members from the Progressive Democrats of America, the New Mexico Progressive Democrats, the Albuquerque Progressive Organization, Progress Now, Our Revolution, the Equilsts, the Working Family Partnership, and Veterans for Peace and Retake Our Democracy to mention a few organizations participating.

Over 220 very enthusiastic and motivated Democrats attended the meeting.

From my own personal perspective, the Progressive Coalition can be characterized as a group of Bernie Sander’s supporters and progressive democratic organizations that have become disillusioned with the traditional Democratic Party, its organization and the course of the Democratic Party in New Mexico.

One attendee described the organization as traditional “FDR Democrats”, or Mitt Romney’s 93%’ ers, as opposed to Wall Street Democrats.

The first order of business of the meeting was an overview of the forum followed by a break out study or forum sessions on identified topics to formulate a platform.

Because of time restraints, I could only attend three discussion sessions but found them to be very informative.

I was also able to attend the final discussion period.

There were a total of ten (10) major platform issues discussed.

The ten platform issues, not in any given order, were as follows:

1. Sustainable jobs, economic growth and economic equality
2. Expanding education opportunities
3. Affordable healthcare and access to health care by all
4. Protecting the environment & supporting clean energy policies
5. Addressing social justice, civil liberty deficiencies [ the criminal justice system]
6. Racial equality, racial justice
7. Eliminating poverty
8. Protection of our public lands
9. Providing food security and supporting agriculture
10. Protecting water rights, resources and access

Two topics that I was interested in were “creating sustainable jobs, securing economic growth and creating economic equality for the “99% ters” and “expanding education opportunities”.

Included in the topic of “securing economic growth and creating economic equality” were discussions on the following priorities:

1. Creating a “infrastructure bank” for major state and regional projects for job
2. Making high speed internet universally available and internet equality
3. Tax credits to develop sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies
4. Investing in mass, statewide transportation system, such as light rail
5. Expanding programs to launch small business and entrepreneurship
6. Using public private partnerships to demand livable wage jobs that is not privatization of government jobs and functions
7. Supporting the working class by phasing in a $15-dollar minimum wage
8. Requiring equal pay for equal work for woman
9. Support paid sick leave initiatives, including family, medical and maternity leave
10. Support collective bargaining
11. Oppose “right to work” laws
12. Reforming state tax policies including reestablishing a progressive state income tax
13. Establishing a 36% cap on interest rates on predatory loans

Included in the topic of “expanding education opportunities” were discussions on the following priorities:

Early Childhood Programs

1. Providing funding for early childhood programs from the state’s permanent funds
2. Expanding early childhood care programs


3. Increase state funding for K-12 education
4. Increasing wages and collective bargaining for elementary and high school teachers
5. Abolishing the statewide practice of rating K-12 schools
6. Discontinue excessive standardized testing, and support more teacher input into the testing process
7. Ensuring that public schools have the resources to protect students with disabilities and special needs
8. Encouraging grade-appropriate “Media Literacy” classes
9. Rejecting use of “vouchers” to transfer funds from public to private schools
10. Requiring charter schools to meet the same requirements as conventional public schools
11. Eliminating public funding for “for –profit” charter schools
12. Supporting a constitutional amendment giving oversight and regulatory authority to the New Mexico Public Education Commission
13. Preventing the elimination of elections of school board members
14. Increasing parental involvement and cooperation between parents, teachers and administrators

Providing Access to Higher Education and Tuition

15. Making all community colleges, colleges, and universities tuition free for all New Mexico residents
16. Creating a fund to enable all New Mexico residents with college debt to refinance that debt a reduced rate
17. Creating education “debt forgiveness” programs to those who provide services such as teaching, healthcare and behavioral health care, in rural and underserved communities
18. Require community colleges to increase graduation rates and improve outcomes for workforce training
19. Expand trade apprenticeship opportunities for students and graduate

One of the more heated discussions was on the topic of “transforming the Democratic Party”.

It was clear to me that the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is dissatisfied with the party and how it is being run.

Of particular concern is the failure to hold elected Democratic officials accountable for failing to advocate and support Democratic core values, especially after campaigning, promising and being elected on those core values.

I did see two Democratic Albuquerque City Councilors and one state elected official who attended the meeting.

I did not see any Democratic Bernalillo County elected official nor any New Mexico Democratic State House Representatives or Senators.

All who attended were encouraged to get involved with the party at the ward and precinct level and to run for office.

Leadership Needed to Reduce NM Unemployment Rates

The Albuquerque Journal reports that New Mexico has a 6.7% jobless rate and that it is still the 2nd worst in the nation. (December 17, 2016 Albuquerque Journal, “ NM 6.7% jobless rate still 2nd-worst in nation”, Business Section, B-1)

New Mexico did see job gains in education and health services.

Health services is the largest and fastest–growing private industry sector in New Mexico, no doubt attributable to our aging population and perhaps increased medical care availability under “Obamacare”.

Other sectors that had job gains were professional and business services and leisure and hospitality.

New Mexico has job growth in the transportation, warehousing and utility industries.

New Mexico and Albuquerque can and must expand and find better ways to use financial incentives for economic development including tax increment districts (TIDS), industrial revenue bonds, and even fund economic development investment programs as initial start up funding with claw back provisions.

Proposing nothing more than reducing corporate taxes is not an economic development plan.

Proposing further cuts in government services is not a final solution to our budget problems, when we need to diversify our economy.

New Mexico needs to pursue with a vengeance real growth industries like healthcare, transportation manufacturing, and the film industry to diversify our economy.

Public-private partnerships in the growth industries wherever should be encouraged and developed.

Special emphasis and support should be given to New Mexico’s film industry which is developing, expanding and proving to be very successful in providing well paying jobs.

Improving our schools and vocational systems, dropout rates, are critical to diversifying New Mexico’s economy.

The Governor and the New Mexico legislature need to be aggressive in improving and funding our education system, fund early childhood care and intervention programs and mental health care programs.

The Governor needs to stop wasting time on “all crime, all the time” agendas increasing criminal penalties but rather solving the root cause of crime: poverty, our poor education system, high unemployment, drug addiction, to mention just a few root causes of crime.

New Mexico’s and Albuquerque’s economic development efforts must be better coordinated with our vocational institutions to identify new industries that can be attracted to New Mexico and insure New Mexico has a trained workforce to accommodate any new industry.

The City of Albuquerque needs to partner more with the State of New Mexico wherever possible.

A good first start in partnering with the State is to find a new vision for the State Fair grounds and how that very valuable gem in the center of Albuquerque can be better utilized to serve not only New Mexico but the Albuquerque community.

A suggestion would be for the City and State to jointly fund a tear down the old Tingley Coliseum and construct a multipurpose, state of the art facility that could be used for entertainment and sports events and operated year round with a joint powers agreement.

Other joint powers agreements can be entered into between the City, State and Bernalillo County for the mutual use of facilities.

Our Governor and the New Mexico legislature need to show far more backbone and commitment to improving and diversifying New Mexico’s economy to reduce our unemployment rates.

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

This is what you call being a day late and a dollar short.

It has been reported that the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is asking the City of Albuquerque to repay $1.4 million in housing grants. (See December 16, 2016 Albuquerque Journal, “Feds ask ABQ to repay$1.4M in housing grants”, A-1).

Albuquerque has now been declared a high risk grantee by HUD.

HUD is now imposing special conditions on the city grant funding and those conditions will have an effect on the city’s ability to draw down on HUD funding.

HUD is raising serious questions about the city’s record keeping, oversight and administration of federal grant money for housing programs that help low income people and our most vulnerable senior citizens.

$500,000 is in jeopardy for the affordable housing project in the SE Heights Trumbull Village area.

$320,000 is in jeopardy for housing programs including the one that helps senior citizens make minor repairs that they cannot afford to their homes.

$600,000 is in jeopardy that is to be used to redevelop the historic El Vado motel on Central near Old Town.

This is extremely upsetting and shows city hall incompetence or at the very least inattention and a failure of due diligence by city management.

When I was Director of the Safe City Strike Force, we would identify blighted areas of the city and identify residential properties that had become magnets for crime and take action.

The Planning Department Code Enforcement Division and the Family Community Service Department had representatives assigned to the Safe City Strike Force.

Both departments were instrumental in securing and getting the type of federal housing grants identified in this article, a process that is labor and paperwork intensive.

The Planning Department Code Inspection Division secured $1 million for the Safe City Strike Force that was used to tear down blighted properties.

One major project I worked on with the Family and Community Service Department was the “Metropolitan Redevelopment Pilot Project” where the City bought, but did not initiate a condemnation action to acquire title, for fair market value blighted multi-housing residential properties.

Entire blocks of property were acquired for redevelopment to build affordable housing in the SE Heights La Mesa Trumbull area.

The Safe City Strike Force was also involved with the closure of the El Vado motel which was later acquired by the City for redevelopment, and it to continues to deteriorate with the passage of time.

The city is blaming the “great recession” as the excuse for the reduction in the redevelopment of the acquired property. This is a bogus argument.

The real reason for reduced redevelopment efforts is City Hall’s lack of interest in helping the poorest parts of our City.

And where is the Albuquerque City Council on this issue, especially City Councilor Pat Davis whose district includes the International District and the La Mesa Trumbull area, or is he too busy designing that new bus stop he secured for the ART Bus project to the tune of $1 million?

Councilor Davis’s constituents in the La Mesa Trumbull are in need affordable low income housing and not a bus stop for a bus no one will use.

The Berry Administration says it’s assembling a team of experts within city hall to address HUD’s concerns when those experts should have been doing their jobs in the first place.

The assembling of experts now is what you call a day late and a dollar short with federal grant money.