Keller: ABQ a ‘Train Wreck’
New Mexico State Auditor and Albuquerque Mayor candidate was interviewed by the Albuquerque Free Press and proclaimed APD Chief Gordon Eden must go and declared there is a lack of accountability by Mayor Berry and foot dragging when it comes to the Department of Justice (DOJ) mandated reforms.
Keller even proposes returning to community based policing.
Frankly, I feel I should ask Mr. Keller to be paid royalties for using my ideas.
On November 21, 2016 I published my blog article on www PeteDinelli.com entitled
“It’s Time to Clean Out APD and City Halls Sewer Lines” where I propose removing the entire command staff, creation of a Department of Public Safety with an appointed civilian Police Commissioner.
Over the last three years, I do not recall Keller attending a single court hearing on the DOJ settlement agreement let alone any City Council meetings and briefings by the federal monitor.
Now all of a sudden Mr. Keller is a law enforcement expert with the solutions for APD.
What struck me about the ABQ Free Press article is just how very naïve and uninformed Keller is about law enforcement and the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).
Removal of the Chief Gordon Eden and the Assistant Chief as he proposes is a good start.
However, the entire command staff all the way down to commanders and lieutenants is what needs to be done and what I have advocated for at least two years.
Even when the entire command staff is removed, it will not solve the “culture of aggression” that took at least 10 years to permeate APD.
The “culture of aggression” found by the DOJ will be reduced with the DOJ mandated reforms and training.
However in all probability the “culture of aggression” will not be truly resolved until there is a 100% turnover of APD sworn police officer staffing and with a new generation of police officers trained in constitutional policing which will only be achieved overtime with retirements and replacements with newly trained, young officers.
Keller saying the solution to APD’s shortage of sworn officers is that “you poach” them from other agencies shows his lack of knowledge and that he is not aware that is what has been attempted with the “lateral” hiring classes and it has not been very successful.
The term “poaching” is somewhat insulting and not that easy because very few experienced police officers from other law enforcement departments even want or are they willing to come to a department with such a poor reputation.
“Poaching” also increases the risk of hiring problem officers from other agencies, which means lateral transfers, which is what caused in part APDs problems.
Keller’s boast he will have a team of law enforcement professionals ready to run the department is laughable seeing as he is a virtual unknown to the law enforcement community and the extent of his law enforcement contacts and knowledge to recruit is probably very shallow at best.
A PROPOSED SOLUTION
A Department of Public Safety needs to be created with an appointed civilian Police Commissioner.
A national search for a Police Commissioner and Chief of Police needs to be conducted.
A Police Commissioner and Chief with extensive and proven leadership in managing a municipal police department must be hired, not political operatives like Gordon Eden.
The civilian Police Commissioner would assume primary responsibility for implementation of all the DOJ-mandated reforms and only be removed for cause by the Mayor.
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 his or her duties.
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 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.
The APD Internal Affairs Unit would be abolished.
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.
APD needs to “triple down” on recruitment and dramatically increase the size and number of police academy classes per year.
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, violent crime will continue to rise and Albuquerque will continue to see dramatic spikes in crime.