The Governor is seeking tougher DWI penalties, which means we are in store for another “all crime all the time” legislative session. What a joke!
(For full story see January 4, 2017 Albuquerque Journal article “Gov. seeks tougher penalties for DWI”, page A-1)
The Governor is a former District Attorney and she may have forgotten that you need to make an arrest and secure a conviction before you can impose increased sentences on anyone for breaking the law.
Someone needs to tell the Governor existing DWI laws and penalties are not being enforced and imposed at least in Albuquerque.
According to Metro Court records and statistics, DWI felony and misdemeanor arrests, arraignments and convictions are down dramatically.
In 2008, there were 633 felony DWI arraignments and the number steadily declined each year to 104 in 2015.
In 2008, there were 6,538 DWI/DUI misdemeanor arraignments and the number steadily declined each year to 2,942 in 2015.
In 2008, there were 6,538 people arraigned for misdemeanor DWI and in 2015 that number dropped by close to 60% to 2,942.
There is a direct correlation between the dramatic decline in the number of DWI arrests and arraignments and the severe decline in APD personnel.
The December 11, 2015 Albuquerque Police Department Comprehensive Staffing Assessment and Resource Study prepared by Alexander Weiss for the Department of Justice concluded that APD needs at least 1,000 sworn officers.
The Weiss report concluded that 1,000 sworn police officers were sufficient for Albuquerque provided that APD officers did not respond to certain low priority calls such as minor traffic accidents or false alarm calls.
In 2009, APD had 1,100 police officers with approximately 700 assigned to field services, patrolling our streets over three shifts.
In 2009, APD had a traffic unit and a DWI units that had upwards of 40 patrol officers and today it is at less than 10.
In 2009, APD command staff recommended that Albuquerque needed at least 1,200 sworn officers for community based policing and felony prosecutions.
The number of APD sworn officers has fallen from 1,100 officers to 850 over the past seven years.
These are the type of statistics you get when you have the Governor’s former Secretary of Public Safety Gordon Eden as our APD Chief, who is a political operative and who has no prior experience managing a municipal police department.
The silence by the press and anti-DWI advocates is deafening when it comes to reporting that DWI arrests and convictions have dropped dramatically.