Here is my commercial from 4 years ago and things have only gotten worse.
In 2016, Albuquerque had a 20 year high in murders.
Albuquerque has become one of the most violent cities in the Country.
In 2015, murders in Albuquerque spiked by 53%.
Since 2010, Albuquerque’s violent and property crime rates dramatically increased by 14% to 20% percent.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in 2015 Albuquerque’s violent crime rates increased by 9.2% and property crime rates increased by 11.5%.
APD officers have shot over 41 people with close to $50 million paid in police misconduct cases and excessive use of force cases.
The number of APD sworn officers has fallen from 1,100 in 2009 to 850 in 2016.
Only 430 sworn officers are assigned to field services responding to 69,000 priority one 911 emergency calls a year.
Albuquerque needs 1,200 sworn police officers to effectively return to community based policing that will reduce crime.
Yet all we get from a feckless city administration are excuses.
APD is severely understaffed and struggling to implement expansive and expensive Department of Justice (DOJ) agreed to and mandated reforms.
More must be done to aggressively implement the DOJ reforms, solve the staffing shortages and address APD’s leadership crisis.
A PROPOSED SOLUTION
The City Council by ordinance can create a Department of Public Safety with an appointed civilian Police Commissioner.
The Police Commissioner would assume direct civilian oversight, management and control of APD.
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.
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 city needs to fund and implement a non-negotiated major hourly rate increase of up to 15% to 20% percent for 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.
Until aggressive action is taken with APD and the Department of Justice mandated 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.