Mayor Berry has indeed created an APD “Frankenstein” Monster as described in the Albuquerque Free Press article by retired APD Sergeant Dan Klein.
The only thing that needs to be added is that Berry had Nine (9) Igors in the form of a feckless Albuquerque City Council to assist him during the last eight (8) years to create the monster.
As the article notes, Berry made three mistakes in 2010 he first year he was in office that started the Albuquerque in the downward spiral it has yet to recover from:
1. Berry unilaterally voided a legally signed contract with the police officers denying them 5% negotiated raises.
2. Berry got rid of retention bonuses for veteran police officers
3. Berry instituted a college requirement for new officers (but didn’t pay college wages).
These three mistakes clearly stand out as the most ruinous for police staffing.
There are other major mistakes that the Albuquerque City Council went along with and condoned.
A major mistake Berry made was the appointment of political Republican operative Darren White as Chief Public Safety Officer who implemented the three policies above as well as other policies that had a disastrous effect on moral and APD recruitment.
White wound up resigning under pressure after 16 months in office when he showed up to a traffic accident investigation involving his wife and was accused of interfering with the investigation.
The Albuquerque City Council plays a crucial oversight role of the Albuquerque Police Department including controlling APD’s entire budget.
When Mayor Berry was sworn into office on December 1, 2009 he appointed Darren White Chief Public Safety Officer and the Albuquerque City Council unanimously approved the appointment without any objection.
The same year the Berry Administration abolished the longevity program that kept experienced police officers from retiring and unilaterally decided not to pay a 5% negotiated pay raise, he also abolished the APD take home car policy for APD, eliminated sign on bonuses and mortgage down payments for new recruits.
All of Berry’s policy changes were implemented by Darren White with the City Council saying absolutely nothing at the time and not voicing any objections to the changes.
Moral within APD plummeted and the mass exodus of experienced police officers began when the longevity pay program was abolished.
On December 1, 2009 when Berry was sworn in, APD had 1,098 sworn police officers.
In eight (8) years, APD went from 1,100 sworn police to 844 all under the watchful eye of the Albuquerque City Council pretending they supported public safety.
From 2010 to 2014, the city council fully funded 1,100 positions despite the mass exodus of sworn police and the APD Police Academy’s failure to recruit and keep up with retirements.
Three years ago, the City Council voted to reduce funding from 1,100 sworn officers to 1,000 sworn officers because of the Berry Administration’s failure to recruit and keep up with retirements.
As of today APD employs 854 sworn officers with only 436 sworn police assigned to field services handling approximately 69,000 priority one calls a year.
In 2016, field service officers responded to 546,550 calls for service with a priority 1 response time of 11 minutes, 35 seconds which is approximately two minutes over the national standard.
In 2016, APD made 8,744 felony arrests, 19,857 misdemeanor arrests, 1,070 DWI arrests, and 2,462 domestic violence arrests.
Over the last eight (8) years, City Council has done little next to nothing about APD management, not even when the Department of Justice (DOJ) found a ”culture of aggression” that lead to a federal consent decree and mandated reforms.
The Albuquerque City Council has done nothing to challenge the APD command staff in any meaningful way demanding compliance with the Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree reforms.
Each time the Federal Monitor has presented his critical reports of APD to the City Councilor, the City Council has essentially remained silent and declined to demand accountability in any meaningful way from the Mayor and hold the APD command staff responsible for dragging their feet on the reforms, let alone staffing levels.
Mayor Berry may have created the APD Frankenstein but he had a lot of help from all nine of the Igors on the Albuquerque City Counsel.