Why Does This Sound So Familiar?


Mayoral candidate Tim Keller released a detailed crime fighting plan in this Albuquerque Free Press article.

Much of what he proposes sounds very familiar and I agree with it.

Keller’s plan contains much of what I have been proposing for three (3) years.

On July 14, 2017 I published my blog article “A Plan To Reform and Restructure APD: Appoint Police Commissioner and Abolish APD Internal Affairs” at www.PeteDinelli.com.

My plan was also reported by the ALB Free Press on July 14, 2017 with the headline “Dinelli Plan For Reforming APD”.

On May 25, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A-7, published my guest commentary entitled “APD is going in the wrong direction on reform; Latest federal report shows an out-of-control department that desperately needs new leadership” making the proposal that a Special Master needs to be appointed.

My proposal calls for the appointment of a civilian Public Safety Commissioner and creation of a Department of Public Safety.

I formulated my plan when the Department of Justice found a “culture of aggression” within APD and when the city negotiated the consent decree.

Three years ago, I gave the plan to a few of the Albuquerque City Councillors.

The City Councilors I met with told me they could not do anything and Albuquerque would have to wait for the election of a new Mayor which was their way of saying they did not have the political backbone to act.

My plan was also given to Federal Monitor James Ginger.

I recall vividly my conversations with Federal Monitor James Ginger three years ago wherein he expressed significant interest in the appointment of a civilian police commissioner to assume control of APD to implement the DOJ reforms.

Dr. Ginger said that eventually APD may get to the point that a special master may need to be appointed to take over APD, but it was not his job to recommend it.

The biggest difference is that my plan abolishes the APD Internal Affairs and have those functions assumed by the City’s Inspector General and Internal Audit with the Department of Human Services to handle the functions of Internal Affairs.

APD has proven repeatedly that it cannot police itself.

The current command staff is not committed to the DOJ reforms.

The Federal Monitor has made five damaging reports and findings that APD is not committed to the mandated reforms justifying the appointment of a Special Master to take over APD, which is not likely, or the removal and replacement of the entire command staff of APD.

More must be done to aggressively implement the DOJ reforms, solve the staffing shortages and address APD’s leadership crisis.

Dramatic, sweeping changes with a new approach to APD management is in order.

Following is the condensed version of my plan to restructure and reform APD:


Upon being sworn in, the new Mayor needs to seek a hearing with the Federal Court, the Federal Court Appointed Monitor, the United States Department of Justice, the United States Attorney and City Attorney and the Chief of Police to outline all changes to be made to APD and seek a court order approving modifications to the consent decree if needed and seek restructuring of APD in order to continue with the implementation of the DOJ mandated reforms.

The entire APD chain of command must be removed and replaced with a new generation of leadership and not from within the ranks of APD.

The command staff who created, contributed or who did not stop the “culture of aggression” need to be replaced.

A national search must be conducted to identify and hire a new management team to take over APD, including a new Chief of Police, new Deputy Chiefs and a new chain of command to assume control of APD.

The City Council by ordinance needs to create a Department of Public Safety, which would overtime include both the Police and Fire Departments, both Police and Fire Academies, and 911 emergency dispatch center, the emergency operations center with the appointment of a Public Safety Commissioner.

Until the creation of the Public Safety Department, a Police Commissioner needs to be appointed immediately to assume civilian control of APD.

The Police Commissioner would be appointed by the Mayor with advice and consent of the City Council.

The Chief of Police would be appointed by the Police Commissioner but serve at the pleasure of the Mayor with advice and consent of the City Council.

The Police Commissioner would assume direct civilian oversight, management and control of APD and could only be removed for cause and would not serve at the pleasure of the Mayor.

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.

Implementation of the DOJ consent decree reforms would include continued formulation, writing and implementation of standard operating procedure and changes agreed to under the consent decree, expansion of crisis intervention mandates and certified training of APD department personnel in constitutional policing practices.

The Police Commissioner, with support assistance from the Chief, would assume the responsibility for interacting and reporting to the Police Oversight Board and the Community Police Councils.

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 their duties.

The positions of APD Majors would be abolished and the chain of command would be streamlined where necessary.

Every single APD felony unit would be increased in personnel by anywhere between 40% and 60%, including the following APD units: Armed Robbery, Auto Theft, Burglary, Homicide, Gang Unit, Narcotics, Property Crimes and Sex Crimes Units and the Criminal Nuisance Abatement Unit.

The number of sworn police officers patrolling the streets is currently 436 and would be increased to at least 650 out of a fully staff department of 1,200.

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, tactical plans 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.

APD has consistently shown over many years it cannot police itself which contributed to the “culture of aggression” found by the Department of Justice.

The APD Internal Affairs Unit needs to be abolished and its functions absorbed by the Office Independent Council.

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.

The city needs to fund and implement a non-negotiated major hourly rate increase for entry level 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.

If necessary, the City Council needs to enact a public safety tax to pay for APD’s staffing expansion, pay incentive programs, needed training programs, DOJ-mandated reforms, equipment acquisitions and 911 emergency operations, staffing and equipment.


Every candidate for Mayor needs to articulate a clear platform on what they will do with APD.

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, crime rates will continue to rise and Albuquerque will continue to see dramatic spikes in violent crime.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.