On Thursday, May 16, 2019, Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis held a press conference. Councilor Davis was photo graphed behind a podium in front of the Triangle Substation, he was all alone at the podium with two cops standing 5 feet or more away from him with new bicycles and helmets. No other city official was in attendance to announce spending of $6,000 to purchase 6 new bikes for five APD bike officers, a sergeant and a lieutenant so they can patrol Nob Hill on bikes.
According to Pat Davis, the “bike patrol” is a new crime-fighting tool for the southeast area of town and the initiative includes an increase in bike patrols to Albuquerque Police’s Southeast Area Command Problem Response Team. Davis proclaimed during his press conference:
“I’m proud to help our officers put their community policing training to work for our neighborhoods. … Having Officers with the ability to get out of their cars and closer to residents and businesses makes APD more visible and reinforces our community policing vision.”
TWO WEEKS EARLIER
On May 3, 2019, Albuquerque City Councilors Isaac Benton, Pat Davis, Klarissa Peña and Ken Sanchez held a press conference to announce public safety initiatives for Nob Hill. The 4 City Councilors announced their proposal to invest up to $1.5 million in specific Central corridor for “public safety” initiatives and marketing measures for fiscal year 2020. Included is $500,000 in one-time funding for grants to nonprofit business associations and merchant groups along the central corridor.
Many business owners along the Central Corridor where the ART Bus project was constructed have complained about repeated vandalism in the area, break-ins resulting in the businesses having to spend money on expensive repairs and even security measures. Other Nob Hill business owners have expressed mounting frustration, fear and anger struggling to recover from the 18 months of Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) construction.
ONE WEEK EARLIER
On Friday, May 10, 2019, in reaction to the murder of 21-year-old Jackson Weller, Mayor Tim Keller, APD Chief Michael Geier, UNM President Garnett Stokes, 2nd Judicial District Attorney Raúl Torrez held a joint press conference to announce initiatives aimed at making the Nob Hill Business District safer and reducing violent crime up and down the Central corridor. City Councilor Pat Davis attended the press conference held in his City Council District, but he did not speak.
The initiatives announced at the May 10 press conference include:
1. Assigning an additional 50 New Mexico State Police officers from across the state to work out of Albuquerque. Seven NM sate police officers already work here which will bring the number up to 57. 2. Giving UNM police access to the substation and having them coordinate patrols with Albuquerque Police Department officers.
3. Expanding the hours of the Triangle Community Substation on Central and Dartmouth until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays after bars close.
4. Stationing three bike patrol teams to work in Nob Hill during the day and three or four additional officers to patrol on Friday and Saturday nights.
5. Working with the Fire Marshal and the New Mexico Registration and Licensing Department to crack down on issues relating to overcrowding and over-serving in bars that could contribute to late night violence.
6. Using the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network to match casings to guns used in shootings throughout the state.
A FEW HOURS LATER
Within a matter of hours after Pat Davis’ May 16, 2019 press conference, and 6 days after the governor sent 50 additional New Mexico State Police officers to Albuquerque to help local police fight crime, two of those state police officers fired their weapons in separate incidents in Albuquerque. The shootings were unrelated, but both started with attempted traffic stops in different areas of Albuquerque, one in the southwest part of the city and the other in the northeast.
Both officer-involved shootings occurred in the evening an hour apart. No officers were injured in either shooting, but one officer hurt his shoulder when his vehicle collided with a civilian vehicle during a “hot pursuit”. State Police Officials said one suspect was shot in the shoulder and said they were still searching for others who escaped after the second shooting.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
What is clear from the two officer involved shootings the same day as the Pat Davis press conference, bike patrols are not going to cut it when your dealing with Albuquerque’s violent crime and murder rates. Bike patrols are effective when you want some extent of police presence for community-based policing, but bike patrols are a serious waste of resources when dealing with violent crimes and criminal investigations.
Every APD sworn police officer is given a fully equipped $45,000 plus take-home vehicle with a secured back area to transport arrested suspects.
Pat Davis is not one to ever shy away from a TV news camera to take credit for any action in his City Council District. Pat Davis did not announce his Nob Hill Bike Patrols at the May 10, 2019 press conference with Mayor Keller and DA Torrez even though it would have been totally appropriate and timely to do so, but he no doubt knew that he was going to have his own press conference six days later so he could take all the credit for the Nob Hill Bike patrols.
Hopefully the bikes Pat Davis had purchased come equipped with “bungy cords” to strap arrested defendants to take them to jail after a “hot pursuit”.
Pat Davis is running to get elected again to the Albuquerque City Council. Davis has only one opponent: Gina Naomi Dennis, a progressive Democrat and a Bernie Sanders delegate two years ago.
You can contact City Clerk Katy Duhigg at (505) 924-3650 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on the November 5, 2019 municipal election.