APD Staffing Levels: 970 Sworn Police; 300 More Needed

The Mayor of Albuquerque, the Chief Administrative Office (CAO) for the City and the Chief of Police are the top 3 management personnel that oversees the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). The Mayor appoints the CAO and the APD Chief. There are 5 appointed Deputy Police Chiefs.

APD has an approved general fund budget for fiscal year 2019-2020 of $188.9 million dollars, which represents an increase of 10.7% or $18.3 million above last year’s budget. According to the approved budget, APD has 1,560 approved full-time positions with 1,040 sworn police budgeted positions and 520 budgeted civilian positions. You can review the entire APD approved budget here:

http://documents.cabq.gov/budget/fy-19-approved-budget.pdf (Page 209)

The Albuquerque Police Department (APD ) has five major bureaus:

1. The Field Services Bureau
2. Investigative Bureau
3. The Compliance Bureau
4. The Administrative support Bureau
5. The Support Services Bureau

Each bureau has a Deputy Chief appointed by the APD Chief of Police

APD divides the city into six geographical areas called “area commands.” Each area command is managed by an APD Commander (formerly called Captains) and staffed with between 82 and 119 officers, depending on size of the area command and level of calls for service. All officers are dispatched through the police communications operators by calling (505) 242-cops for non-emergency calls or 911 in an emergency.

APD also has 3 divisions that are separate from the other divisions and they are:

1. The Bike Patrol
2. Operations Review
3. Others

https://www.cabq.gov/police/contact-the-police/area-commands

UPDATED STAFFING REPORT

On August 1, 2019, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) issued what it entitled “Staffing Snapshot” providing a report on the number of sworn police officers APD now has and where they have been assigned. According to the report, APD as of August 1, 2019 a total of 972 sworn officers with 400 officers on the street patrolling 6 area commands and neighborhoods. The snapshot does not account for time delays from Human Resources and Payroll that have effective dates into the future.

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/apd-staffing-numbers-how-many-officers-are-in-your-neighborhood-/5449523/?cat=500

Following is the complete breakdown of sworn police assignments:

FIELD SERVICES BUREAU — TOTAL STAFFING: 600

The field service bureau’s primary function is to provide uniformed police officers throughout the city and at the six police substations and area commands. Officers assigned to field services handle calls for service and patrol the area commands in 3 separate shifts. These are the sworn police in uniform that are on the front line of law enforcement dealing with hundreds of thousands of calls for service a year. This is where the “rubber hits the road” when it comes to keeping neighborhoods safe and community-based policing.

The number of sworn officers assigned to each area command is somewhat fluid and based on the number of calls for service in the area command. Area commands with higher crime rates have always had far more officers assigned than those that have lower crime rates.

One Deputy Police Chief is appointed to oversee and manage the Field Services Bureau.

Following is a breakdown of sworn police assigned to each one of the area commands:

SOUTHWEST AREA COMMAND

The Southwest Area Command is bordered by Interstate 40 the north, the Rio Grande to the east, the South Valley to the south, and Albuquerque city limits to the west. Following is the staffing reported:

58 Patrol Officers, 1 Commander, 3 Lieutenants, 7 Sergeants

VALLEY AREA COMMAND

The Valley Area Command is bordered by the Albuquerque city limits to the north and south, Interstate 25 to the east, and the Rio Grande, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, and the North Valley to the west. This Area Command has an extensive history of having the second highest crime rates in the City. Following is the staffing reported:

67 Patrol Officers , 1 Commander, 3 Lieutenants, 6 Sergeants, 2 School Resource Officers

SOUTHEAST AREA COMMAND

The Southeast Area Command is bordered by Interstate 40 to the north, Eubank Boulevard to the east, Kirtland Air Force Base and Albuquerque city limits to the south, and Interstate 25 to the west. This Area Command has an extensive history of having the highest crime rates in the city. Following is the staffing reported:

89 Patrol Officers, 4 Lieutenants, 9 Sergeants, 2 School Resource Officers

NORTHEAST AREA COMMAND

The Northeast Area Command is bordered by Albuquerque city limits to the north, Eubank Boulevard to the east, Interstate 40 to the south, and Interstate 25 to the west. This Area Command has a more recent history of increasing crime rates in the city, especially residential break-ins and robberies. Following is the staffing reported:

78 Patrol Officers, 1 Commander, 3 Lieutenants, 8 Sergeants, 2 School Resource Officers

FOOTHILLS AREA COMMAND

The Foothills Area Command is bordered by San Antonio NE to the north, the Sandia Foothills to the east, Kirtland Air Force Base to the south, and Eubank Boulevard to the west. This Command Area has some of the lowest crime rates in the City. Following is the staffing reported:

57 Patrol Officers, 1 Commander, 2 Lieutenants, 8 Sergeants, 3 School Resource Officers

Northwest Area Command

The Northwest Area Command is bordered by Albuquerque city limits to the west and north, the west bank of the Rio Grande to the east, and Interstate 40 to the south. This Command Area has some of the lowest crime rates in the City. Following is the staffing reported:

59 Patrol Officers, 1 Commander, 3 Lieutenants, 7 Sergeants, 1 School Resource Officers

INVESTIGATIVE BUREAU – TOTAL STAFFING: 173

The Investigative Bureau consists of Criminal Investigations Division, the Special Investigations Division, Scientific Evidence Division and the Real Time Crime Center. This bureau deals primarily with the completion of felony investigations and prepares the cases, including evidence gathering and processing scientific evidence such as DNA, blood and fingerprints, for submission to prosecuting agencies, primarily the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office. Units in the bureau include homicide and auto theft. Following is the staffing reported:

142 Detectives, 1 Deputy Chief, 3 Commanders, 6 Lieutenants, 10 Sergeants

COMPLIANCE BUREAU – TOTAL STAFFING: 61

The Compliance Bureaus consists of the Internal Affairs Professional Standards Division, Policy and Procedure Division, Accountability and Oversight Division, Internal Affairs Force Division and the Behavioral Health and Crisis Intervention Section. One of the major concentrations of this bureau is the ongoing cooperation with the Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree (CASA) and its implementation of its terms and conditions. Internal Affairs deals with investigation police misconduct cases. Crisis Intervention deals with the crisis intervention teams who deal with the mentally ill. Policy and Procedures deals with the review and writing of standard operating procedures.

Following is the staffing reported:

40 Detectives, 1 Deputy Chief, 3 Commanders, 1 Deputy Commander, 6 Lieutenants, 10 Sergeants

SUPPORT SERVICES BUREAU – TOTAL STAFFING: 116

The Support Services Bureau is comprised by the Homeland Security and Special Events Division, the Metro Traffic Division, the Records Division, the APD Police Academy, and the Public Safety Districts such as the Downtown Public Safety Division. Following is the staffing reported:

68 Officers, 1 Deputy Chief, 2 Commanders, 8 Lieutenants, 20 Sergeants, 6 Cadets/Pre-hires

ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT BUREAU – TOTAL STAFFING: 43

This bureau provides clerical, secretarial, administrative, budgetary preparation and grant application support to the entire APD Department. Following is the staffing reported:

34 Officers, 1 Deputy Chief, 1 Commander, 2 Lieutenants, 4 Sergeants

SPECIAL OPERATIONS AND TACTICAL UNIT – TOTAL STAFFING: 30

This unit consists of the Special Weapons and Tactics Unit (SWAT). SWAT is trained to deal with situations of unusual danger, especially when requiring aggressive tactics or enhanced firepower, as in rescuing hostages, thwarting terrorist attacks or assassinations, and subduing heavily armed suspects. Following is the staffing reported:

24 Officers, 1 Commander, 2 Lieutenants, 3 Sergeants

BIKE PATROL- TOTAL STAFFING: 16

The bike patrol is what the name implies: Uniformed police ride on bikes an patrol the areas assigned to show a police presence such as in the Downtown Central Area, the City Plaza and Nob Hill. A total of 16 officers are assigned to the Bike Patrol.

OPERATIONS REVIEW

Police operations is generally defined as standard operating procedures, review of job duties, responsibilities, and activities that law enforcement agents complete in the field. 7 Officers, 4 Lieutenants and 5 Sergeants are reported as staffing Operations Review.

OTHER SWORN POLICE: TOTAL STAFFING 51

There are 41 APD recruits, laterals and sergeants assigned to on-the-job training.

10 sworn APD are assigned to etro Court officers to provide security to the Metropolitan Court and Mayor’s security detail that provides protection to the Mayor and security to the Mayor’s Office.

CALLS FOR SERVICE ARE OVERWHELMING

According to the 2019-2020 approved budget, in the last fiscal year APD responded to the following:

The number of calls for service was 580,238
Average response time for Priority 1 calls (immediate threat to life) was 12:26 minutes
The number of felony arrests was 9,592
The number of misdemeanor arrests was 18,442
The number of DWI arrests was 1,403
The number of domestic violence arrests was 2,356

You can review the performance measures of APD on page 211 of the budget here:

http://documents.cabq.gov/budget/fy-19-approved-budget.pdf

GROWING APD

Since Mayor Tim Keller has taken office on December 1, 2017, APD has added 116 sworn police officers to the force. APD’s goal is to spend $88 million dollars starting last year in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, over a four-year period, with 32 million dollars of recurring expenditures, to hire 322 sworn officers and expand APD from 878 sworn police officers to 1,200 officers.

The massive investment is being done in order to full fill Mayor Tim Keller’s 2017 campaign promise to increase the size of APD and return to community-based policing as a means to reduce the city’s high crime rates. Last year’s 2018-2019 fiscal year budget provided for increasing APD funding from 1,000 sworn police to 1,040. This year’s 2019-2020 fiscal year budget has funding for 1,040 sworn police.

The APD recruiting plan to grow the size of the department included the city increasing police officer hourly pay and increasing longevity incentive pay. In 2018, the Keller Administration and the APD Union negotiated and agreed to a 2-year contract. The approved contract provides that the pay rate for officers with zero to 4 years of experience went from $28 to $29 an hour.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

At first blush, the fact that APD now has 972 sworn police is very good news. What is very problematic is that only 600 of those officers are assigned to the field services and the six area commands that are dispatched and handling calls for service on a 24-hour basis. Uniformed police officers in the field services is where the “rubber hits the road. ” The sure volume of calls for service they deal on a daily basis is overwhelming.

As noted above, last year APD sworn responded to 580,238 calls for service, made 9, 592 felony arrest, made 18,442 misdemeanor arrests, made 1,403 DWI arrests and made 2,256 domestic violence arrests. The overwhelming majority of the responses and arrests were made by APD field service officers when APD had 116 fewer sworn police.

In order to have effective community policing, far more sworn police need to be in their cars and in the neighborhoods. At least 800 sworn police need to be in field services, 200 more than the 600 now assigned. A bike patrol does show police presence, but they are limited in what they can do to respond to a major call outs miles away. Having 16 officers on bikes patrolling streets and not in cars is questionable at a time there is such a shortage of field service officers.

The staffing of the investigative bureau at 173 sworn police is also very problematic. This bureau needs to be increased to at least 210 sworn police. The is the Bureau that has the Criminal Investigations Division, the Special Investigations Division and the Scientific Evidence Division. Part of the problem is once again the sure volume of felony cases such as murder, rape, violent crimes that need to be investigated. The cities felony crime rates are at unacceptable levels. Confidential sources say the Scientific Evidence Division is particularly overwhelmed with the processing of DNA evidence taking months, such as the backlog in rape kits, that can mean the difference between a conviction and a dismissal of serious felony cases.

Mayor Tim Keller has said he wants to recruit another 300 sworn police to reach his goal of 1,200 and to keep up with yearly retirements. Recruiting a younger, new generation of sworn police officers and growing the size of the police department at this point will be difficult for any number of reasons. Those reasons include:

1. APD’s poor and negative national reputation.
2. Albuquerque’s high violent crime rates are not conducive to attracting people who want to begin a long-term career in law enforcement in Albuquerque.
3. The increased dangers of being a police officer in a violent city such as Albuquerque.
4. The DOJ oversight requirements.
5. Many recruited lateral hires may also be looking to retire sooner rather than later, coming to the City to increase their high three salary to retire with a more lucrative pension and collect the longevity pay bonuses, and
6. From a personnel management standpoint, it is highly likely that many APD police officers who are eligible for retirement now have decided to stay on and continue for a few more years with APD because of the significant increases in hourly pay and longevity pay and increasing their retirement benefits but still plan on retiring in three years once they get their high 3 years of pay.

APD consistently has thousands of applicants that apply to the police academy every year. The overwhelming number of police academy applicants fail to get into the academy for any number of reasons including failing to meet minimum education and entry qualifications, unable to pass criminal background checks, unable to make it through psychological background analysis, failing the polygraph tests, lying on the on the applications or failing a credit check. Once in the police academy, many cadets are unable to meet minimum physical requirements or unable to handle the training and academic requirements to graduate from the academy and drop out.

Mayor Tim Keller and APD Chief Michael Geier and the APD command staff need to realize that APD must recruit a new generation of younger, committed police officers to start their law enforcement careers with the city who are fully trained in constitutional policing practices. Otherwise all that has been accomplished with the DOJ consent decree may have been for nothing and APD will revert back to old habits and destructive law enforcement practices costing taxpayers millions in settling civil rights and wrongful death lawsuits.

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About

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.