On November 20, it was reported that the homicide count in Albuquerque for this year so far is at 72, matching the city’s record in 2017. Before 2017, the last time the City had the highest number of homicides in one year was in 1996 with 70 murders in one year.
This blog article is an in-depth report on the efforts of Mayor Tim Keller and APD to reduce the city’s violent crime and murder rates, review of his programs, APD personnel, the effects of the Department of Justice mandated reforms and what should be done to reduce the city’s violent crime rates.
“Violence Intervention Plan”
On November 22, Mayor Tim Keller announced what he called a “new initiative” to target violent offenders called “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP). The VIP initiative is in response to the city’s recent murders resulting in the city tying the all-time record of homicides at 72 in one year. Mayor Keller proclaimed the VIP is a “partnership system” that includes law enforcement, prosecutors and social service and community provides to reduce violent crime.
According to Mayor Keller:
“This is a first-of-its kind program for Albuquerque that pairs law enforcement and public health working together to put the drivers of violent crime behind bars while creating paths away from violence for those who are not yet drawn into the cycle of violence or are looking for a way out. Our partners in the program include the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General, Bernalillo County District Attorney, New Mexico State Police, Probation and Parole, ATF, DEA, FBI, US Marshal, US Attorney, Family & Community Services, Bernalillo County Community Health Council and more.”
Mayor Keller acknowledged the “VIP” program is modelled after other such programs in other cities and that APD has been working on the program since spring. According to Keller, in other cities, it has brought down violent crime rates by as much as 10%.
Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair for her part said that APD started their research at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and visited Oakland, which has implemented “Operation Ceasefire”, a data driven crime fighting strategy to coordinate law enforcement, social services and the community to reduce gun and gang violence. According to Nair, the city’s VIP program will be looking at Domestic Violence and said:
“There is a big component of gang violence here but if we focus on that we’re not going to change. We need to make it broader than that.”
VIP FOUR MAJOR AREAS OF CONCENTRATION
During the November 22 press conference, Keller outlined 4 major components of the VIP program:
APD will be “restructured” to create a first-of-its-kind “Violence Intervention Division” with its own Commander. The division is designed to make cross-functional partnership as productive as possible. The goal is to remove the barriers between investigative units, increase coordination among field officers, violent crime, undercover detectives, the intelligence unit, forensic techs, crime analysts and victim advocates to fight violent crime. Law enforcement partners on the program include the State Police, Probation and Parole, ATF, DEA, FBI, US Marshal and Homeland Security. (EDITORS NOTE: There is absolutely nothing new about this component of VIP. It is standard practice for all of these agencies to coordinate their activities and many times participate in joint initiatives depending on funding for tactical plans.)
Prosecutors from all systems including the Attorney General, District Attorney, US Attorney and Office of Superintendent of Insurance will collaborate to share information and make sure cases are going to the appropriate teams and courts. Prosecutors and law enforcement partners will also work with analysts from APD’s Real Time Crime Center and the NIBIN and Gun Violence Reduction Units to review shooting incidents on a bi-weekly basis. (EDITORS NOTE: There is absolutely nothing new about this component of VIP. The most recent example is the very successful coordinated auto theft initiative with APD, BCSO, the State Police, the Superintendent of Insurance and the DA’s Office to combat auto thefts.)
The City has always funded social services aimed at violence reduction. However, for the first time Family and Community Services is specifically working with the community to identify the most effective evidence-based violence reduction strategies, and requiring providers to work together in the Violence Intervention Program. The administration created a Deputy Director of Health position held by a clinical social worker.
The City will reach out to community partners, including the Bernalillo County Community Health Council, that are dealing with the causes and effects of violent crime to work together on this program. A technical advisor will lead partnership-based violence reduction efforts to improve police-community trust and sustain the strategy over time.”
KELLER TO ASK FOR $30 MILLION FROM STATE
During a previous press conference held on November 19, Mayor Keller announced that he plans on asking New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico State Legislature for $30 million in funding during the upcoming 2020 legislative session to “modernize” APD. Keller said $20 million dollars of that will go to changing the way police file reports and produce crime stats and how they connect all the crime-fighting data into one. Keller said:
“We’re dealing with systems that are decades old and older. It’s a situation that is holding back everything that we are trying to do as a department. It’s essentially a deferred investment that I wish we would have made a decade ago and that we have to make now.”
The other $10 million would go to the city’s new violence intervention program.
KELLER’S “VIP”INITIATIVE ANOTHER DATA ORIENTED PROGRAM
If much of the VIP initiative sounds familiar, it should. This is the third time in 9 months that Mayor Keller has announced a “new program” to combat violent crime that is data oriented. The other two programs are the “Shield Unit” and declaring violent crime “public health” issue.
THE SHIELD UNIT
In February 2018 the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) created the “Shield Unit”. The Shield Unit assists APD Police Officers to prepare cases for trial and prosecution by the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office. The unit originally consisted of 3 para legals. It was announced that it is was expanded to 12 under the 2019-2020 city budget that took effect July 1, 2019.
According to a June 6, 2019 press release issued by the city expanding the Shield Program:
“In addition to providing police reports [to the DA’s office], the unit orders and provides the audio from 911 calls and dispatch logs, all reports and dispatch records mentioned in any report, all documents referenced, copies of any photos/CDs/DVDs/USBs which are tagged into evidence, and copies of any items tagged into evidence which can be copied, … They often contact businesses for any surveillance video of events, and receipts for damage which occurred. All of this together provides the DA with a solid case to prosecute.”
The city press release proclaimed that throughout 2018, the Shield Unit provided discovery documents for 2,871 felony cases and in 2019 it has provided discovery for 2,787 felony cases. The Shield Unit works on felony cases for officers across the department, except in cases involving homicide, vehicular homicide, gangs and vice. The unit is expected to work on discovery for about 6,000 cases by the end of the year.
According to a Bernalillo County Criminal Justice study:
“Since the [Shield Unit] … began work, the … new felonies successfully indicted by the … [2nd Judicial District Attorney Office] increased from 50% to 80%, a statistically significant increase … It is highly likely that some of this success is attributable to the work of the APD [Shield Unit], although improvement or changes in other processes could also have contributed. “
DECLARING VIOLENT CRIME “PUBLIC HEALTH” ISSUE
On April 8, 2019, Mayor Keller and APD announced efforts that will deal with “violent crime” in the context of it being a “public health issue” and dealing with crimes involving guns in an effort to bring down violent crime in Albuquerque. Mayor Keller and APD argue that gun violence is a “public health issue” because gun violence incidents have lasting adverse effects on children and others in the community that leads to further problems.
APD is tracking violent crime relying on the same methods used to track auto thefts, weekly reports summarizing shootings, refining policies, and learning from best practices used by other law enforcement agencies. One goal is for APD to examine how guns are driving other crimes, such as domestic violence and drug addiction.
The data gathering data highlights of the initiative includes:
1.Using data from APD’s Real Time Crime Center to focus on areas with a heavy concentration of gun violence and identify any patterns.
2. Implementing a standardized shooting response protocol that police must follow within the first 72 hours of a reported crime. APD intends to collect and test all casings at shooting scenes and intends to purchase new equipment and technology that can assist detectives in investigating gun crimes.
3. Increasing the use of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network and the Problem Response Teams. The National Integrated Ballistic Information Network program is used to identify which guns have been used in multiple crimes by analyzing all casings they can find at violent crime scenes where a firearm has been discharged.
4. Hire additional personnel for the crime lab and securing technology that will increase efficiency around DNA testing including automating the entire unit. The unit that tests DNA and the unit that tests latent fingerprints will be split in an attempt to reduce a backlog of evidence that needs to be tested.
5. Forming units of officers called Problem Response Teams in each area command. The Problem Response Teams will be made up of officers who don’t take calls for service but will be available to help community members as they need it. After a violent crime, the teams, along with Albuquerque Fire Rescue, will visit the neighborhood and provide resources or information.
6. Forming units of officers called Problem Response Teams in each area command. The Problem Response Teams will be made up of officers who don’t take calls for service but will be available to help community members as they need it. After a violent crime, the teams, along with Albuquerque Fire Rescue, will visit the neighborhood and provide resources or information.
7. Working with agencies and universities to conduct research on gun violence as a public health issue.
OAKLAND’S OPERATION CEASEFIRE MODEL USED FOR VIP
Oakland’s Operation Ceasefire is the model that the city is utilizing for Keller’s new VIP program. Oakland’s Operation Ceasefire began in spring of 2012. That year in Oakland there were 164 homicides but the number of homicides decreased the following year and the downward trend has continued.
During the press conference announcing the VIP program, CAO Sarita Nair had this to say:
“How fast it works is important, how long it lasts is more important. We really feel like this program can break an inter-generational cycle of violence so that the next time there’s a budget contraction and someone makes difficult decisions about police staffing it’s not going to have the effect it had here because we were not looking at the underlying factors of crime.”
Last Spring, the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office (DA) began working on its own version “Operation Ceasefire” to target the most violent individuals. Its Crime Strategies Unit has been tracking all shootings with injury and looking at gang or group affiliations of offenders and victims in order to identify patterns to disrupt them and to prosecute. Notwithstanding the DA’s “Operation Ceasefire”, nothing was discussed at the November 22 press conference on the success of the program.
SUCCESS OF AGGRESSIVE TACTICAL PLANS UNDISPUTED
During the November 22 news conference, Mayor Keller and CAO Sarita Nair referred to other law enforcement agencies and had representatives from a few, including the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office. However, nothing was discussed as to what those agencies have done to be proven and effective in dealing with crime, and that is the proven success of tactical plans.
STATE POLICE METRO SURGE OPERATION
On Friday, May 10, 2019, in reaction to the murder of a 21-year-old college student, 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. At the time of the murder of the college student, there had been 26 homicides in Albuquerque.
The initiatives announced at the May 10 press conference included announcing that Governor Mitchell Lujan Grisham assigned an additional 50 New Mexico State Police officers from across the state to work out of Albuquerque to help reduce violent crime. By all accounts, the surge was a resounding success. On May 23, 2019, it was announced that the NM State Police arrested more than 450 people in two weeks with at least 100 of those arrests involve felonies, and more than 300 misdemeanors.
BERNALILLO COUNTY SHERIFF MANNY GONZALES TACTICAL OPERATION
On September 6, Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales announced the results of a one-day operation by Bernalillo County Sheriff’s (BCSO) deputies in southeast Albuquerque. The BCSO operation was spearheaded by the Gang Recognition and Intelligence Patrol and resulted in 8 gang related charges.
The sheriff’s department focused on the Nob Hill and Highlands neighborhoods. The Sheriff’s initiative included 30-35 deputies patrolling the Highland area. According to Sheriff Gonzalez the action was conducted after requests from business owners with HUB 66 (Highland Unified Businesses) who had been having problems with people living on or defecating on their property, doing drugs, committing misdemeanor offenses and experiencing mental health crises.
In total, Sheriff Deputies made 51 felony arrests and 25 misdemeanor arrests. They also collected 45 pounds of meth and 3 pounds of heroin.
At a press conference Sheriff Manny Gonzales said pulling dangerous people off the streets is easier when citizens have a connection with law enforcement, something the Sheriff said he is doing by building a new partnership with the local business coalition and said:
“If we empower them with the resources that we have, then we’re gonna be able to make strides that we’ve never made before. ”
City officials previously said they feel it’s important for BCSO deputies patrolling in Albuquerque to follow the same policies the police department had agreed to under the federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement, particularly those regarding pursuits, use of lapel or dashboard cameras, and use of force.
Gonzales said he had no intention of ever ordering his deputies to follow the federally approved policies while patrolling in city limits by saying:
“We have independent officers; we don’t follow their [APD] policies. … Why would we comply with something that doesn’t allow us to totally execute all our constitutional powers? This is an office of the people, and they want to be protected. We have an obligation to protect their property, lives and rights and we’re going to exercise that.”
Sheriff Gonzales has made it known he intends to continue with similar tactical plans throughout the city.
GOVERNOR CREATES FUGITIVE APPREHENSION UNIT
On October 30, 2019, in part because of the success of the New Mexico State Police surge in Albuquerque in May, which resulted in 738 arrests for felony or misdemeanor warrants, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered the creation of the “Fugitive Apprehension Unit” to apprehend hundreds of criminal defendant’s across New Mexico who have not shown up for court hearings or wanted on bench warrants. The Fugitive Apprehension Unit consists of State Police officers and state Corrections Department staffers. The unit will work with local law enforcement officials around New Mexico to track down and arrest people charged with committing violent crimes. According to the New Mexico Administrative Office of the District Attorneys, there are more than 1,600 outstanding bench warrants for people charged with violent crimes.
EFFECT OF DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE CONSENT DECREE ON APD
It has now been a full 5 years has expired since the city entered into the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) with the Department of Justice (DOJ). New “use of force” and “use of deadly force” policies were written and implemented with all APD sworn receiving training on the policies. All APD sworn have received at least 40 hours crisis management intervention training. APD has created a “Use of Force Review Board” that oversees all internal affairs investigations of use of force and deadly force.
Sweeping changes ranging from APD’s SWAT team protocols, to banning chokeholds, to auditing the use of every Taser carried by officers and have been completed. “Constitutional policing” practices and methods as well as mandatory crisis intervention techniques and de-escalation tactics with the mentally ill have now been implemented at the APD Police Academy with all sworn also having received the training. APD has adopted a new system to hold officers and supervisors accountable for all use of force incidents. Personnel procedures have been implemented detailing how use of force cases are investigated. APD has also revised and updated its policies on the mandatory use of lapel cameras by all sworn police officers.
APD’s is spending $88 million dollars beginning 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 and to comply with the DOJ consent decree mandated reforms. 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.
APD COMPLIANCE BUREAU
The DOJ consent decree resulted in the creation of a Compliance Bureau. The APD 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 the 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 the 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.
On August 1, 2019, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) issued a “Staffing Snapshot” that reported the extent of resources and personnel dedicated to implementation of the Department of Justice (DOJ) mandated reforms under the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) with APD’s Compliance Bureau. According to the staffing report the Compliance Bureau has assigned to it 1 Deputy Chief, 3 Commanders, 1 Deputy Commander, 6 Lieutenants, 10 Sergeants and 40 Detectives for a total of 61 which is 6.28% of the department sworn police officers. Confidential APD sources are reporting that the actual number of sworn police officers assigned to the compliance bureau is now at 70 sworn police.
According to the staffing report, APD as of August 1, 2019 has a total of 972 sworn officers with only 600 officers are assigned to the field services patrolling 6 area commands and neighborhoods. At least 800 sworn police need to be assigned to field services for effective community-based policing. You can view the APD staffing breakdown here:
OBJECTIVES, SPIRIT AND INTENT OF CASA ACHIEVED
From all appearances, and from review of all the Federal Monitor’s reports, the City and APD have completed the following mandated reforms under the federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement:
1. The new “use of force” and “use of deadly force” policies have been written, implemented. All APD sworn have received training on the policies.
2. All sworn have received at least 40 hours crisis management intervention training.
3. APD has created a “Use of Force Review Board” that oversees all internal affairs investigations of use of force and deadly force.
4. The Internal Affairs Unit has been divided into two sections, one dealing with general complaints and the other dealing with use of force incidents.
5. Sweeping changes ranging from APD’s SWAT team protocols, to banning chokeholds, to auditing the use of every Taser carried by officers and re writing and implementation in new use of force and deadly force policies have been completed.
6. “Constitutional policing” practices and methods as well as mandatory crisis intervention techniques and de-escalation tactics with the mentally ill have now been implemented at the APD Police Academy with all sworn also having received the training.
7. APD has adopted a new system to hold officers and supervisors accountable for all use of force incidents with personnel procedures implemented detailing how use of force cases are investigated.
8. APD has revised and updated its policies on the mandatory use of lapel cameras by all sworn police officers.
9. The Repeat Offenders Project, known as ROP, has been abolished.
10. Police Oversight Board has been created, funded, fully staffed and a director has hired been hired and his contract renewed.
11. The Community Policing Counsels have been created in all area command and the counsels meet monthly.
12. The Mental Health Advisory Committee has been implemented.
13. The CASA identified that APD was severely understaffed. APD has gone from 850 sworn police to now 980 and intends to add an additional 300.
14. The federal monitors 10th report issued on November 1, reported APD met 100% of CASA-established primary compliance requirements during the reporting period. Secondary compliance rates (training) were reported at 81%, up from 79% and overall compliance rates are at 63%, the same as the 9th audit report.
APD 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 600 officers in the field patrolling 6 area commands and neighborhoods.
Following a breakdown of sworn police assignments in major areas:
TOTAL STAFFING FOR FIELD SERVICES BUREAU: 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. This is where the “rubber hits the road” when it comes to keeping neighborhoods safe and community-based policing.
Following is a breakdown of sworn police assigned to each one of the area commands:
SOUTHWEST AREA COMMAND: 58 Patrol Officers, 1 Commander, 3 Lieutenants, 7 Sergeants
VALLEY AREA COMMAND: 67 Patrol Officers , 1 Commander, 3 Lieutenants, 6 Sergeants, 2 School Resource Officers
SOUTHEAST AREA COMMAND: 89 Patrol Officers, 4 Lieutenants, 9 Sergeants, 2 School Resource Officers
NORTHEAST AREA COMMAND: 78 Patrol Officers, 1 Commander, 3 Lieutenants, 8 Sergeants, 2 School Resource Officers
FOOTHILLS AREA COMMAND: 57 Patrol Officers, 1 Commander, 2 Lieutenants, 8 Sergeants, 3 School Resource Officers
Northwest Area Command: 59 Patrol Officers, 1 Commander, 3 Lieutenants, 7 Sergeants, 1 School Resource Officers
TOTAL STAFFING FOR INVESTIGATIVE BUREAU: 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.
The breakdown of the 173 sworn assigned to the Investigations bureau is 142 Detectives, 1 Deputy Chief, 3 Commanders, 6 Lieutenants, 10 Sergeants. The homicide unit is part of the Investigations bureau and it has 11 detectives assigned to the unit.
TOTAL STAFFING FOR SPECIAL OPERATIONS AND TACTICAL UNIT: 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
COMPLIANCE BUREAU: 61 (1 Deputy Chief, 3 Commanders, 1 Deputy Commander, 6 Lieutenants, 10 Sergeants and 40 Detectives)
TOTAL STAFFING FOR BIKE PATROL: 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.
A VIOLENT CARJACKING
On November 22, the very morning of the same day Mayor Tim Keller announced his “Violence Intervention Plan”, a Sandia High School 17-year-old was the victim of a carjacking at gunpoint outside his home driveway. The crime was caught on a surveillance camera. The video shows a masked man walking over with his gun drawn and his laser sight flashing across the 17-year old’s chest. According to the 17-year-old “I saw a dark figure and I noticed he had a gun so I put my hands up” and handed over the keys. The boy ran inside the home to tell his father as the suspect began to take off. The boy’s father said he bolted outside and the suspect was backing out of the driveway. You can view surveillance video in the Channel 7 report here:
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
If the surveillance video of the carjacking does not give you chills, nothing will. The 11-year-old sister of the victim crying in the Channel 7 story really says it all. For the last 10 years, our city hall leaders, including Mayor Berry and now Mayor Keller and City Councils have failed and now the city has tied its all-time record of 72 murders in one year. It is lucky the 17-year-old had enough sense just to give the asshole with a gun the keys instead of resisting, or he would have been our 73 murder of the year. Mayor Keller really needs to think about another reorganization of APD to get more cops on the street to patrol the neighborhoods and order aggressive tactical plans.
Albuquerque is not Oakland. APD is under a federal court consent decree after the Department of Justice found a culture of aggression within APD. Both Keller and Nair failed to even acknowledge the resource drain of personnel the federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) is having on APD. But then again, they probably identify with the Federal Court Monitor and his penchant for auditing and collecting data with no end in sight.
Collecting and sharing data, data, and more data is what Keller’s VIP program, the Shield Unit program, and declaring violent crime “public health” issue really amount up to. It is exactly what one would expect from a former New Mexico State Auditor as well as a Chief Administrative Office who came from the auditor’s office in Santa Fe with both having no background in law enforcement practices, such as law enforcement tactical plans (TACT plans).
What is very concerning for voters is that all the increases in APD budget and personnel and increases and new programs at APD are not having any effect on bringing down the violent crime and murder rates. Do not expect Keller’s VIP program to be any different. It is no longer an issue of not having the money, personnel nor resources but it is a failed personnel resource management issue.
Mayor Keller has been given everything he has wanted for public safety and then some. Keller is now asking for yet $30 million more from the Governor and the New Mexico legislature to “modernize” the police department. The request is being made 18 months after he signed into law a gross receipt increase enacted by the city council that raised taxes by $55 million a year and breaking his promise not to raise taxes, even for public safety, without a public vote.
ORDER AGGRESSIVE, SUSTAINED TACTICAL PLANS
Mayor Keller and APD have initiated programs such as declaring violent crime a “public health” issue, the Shield Unit and now the VIP program in an effort to bring down violent crime rates and gun violence. It’ painfully obvious with 72 murders this year and counting, Keller’s policies and his APD have not had much of an effect. As the shootings, assaults and killings continue to rise, Keller is focused on the gun violence and the city’s murder rates.
Keller is probably realizing that after 2 years in office that governing and reducing violent crime rates will take more than his trademark grin, condolences, press conferences, “nuance programs”, data collection and even more promises to get results. What it will take are very aggressive, sustained law enforcement tactical plans (TACT plans) resulting in actual arrests and prosecutions targeting violent repeat offenders, gangs, drug dealers, repeat property crime. Neighborhood patrols and TACT plans are in order.
The State Police Metro Surge, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department South East Heights initiative and the Governor’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit are the best examples of how successful sustained actions can have to “take back the city” from violent offenders. Law enforcement must act and not just collect piles and piles of data hoping things will get better, which is what Keller’s programs are all about.
REORGANIZE APD AT MIDTERM; SEEK CASA DISMISSAL
At Keller’s midterm, what is also in order is another reorganization APD because what APD is doing now is simply not cutting it nor getting the job done when it comes to violent crime. If the APD command staff Keller handpicked are not getting the job done bringing down violent crime, personnel changes are in order, including asking for more than a few resignations, starting with the APD command staff he picked. The reorganization would include increasing the number of sworn to the field to patrol the streets and increasing the various units, such as the homicide unit and the investigations unit.
The re organization would also include abolishing the APD Internal Affairs Unit with its functions absorbed by other civilian departments. The investigation of police misconduct cases including excessive use of force cases not resulting in death or serious bodily harm should be done by “civilian” personnel investigators, not sworn police. The function and responsibility for investigating police misconduct cases and violations of personnel policy and procedures by police should be assumed by the Office of the Inspector General in conjunction with the City Human Resources Department. The Office of General Council would make findings and recommendations to the APD Chief and Police Oversight Board (POB) for implementation and imposition of disciplinary action.
With the continued implementation of the DOJ reforms, especially those reforms involving the mentally ill, the spirit and intent of the CASA has been achieved and for these reasons every effort should now be made to seek a dismissal of the federal lawsuit. The city should commence negotiations immediately with the DOJ for a stipulated “Order of Compliance and Dismissal” of the CASA, and all causes of action the DOJ has against the city and APD. Otherwise, the city and taxpayers will be sucked into “year after year” of expenses and costs associated with a consent decree whose primary objective has been achieved and whose federal monitor was given another $1.5 million dollar contract extension on top of the first $4.5 million contract.
KELLER WANTS ANOTHER TERM
Candidate Tim Keller campaigned to get elected Mayor on the platform of implementing the Department of Justice (DOJ) mandated reforms, increasing the size of APD, returning to community-based policing and a promise to bring down skyrocketing crime rates. Mayor Tim Keller has tried repeatedly to take credit for crime rates being on the decline in all categories other than violent crime offenses.
Tim Keller has already made it known he is running for a second term in 2021. Voters are very fickle and unforgiving when politicians make promises they do not or cannot keep. Sooner rather than later people demand and want results. No amount of data collection, public relations or nuance programs are going to satisfy those demands or make people feel safe. A campaign based on “Give more time and chance to do good” is not a winning strategy, especially after what Keller promised when he was running the first time and what is still happening with violent crime.
For a related past blog articles see: