City finances have been totally upended as a result of the corona virus pandemic and its impact on the city economy and in turn city gross receipts tax returns have dramatically declined. On March 16, 2020, the New Mexico Department of Finance, Local Government Division, issued Memorandum authorizing the New Mexico municipalities to submit their last year’s fiscal budget for 2019-2020 budget as their fiscal budget for year 2020-2021 until reliable tax revenue projections can be determined. That is exactly what the City Council did when it enacted the budget.
For this year’s fiscal year 2019-2020 which ends on June 30, 2020, APD has an approved general fund budget 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. The links to city hall budgets are here:
2020-2021 OPERATING BUDGET ENACTED
On April 13, 2020, on a unanimous vote of 9-0, the Albuquerque City Council enacted R-20-31 which is the city’s operating budget for fiscal year 2020-2021. The City Council’s operating budget, R-20-31, enacted is a “bare bones budget” resolution consisting of only 7 pages of line item appropriations for each of the city departments. There is no explanation or elaboration on the actual use of the millions appropriated in the budget. No public hearings were conducted that would have allowed comment and input from the public. The 2020-2021 APD operating budget goes into effect on July 1, 2020 and ends June 31, 2021. The City Council can still decide to follow the normal process and have the Keller Administration submit a “performance based” budget and conduct public hearings.
APD STRUCTURE AND PERSONNEL
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
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 has and where they have been assigned. This is the most recent “snapshop” available, the actual numbers may have changed. According to the report, APD has a total of 972 sworn officers with 600 officers in the field patrolling 6 area commands and neighborhoods in 3 seperate shifts. The snapshot does not account for time delays from Human Resources and Payroll that have effective dates into the futur and it does not account that APD had spring graduating class and it has been reported that it now has upwards of 1,000 sworn police.
TOTAL SWORN APD STAFFING
The staffing of APD by sworn polic officers is as follows:
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.
AREA COMMAND STAFFING LEVELS
There are 6 area commands. 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
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.
VALLEY AREA COMMAND: 67 Patrol Officers , 1 Commander, 3 Lieutenants, 6 Sergeants, 2 School Resource Officers
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.
SOUTHEAST AREA COMMAND: 89 Patrol Officers, 4 Lieutenants, 9 Sergeants, 2 School Resource Officers
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:
NORTHEAST AREA COMMAND: 78 Patrol Officers, 1 Commander, 3 Lieutenants, 8 Sergeants, 2 School Resource Officers
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:
FOOTHILLS AREA COMMAND: 57 Patrol Officers, 1 Commander, 2 Lieutenants, 8 Sergeants, 3 School Resource Officers
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:
NORTH WEST AREA COMMAND:59 Patrol Officers, 1 Commander, 3 Lieutenants, 7 Sergeants, 1 School Resource Officers
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.
OTHER BUREAU STAFFING AREAS
Following is the breakdown of staffing in the remaining bureaus and units of APD:
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 (40 Detectives, 1 Deputy Chief, 3 Commanders, 1 Deputy Commander, 6 Lieutenants, 10 Sergeants)
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.
SUPPORT SERVICES BUREAU – TOTAL STAFFING: 116 (68 Officers, 1 Deputy Chief, 2 Commanders, 8 Lieutenants, 20 Sergeants, 6 Cadets/Pre-hires)
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.
ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT BUREAU – TOTAL STAFFING: 43 (34 Officers, 1 Deputy Chief, 1 Commander, 2 Lieutenants, 4 Sergeants)
This bureau provides clerical, secretarial, administrative, budgetary preparation and grant application support to the entire APD Department.
SPECIAL OPERATIONS AND TACTICAL UNIT – TOTAL STAFFING: 30 (24 Officers, 1 Commander, 2 Lieutenants, 3 Sergeants)
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.
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: TOTAL STAFFING 16 (7 Officers, 4 Lieutenants and 5 Sergeants)
Police operations is generally defined as standard operating procedures, review of job duties, responsibilities, and activities that law enforcement agents complete in the field.
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 Metro 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.
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 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 return to community-based policing as a means to reduce the city’s high crime rates and to implement the Department of Justice mandated reforms under the CASA. 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 2020-2021 OPERATING BUDGET
Following is the 2020-2021 Albuquerque Police Department (APD) line item budget enacted by the City Council on March 16, 2020 without any budget hearings:
ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT: $18,835,000. This funding is presumably for the Administrative Support Bureau which includes case management reports, clerical staff, the forensic lab and police dispatch (911).
INVESTIGATIVE SERVICES: $45,622,000. This funding is presumably for the Investigative Bureau and various specialized detective units.
NEIGHBORHOOD POLICING: $104,730,000. The funding is presumably for the Field Services Bureau and 640 sworn police, assigned to 3 shifts and the 6 area commands for community-based policing
OFF-DUTY POLICE OVERTIME: $2,225,000. This funding is to pay for police overtime and for years the actual funding has always exceeded budget and has approached $10 to $14 Million a year.
PRISONER TRANSPORT: $2,423,000. This funding is used to transport all arrestees to the Westside Jail and presumably part of the Support Services Bureau.
PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY: $34,042,000. This funding is essentially funding for the Compliance Bureau and the 5 divisions it consists of and includes APD Academy training associated with the Department of Justice Consent Decree reforms and enforcement.
TOTAL APD OPERATING BUDGET: $207,877,000
APD REQUIRED STAFFING FOR DOJ CONSENT DECREE
According to the August 1, 2019 “Staffing Snapshot”, the Compliance Bureau has total staffing of 61 sworn police consisting of 40 Detectives, 1 Deputy Chief, 3 Commanders, 1 Deputy Commander, 6 Lieutenants, 10 Sergeants. The Professional Accountability budget line item is essentially for and the Compliance Bureaus consisting 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 and includes funding for training provided by the APD Academy for constitutional policing practices.
One of the major concentrations of the Compliance 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.
The city currently employees one Assistant City Attorney who is the former United State Attorney for New Mexico paying $150,000 and one retired Federal Magistrate billed and paid for on contract to review and write APD Policy.
ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY
The most critical functions of the Albuquerque City Council is the oversight authority over city finances, all appropriations, the job performance of the various departments and enacting a balanced budget. The oversight authority includes having public hearings on the city’s budget to allow public the opportunity to give input on how the city spends taxpayer money. Further, the budget process is critical to force all city departments to justify their budgets and to adjust department’s budgets as the need mandates it.
The City Budget is a “performance based” budget where each department prepares an analysis of accomplishments from the previous years. The statistics and accomplishment analysis are submitted to the City Council in the Mayor’s proposed budget. Normally, a massive detailed budget analysis document, called the Mayor’s Proposed Budget, is submitted along with the enabling legislation making the city budgetary appropriations. The council, acting as a committee as a whole, normally schedules and conducts hearings on each of the City Departments, but that did happen this year.
The approach to enact the 2020-2021 city budget was a dramatic departure from all previous years. The 2020-2021 city budget was sponsored by Council Isaac Benton at the request of the Keller Administration. What this means is that the 7-page line item budget resolution was actually prepared by the Keller Administration and not by City Council Services. The 2020-2021 budget year does not begin until July 1, 2020, yet the city council felt it was necessary to enact an operating budget on April 13, without any public hearings.
The City Council was essentially too damn lazy to hold any hearings on the budget enacted and refused to exercise their budgetary oversight authority and chose to ignore the general public. Not a single hearing on the APD 2020-2021 budget nor any other Department budget, was convened by the City Council. The City Council President tried to justify the council’s failure to have hearings by saying that the budget enacted was a “month to month” budget which was an outright falsehood. When you read the resolution itself, millions are appropriated to each department reflecting funding for the entire year and there is no mention of “month to month” allocations. Further, city government cannot operate on “month to month” appropriation and is mandated to operate based on a fiscal year budget and it must be a balanced budget by law with no deficit spending allowed.
The Albuquerque City Council also plays a crucial oversight role of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) including controlling its budget. Another critical responsibility of the City Council is to demand that APD be in compliance with the Department of Justice (DOJ) Court Approved Settlement Agreement mandated reforms. Each time the Federal Court appointed Monitor presented his critical reports of APD to the City Council, the City Council has essentially remained silent. Over the last 5 years, the City Council has declined to demand accountability from both Mayors and hold the APD command staff responsible for dragging their feet on the reforms.
The City Council has now enacted a $207,877,000 million dollar APD operating budget without any questions or budget hearings that includes a whopping $34,042,000 for CASA mandated functions, 61 sworn police to enforce the CASA mandates. The $207 million dollar plus APD budget ostensibly does not include the additional millions being paid to the Federal Monitor whose only function is to compile data and who has no management nor control over APD and who can not order or make changes within APD to get the department into compliance with the reforms.
The Court Approved Settlement Agreement was negotiated to be fully implemented within 4 years and after a full two years of compliance, the case is supposed to be dismissed. It has now been over 5 years and pushing 6 years since the settlement with the DOJ was negotiated. The $34 million plus line item contained in the 2020-2021 budget for Professional Accountability and the 61 sworn police assigned to enforce the CASA reforms demands a full explanation as to why complete compliance with the CASA has not been achieved by the APD command staff after a full 5 years. Without the holding of public hearings on the APD budget enacted, there is no way for the council nor the public to get a detailed explanation why the Keller Administration is still having problems with the Department of Justice Consent Decree.
The biggest complaint of all the DOJ consent decrees in the country is implementation and enforcement “go on and on” for years, costing millions in taxpayer dollars. It appears that is what happening in Albuquerque courtesy of the Albuquerque City Council. Apparently, the Albuquerque City Council is not even remotely curious as to why another $34 million dollars is needed for another one year for APD’s compliance bureau believing it’s easier to rush a budget and not do their job of oversight.
The 2020-2021 enacted operating budget goes into effect on July 1, 2020. The only decent thing to do at this point is for the City Council to go ahead and convene a few “committee of the whole meetings” and demand the Keller Administration to at least give an overview of how and where taxpayer money will be used and discuss their plans as to where the budget will be modified if at all.
For related blog articles see:
Federal Monitor Files 11th Compliance Audit Report Of APD Reforms; “Counter Casa Effect” Still Problematic; Order 100% Operational Compliance Within 6 Months Or Replace Chief Or Deputy Chiefs To Get Job Done