Defund APD And BCSO; Create ABBCO Police Authority With Civilian Governing Board And ABBCO Police Authority Commissioner

Disbanding entire police departments has happened before in the United States cities. In 2012, with crime rampant in Camden, New Jersey, the city disbanded its entire police department and replaced it with a new force that covered Camden County. Compton, California, took the same step in 2000, shifting its policing to Los Angeles County.

On Jun 15, 2020, in response to the murder of African American George Floyd by a police officer, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously passed a resolution intending to disband their police department and create a new model of public safety. The resolution states the council will start the year-long process of research and community engagement to discover a replacement. the Minneapolis 2020 budget allocated $193 million to its police department, which the resolution said was more than double the amount allocated for affordable housing and violence prevention. The city’s total adopted budget was about $1.5 billion.

The same thing needs to happen in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. It needs to done by the New Mexico Legislature with the creation of Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Police Authority (ABBCO Police Authority). If the legislature won’t to it, the Bernalillo County Commission and the City Council can do it with the negotiation of a “memorandum of understanding” or a consolidation contract. Such an action is ripe for implementation because of, and would take advantage of, the “defund the police” movement.


A Black Lives Movement is now sweeping cities across the country. It is referred to as “defund the police” and is not what it sounds like. The movement has emerged in the wake of the killing of African American George Floyd, 46, who was killed by Minneapolis police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck to subdue him. “Defund the Police” can be defined in simple terms as meaning taking funding away from police forces and invest or reallocate those funds into social programs to address the real causes of crime.

Advocates of “Defund the Police” insist that it is not about eliminating police departments or stripping police agencies of all of their money. What they do say is that it is time for the country to address systemic problems in policing in America and spend more on what communities across the United States need such as housing, education and economic development and job growth.

The “defund the police” movement can be defined in simple terms as meaning taking funding away from police forces and invest or reallocate those funds into social programs to address the real causes of crime. Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement put it this way:

Advocates of “Defund the Police” insist that it is not about eliminating police departments or stripping police agencies of all of their money. What they do say is that it is time for the country to address systemic problems in policing in America and spend more on what communities across the United States need such as housing, education and economic development and job growth.

Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, pu it this way:

“It’s not just about taking away money from the police, it’s about reinvesting those dollars into [minority] communities. Communities that have been deeply divested from, communities that, some have never felt the impact of having true resources. And so we have to reconsider what we’re resourcing. I’ve been saying we have an economy of punishment over an economy of care.”
Links to related news coverage is here:


In May 2003, the International Association of Chiefs of Police released a planning approach for the consolidation of police services. Although the report was released in 2003, it is still used by researchers as a major reference on the options available to deliver law enforcement services to communities. A few edited portions of the report are worth quoting:

“Consolidation can be an appealing idea for many reasons … . Jurisdictions undertaking consolidation activities may anticipate an outcome that will produce a higher volume of police services, lower response time, reduce overtime, duplication of effort, and lower overall operating costs. Consolidation proponents also assume increased agency status, resources, and capacity.

The quality of policing is expected to rise under consolidation as a result of more efficient and coordinated use of manpower, more flexibility to meet hours of peak demand, enhanced training opportunities, and improved management and supervision. Consolidation is especially attractive to city and county decision makers in regions … where fragmentation or redundancy in policing may be present and where fiscal challenges exist.

Opponents of consolidation fear the loss of community independence, and reduced oversight and supervision of a consolidated agency spanning several jurisdictions. Opponents also assume that the personal nature of policing in their community will be lost, that response times may not be lowered, and that costs to the smaller community may increase. Expectations versus the actual reality of consolidation outcomes may vary greatly depending upon many factors. … .


Consolidation is a matter of degree. Different variations of consolidation include:

• Functional: Two or more agencies combine certain functional units, such as emergency communications, dispatch, or records.
• Cross Deputization / Mutual Enforcement Zones / Overlapping Jurisdictions: Agencies authorize each other’s officers to pool resources and improve regional coverage, for example, permitting a city police officer to make arrests in the county and a sheriff’s deputy to make arrests in the city.
• Public Safety: City or county governments may unite all police, fire, and emergency medical services agencies under one umbrella.
• Local Merger: Two separate police agencies form a single new entity. The agencies may be in small communities or metropolitan areas.
• Regional: A number of agencies combine to police a geographic area rather than a jurisdictional one.
• Metropolitan: Two or more agencies serving overlapping jurisdictions join forces to become one agency serving an entire metropolitan area, as happened in the Toronto area.
• Government: A city and adjoining county consolidate their entire governments, creating a “metro” form of government for all citizens. No one form of consolidation is superior to others. The type selected for investigation depends on the needs, expectations, and degree of cooperation among the stakeholders in particular jurisdictions.
No one form of consolidation is superior to others. The type selected for investigation depends on the needs, expectations, and degree of cooperation among the stakeholders in particular jurisdictions.


In any community, almost all stakeholders enter into discussion of consolidation with preconceptions about the value, if any, of blending agencies; i.e., they have either a positive or negative set of expectations.

Positive expectations include:

a) the consolidated agency may have a greater capacity to respond to crime as well as greater efficiency and flexibility;
b) consolidation can possibly save money; and
c) sworn and civilian personnel may have greater opportunities for advancement

Negative preconceptions [include]:

a) senior, supervisory, and line officers alike may be threatened by consolidation and aggressively resist change;
b) consolidation is likely to increase costs, particularly because of the start-up costs of reorganization, planning, and standardizing equipment, and possible need for a new building to house the combined agencies; and
c) officers in line for promotion or advanced assignment in one agency may find they are outranked for these opportunities by their peers in the other agency.”


Large regional area agencies are a rarity. Consolidation involving the total merger of two or more police departments has proven to be problematic and have not lived up to expectations.

Outdated research from the University of Indiana (1976) suggested that there is no evidence that large departments are more effective or more efficient. But with the passage of time , this is no longer a major problem because advances in forensics, science and technology and communications system.

Another criticism of large departments is that they often lose personal contact with their communities tending to severely reduce citizen willingness to cooperate with police. In response to this, community base policing began to take hold in the 1990’s which encourages more interaction and involvement with the communities served. Decentralization of police field services in an effort to reestablish community contact became a trend. Decentralization is one of the major reasons Albuquerque has six area commands with 3 shifts of police officers known as “field services.” The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office also has 3 separate area command.

The most common approach to consolidations involves support functions, such as communications, forensic services, planning, training, and records keeping. What is very common is that larger law enforcement departments contracts to provide these services to smaller surrounding departments. The advantage of partial consolidation is that it does not seriously affecting the independence of local departments while still enabling them to benefit from a wide array of back-up services to increase their effectiveness.


When discussing any level of combining the functions of APD and BCSO, a review of both departments and how they are structured is in order. There are many similarities as well as overlap in services and duplication effort in a number of areas. There is also one single defining difference between the two law enforcement agencies. Bernalillo County is the most populous county in the State of New Mexico with approximately 750,000 residents. Bernalillo County encompasses the greater Albuquerque area. The entire area population essentially has two separate law enforcement agencies that overlap with law enforcement services. Duplication of effort is the norm and not the exception.


A quick comparison of both law enforcement departments is in order.


APD’s annual budget is $207,877,000

BCSO annual budget is $53,030,000 with a $4,509,000 Non-General fund budget.


The gross receipts tax revenues collected by the State and distributed to the City and Bernalillo County Governments are the number one funding source for essential services. The gross receipts tax rate for City of Albuquerque is 7.8750%. The gross receipts tax rate for all remaining taxing authority governments within Bernalillo County is 6.4375%.

APD is funded by the City Of Albuquerque general fund which derives its finances from gross receipts tax revenues, property taxes and general obligation bonds, with the primary source of revenue derived from city taxpayers who live, do business, work and own property within the city limits.

BCSO is funded by the Bernalillo County Commission which derives its finances from gross receipts tax revenues, property taxes and general obligation bonds, with the primary source of revenue derived from city and county taxpayers who live, work and own property, and do business in within the city and county.

City of Albuquerque resident and taxpayers are paying to fund both the APD and the BCSO, while Bernalillo County residents who do not reside in the city essentially pay only for BCSO.


APD employs 980 full time sworn police, 640 assigned to field service and the others assigned to specialized units and command staff. Total staffing with civilian is approximately 1,400.

BCSO employs 300 sworn deputies, with 121 other staffing for a total of 421


Both the APD and the BCSO main offices, housing thier respective high commands of Sheriff and Chief, are located in the same downtown office building.

APD has 6 area commands: Foothills Area Command, Northeast Area Command, Northwest Area Command, Southeast Area Command, Southwest Area Command,Valley Area Command.

BCSO has 3 area commands: The North Valley Area Command, The South Valley Area Command, The East Mountains Area Command


APD has 5 major divisions or bureaus: Field Services Bureau, Investigative Bureau, The Compliance Bureau, The Administrative Support Bureau, The Support Services Bureau.

BCSO has 3 major divisions or bureaus: BCSO Administrative Services (ASD), Criminal Investigations (CID), BCSO Field Services (FSD), Criminal Investigations (CID).


APD has 7 Detective Units: Violent Crime Unit (Armed Robbery, Homicide, Sex Crimes, Crimes Against Children), Property Crime Unit (Burglary, Auto Theft, White Collar Crimes) , Special Investigations Unit (Narcotics, Vice and Gangs), Crime Scene Investigations, Traffic Investigations (Motor Unit, DWI, Air Support), Tactical Unit (SWAT, K-9,, Mounted Horse Patrol, Bomb Squad) Training (Basic Training, Advance Training, Recruiting and Background)

BCSO has 5 Detective Units: Homicide and Violent Crimes Unit, Special Victims Unit, White Collar Crimes Unit, Auto Theft Unit, Property Crimes Unit


Following is a breakdown of APD management, funding and structure:

APD Mission Statement:

The mission of the Albuquerque Police Department is to preserve the peace and protect our community through community-oriented policing, with fairness, integrity, pride and respect.

APD Vision Statement:

The Albuquerque Police Department envisions a safe, secure community where the rights, history and culture of each citizen is valued and respected. We will achieve this vision by pro-actively collaborating with the community to identify and solve public safety concerns and improve the quality of life in Albuquerque.,%2C%20integrity%2C%20pride%20and%20respect.


The Chief of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) is appointed by the Mayor with approval of the City Council and serves at the pleasure of the Mayor. APD has 4 Deputy Chiefs who are at will employees and who are appointed by the Chief and the Chief and Deputy Chief’s in the Chain of Command also report to the Mayor.

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 with the approval of the Mayor.

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.

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.

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 separate shifts. 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

Since 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 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 Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA).


On March 16, 2020, the Albuquerque City Council enacted the 2020-2021 Albuquerque Police Department (APD) “abbreviated” line item budget 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.



Following is a breakdwon of of BCSO management, funding and structure:


The mission statement of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) includes the protection of life and property, the resolution of conflict, creating and maintaining a feeling of security in the community, pro-actively reducing the opportunities for the commission of crime, identification, apprehension and prosecution of offenders of the laws and the preservation of peace. BCSO accepts as part of its mission the responsibility to provide for a quality of life in the community.


The Bernalillo County Government has a total adjusted budget of $713.5 million for fiscal year 2019-2020. The general fund comprises 47.4% of the total adjusted budget of $713.5. The non-general fund consists of restricted funds that are used for specific purposes. Public Safety represents 31% of the total county budget consisting of Emergency Communications, Fire and Rescue, Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, and the Adult and Juvenile Detention Centers.
The link to the Bernalillo County Budget is here:

The Bernalillo County Sherriff is a New Mexico Constitution created position. The Bernalillo County Sheriff and is an elected position and allows for 2 four-year terms. The current Bernalillo County Sheriff is Sheriff Manny Gonzales. Sherriff Gonzales was unanimously appointed Sheriff on November 30th, 2009 by the Bernalillo County Commission, when the sitting Sheriff resigned and Sheriff Gonzales subsequently ran and succeeded in being elected to two terms. Sheriff Gonzales began his career on August 14th, 1989. Over the span of twenty-four years, Sheriff Gonzales served in all divisions, commands, and shifts within the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department. He worked his way through the ranks of the department and was promoted to Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain.

The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) is a “full-service law enforcement agency”, responsible for the policing of the unincorporated Bernalillo County area. The elected Bernalillo County Sheriff and the Office is included in the Bernalillo County Government budget.


The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s 2019-2020 Adjusted General Fund Budget was $53,030,000 with a $4,509,000 Non-General fund budget. According to 2019-2020 budget, the Sherriff has 421 full time positions. BCSO is staffed with just over 300 sworn law enforcement professionals.


BCSO is comprised of three major divisions, each offering a different service component of law enforcement. The divisions are:


Administrative Services (ASD) is the smallest division by work force within BCSO. The responsibility of the Administrative Services Division is widespread. Judicial Operations falls under the ASD, and they are not only responsible for the security of the District and Juvenile courthouses, but also responsible for the service of legal paperwork in regards to civil actions taken in court. In addition, the ASD oversees the BCSO academy and training divisions, including the civilian academy. ASD is also responsible for our new record management system, allowing BCSO to provide police report services to the public, separate from the Albuquerque Police Department.


Criminal Investigations (CID) is responsible for the follow up in investigations to a wide variety of crimes. It is in this division where detectives work to provide dedicated focus to solving crimes that have already occurred.

The Detective Units within CID are:

Homicide and Violent Crimes Unit
Special Victims Unit
White Collar Crimes Unit
Auto Theft Unit
Property Crimes Unit

Detectives working in CID report to their chain of command on the progress they make on their cases.


The Field Services Division (FSD) is the largest of the three divisions within BCSO. The FSD provides the type of service most typically associated with uniformed service. Deputies assigned to FSD work in various assignments including patrol, DWI Unit, Traffic Investigations Unit (Motorcycles), K-9 and School Resource Officers.

BCSO is comprised of three area commands: The North Valley Area Command, The South Valley Area Command, The East Mountains Area Command.

Each of these area commands are overseen by a Captain and provide 24-hour service to the community with squads of deputies, reporting to a Sergeant and Lieutenant on each shift. These are the deputies that respond to calls for service when you call 911 or the non-emergency number (798-7000.)


When you examine the budgets and personnel of both APD and the BCSO, it is clear they both have the same mission statement, serve essentially the same constituency that funds both departments through taxation.

The biggest difference between APD and the BCSO is the extent of civilian control and oversight they have or do not have.

The APD Chief of Police is an appointed position and appointed by the Mayor, subject to city counsel approval, the Chief serves at the pleasure of the Mayor and in turn subject to civilian oversight. The Albuquerque City Counsel reviews and approves the APD budget.

The Sheriff is an elected official on equal footing to the County Commission. The Sheriff’s Office is a stand-alone department run by an elected official with very little or no civilian oversight except the Bernalillo County Commission has authority over budget. The Bernalillo County Sheriff is not subject to the management and control of the County Manager nor the County Commission. Other than budget matters, and the County Commission cannot dictate the law enforcement priorities and policies of the Sheriff. A good example of the County Commission unable to give directives to the Sheriff is mandating the use of lapel cameras.


Proposing consolidation of Bernalillo County Government and the Albuquerque Municipal Government has been around for decades. In fact, it is controversial, has been voted on by voters and rejected by voters decades ago. Under existing law, consolidation of City and government is allowed only with voter approval and there has to be voter approval by both governments. Bernalillo County Government has consistently opposed such efforts as has Albuquerque City Hall.

It is easier to consolidate functions and services than entire governments. There has been a major success in consolidating government functions between Albuquerque and Bernalillo County that can be used as the approach to law enforcement. That success is the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWA). With an annual operating budget of more than $170 million, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority it is the largest water utility in New Mexico.

In January 2003, the New Mexico Legislature approved Senate Bill 887 which transferred the municipal Water and Wastewater Utility to the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (Water Authority). Senate Bill 887 became law in June 2003 (NMSA 1978 § 72-1-10).

In December 2003, the Water Authority, the City and County of Bernalillo entered into an operations and maintenance agreement to continue the day-to-day management of the water utility under the City. The Water Authority completed full transition of administering the water and wastewater utility in July 2007. During the 2005 New Mexico Legislative Session, Senate Bill 879 was passed which provided the Water Authority the statutory powers provided to all public water and wastewater utilities in the state.

The Water Authority has:

600 + employees
200,000 + customer accounts, representing some 606,780 water users
3,000 + miles of water supply pipeline
2,400 + miles of sewer collector pipeline
$5 billion + in assets


Throughout the country, the Black Lives Matter movement has changed dramatically how police are viewed and how law enforcement is funded and operated.

The approach taken by the New Mexico legislature creating the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Authority should be taken with defunding both the Albuquerque Police Department and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department. Assets, personnel, units, office space, area commands, emergency operations dispatching and academy training can be combined and accomplished by ordinances adopted by both the City Council and the County Commission or through a negotiated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The New Mexico Legislature can enact enabling legislation that would include a constitutional amendment abolishing the Office of Sheriff for class “A” counties (counties with populations exceeding 500,000) and mandating the creation of ABQ-County Law enforcement authority.

A permanent dedicated funding source consisting of a combination of gross receipts tax and property tax taken from Municipal and County existing taxing authority would be transferred and authorized by the legislature to the authority. Municipal and County Law Enforcement Budgets would be combined but reduced where there is duplication of services. Funding from both APD and BCSO budgets would be identified as surplus and those funds invested or reallocation of those funds into social programs to address the real causes of crime.

Personnel policies, rules, regulations, standard operating procedure and internal affairs function can be developed for the authority. Most importantly, uniform police standard operating procedures and constitutional policing training and practices would be implemented, such as mandatory use of lapel cameras and de-escalations tactics.

A police authority would be created, with civilian governing board of 5 members. The members would be the Mayor, the City Council President, the Bernalillo County Commission Chairperson, the Bernalillo County Sheriff and the Chief or Presiding Judge of the Second Judicial District, all who would serve no more than two 4 year terms. A Police Authority Commissioner would be appointed by the civilian governing board. ABBCO Commissioner would be a contracted position that could only be terminated for cause as defined in the contract with compensation established by the governing board. The Police Authority Commissioner would have the identical or combined authority as the APD Chief and Bernalillo County Sheriff to run and operate the authority.

Both the Albuquerque Police Department and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office has way to much overlap with taxpayers in the city paying for essentially two law enforcement agencies. The City and the County have essentially combined geographically. Consolidation of both law enforcement authorities is long overdue. Both law enforcement agencies can and should be combined and streamlined into one Albuquerque and Bernalillo County Regional Law Enforcement authority or an ABBCO Police Authority.

A Plan To Reform And Restructure APD: Appoint Police Commissioner and Abolish APD Internal Affairs

Create Department Of Public Safety; Abolish APD Internal Affairs; Create Salary Structure

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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.