The Never-Ending Saga Of Turmoil At APD With Firing Of Academy Commander; Interim APD Chief Medina Thinks Public Stupid Enough To Buy Into His BS

On Friday, October 30, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) announced it has fired Academy Commander Angela Byrd after an “outside investigation” found that she retaliated against APD Academy staff and she threatened to retaliate against cadets who reported harassment and discrimination. According to APD, both Byrd and Geier attempted to cover up reported misconduct.

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/apd-terminates-academy-commander-for-retaliation-against-whistleblowers/5911567/?cat=500

APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos had this to say in addition to the APD news release:

“The investigation sustained, or substantiated several complaints against Commander Byrd, including allegations that she retaliated against an instructor and a sergeant. … The investigation also determined Byrd spoke to cadets after learning of an anonymous email … sent to HR about discrimination. Several cadets confirmed to investigators that Byrd threatened to prevent them from graduating if the person who sent the anonymous email to HR was not identified.”

APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos also said the investigative report has not yet been finalized and that City legal will have to determine what, if anything, will be released.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1512951/apd-fires-police-academy-commander.html

Interim APD Chief Medina was quick to go out of his way and announce himself that Commander Byrd’s actions showed she lacked the integrity to move the department forward. Medina also said in the news release that former APD Chief Michael Geier reorganized the department to require Byrd to report directly to Geier, rather than a deputy chief and that Geier transferred officers out of the Academy. Medina had this to say:

“The former chief made things worse by removing accountability over the Academy, and attempting to micromanage a personnel investigation. … Geier’s decision to transfer staff who tried to do the right thing goes against the culture change we are trying to promote at APD. We’re cleaning up this mess by changing the leadership at the critical place where cadets learn to be good officers.”

BYRD LAWYERS UP

Academy Commander Angela Byrd has hired private attorney Christopher Saucedo to represent her. Saucedo for his part stated:

“[My client is] extremely disappointed and offended … At best I can say that the allegations against Cmdr. Byrd were made by extreme negligence on their part. As of now this will result in litigation.”

https://www.abqjournal.com/1512951/apd-fires-police-academy-commander.html

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Interim Chief Harold Medina is ostensibly dumb enough to think the general public is going to somehow buy into his bullshit and forget that for the past 3 years he was an APD Deputy Chief who was appointed by Mayor Tim Keller and solicited by APD Chief Geier to return to APD. The truth is Harold , Medina “wallowed” in the muck of APD and was a very big part of creating the mess he now proclaims he is trying to clean up.

With the very abrupt and un-ceremonial termination of Academy Commander Angela Byrd, by a press release no less, the ongoing saga of an APD meltdown continues at a critical time for APD. What is most disturbing is that APD saw fit to terminate someone who was being investigated with the investigation not completed and where the APD Spokesman says “City legal will have to determine what, if anything, is releasable.”

It’s very pathetic and obvious what Medina is trying to do when he says:

“Geier’s decision to transfer staff who tried to do the right thing goes against the culture change we are trying to promote at APD. We’re cleaning up this mess by changing the leadership at the critical place where cadets learn to be good officers.”

Medina knows full well that former Commander Byrd brought derogatory comments and mistreatment toward women and minorities to light and told Chief Michael Geier at the time. Medina also knows that it was Chief Geier who had to step in because of concerns that it was Deputy Chief Harold Medina and another Deputy Chief who were not doing enough. Now that Medina has pushed Geier out he is hell bent on doing whatever it takes, including re write history, to be appointed permanent Chief by Mayor Tim Keller.

Mayor Tim Keller is looking more and more inept as APD management continues to crumble around him.

State Senator Jacob Candelaria Threatened, He Then Threatens To Call Gov. MLG On NM State Cops Who Went To Investigate; Says He Wants Police Reforms; Issues Apology To State Police Officers

On Sunday, October 25, New Mexico Senator Jacob Candelaria received a series of profanity-laced telephone call voice messages left at his home in Albuquerque. The messages included homophobic slurs. Candelaria is an openly gay and married legislator and a practicing attorney. A male caller accused the Democratic State senator of not knowing what it means to be an “American”. The caller said that “we’re going to get you out one way or another.” Candelaria was born and raised in New Mexico. Candelaria took the messages as death threat.

The phone messages were left hours after Candelaria appeared in a TV newscast Saturday night to criticize as risky and irresponsible a rally in which a few hundred demonstrators gathered outside the Statehouse. The crowd were mostly without masks and were urging the governor to reopen the economy and they denounced pandemic restrictions. Campaign flags for President Donald Trump were on prominent display.

With the help from a private investigator, Candelaria traced one phone number to a man and it was discovered the caller had an outstanding arrest warrant. Candelaria and his husband become more alarmed and said in reaction to the phone messages:

“I have no idea how I can keep my family safe right now other than leave. They do not have the right to make death threats like this and have it go unaccountable.”

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/new-mexico-legislator-flees-home-after-threats-received/5905768/

STATE POLICE LAPEL CAMERA RECORDING

After listening to the recorded messages, Senator Candelaria called the New Mexico State Police to report the calls and to seek help in leaving the city and to be escorted out of the city. A full 13 hours later, 4 New Mexico State Police arrived to the residence. Ostensibly, Senator Candelaria and his husband were not aware that the last arriving State Police Officers turned on his lapel video camera and recorded the interaction. The link to the 3 minute recording is here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NmPxwRuPanPLPhNBN9z5XU4wC6dvRV3l/view

At the beginning of the video, Candelaria welcomed the officers into his home. Upon hearing from the officers that they were working on finding the man who made the threats, Candelaria became very angry and said he thought they were there to provide protection and an escort to him and his husband to a northern town for safety and that is why he had reported the threat.

During the three-minute video, Candelaria repeatedly told the state police that he was a State Senator and that he and his husband were going to leave town because they didn’t feel safe after the phone call.

When the officers first arrived, the lapel camera reveals he told the officers:

“I’m Senator Jacob Candeleria. I received a death threat last night at two o’clock in the morning. So I got a death threat. My husband and I are leaving the city of Albuquerque right now because we don’t feel safe. I don’t know what it’s going to take. It’s been thirteen hours, guys, thirteen hours.”

At one point an officer asked Candeleria to sit down and Candelaria responded tersely:

“No! I’m a senator. This senator is getting ready and leaving. I was told that you were coming to help us leave town. So, Senator Candelaria and his husband are leaving their home. If you want to watch us while we get in our car and go out and tell them to protect our lives.”

Candelaria also told the state police officers:

“You may not have respect for me, but I am a member of the Senate. I took an oath, to this day, and I don’t deserve to have my life threatened. … Please don’t talk down to me because I will get the governor, on the phone, or whoever, because I don’t understand why this is my problem.”

At one point towards the end of the lapel camera video, Candelaria played the voice message for the officers. The voice message said, in part:

“You don’t know what it means to be an American. You’re a stupid motherfucker, and we’re going to get you out one way or another. Fuck you.”

After playing the message for the officers, Senator Candelaria asked the officers:

“So is that a threat gentlemen?”

One officer replied:

“Sir, that’s how it can be interpreted”.

Upon hearing the one officer’s response, Senator Candelaria is heard telling the officers:

“Leave my house. You are asked to leave. You don’t have a warrant. You don’t have the authority to be here. Get out.”

A link to an ABQReport article is here:

https://www.abqreport.com/single-post/state-sen-threatened-to-call-gov-grisham-on-state-cops-who-came-to-help-him

SENATOR TO SEEK POLICE REFORMS

In the aftermath of the October 25 reporting to the New Mexico State Police of anonymous profanity laced threats and asking for help, Sen. Jacob Candelaria has announced that he plans on pursuing “police reforms” that will make law enforcement more responsive to threats against elected officials, including those who are vulnerable to discrimination. Senator Candelaria reported that he and his husband fled their home because of threatening phone messages after criticizing a protest against coronavirus restrictions.

Senator Candelaria now says that an adequate security plan is now in place to protect him and his husband, with support from members of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) and the New Mexico State Police (NMSP) departments. Notwithstanding the security measures, Candelaria said he is still dissatisfied with the initial response from law enforcement agencies. State Police arrived more than 12 hours after the threat was called in. Candelaria says that his lifestyle and work as an openly gay, Latino legislator who advocates for racial justice and police reforms, he and his husband are vulnerable to being threatened and harassed.

Senator Candelaria had this to say:

“Who I am as a senator, who I am as a gay man, and the political positions I take are all part of that context. As is the increase in threats of violence against Democratic and progressive elected officials by white nationalist groups. … None of those factors was taken into consideration here.”

Links to related news coverage is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1512633/threatened-nm-senator-plans-police-reforms-ex-sen-jacob-candelaria-says-state-police-arrived-12-hours-after-the-threat-was-called-in.html

https://www.startribune.com/state-legislator-flees-home-after-threatening-calls-received/572865951/

MONAHAN TAKE

Given the amount of publicity generated by the story, and the fact that Senator Candelaria is running for another term and is on the November 3 ballot, it is not at all surprising that the New Mexico political establishment reacted more to the contents of the video as opposed to the threats. New Mexico Political Commentator put it this way in his blog:

This is one of those “wow, just wow” stories, similar to when Rio Arriba Dem State Senator Richard Martinez was arrested last year for DWI and the lapel camera video that emerged was devastating. As a result he lost his Senate seat in this June’s primary.

Candelaria may have dodged the immediate political consequences of a possible defeat or close race at the polls Tuesday, but his standing in the Senate is going to take a hit, according to Alligators weighing the impact. One of them comes with this:

This tape will take the heat off Senate Majority Leader Wirth who Candelaria has clashed with. Wirth can now ignore Candelaria whose chances to chair the Senate Finance Committee have gone up in smoke. Maybe if Candelaria apologized right away and explained his behavior it might help, but it’s always difficult to reverse such a damaging image.

MLG could be asked to weigh in on Candelaria’s comments threatening to call her and report the responding officers. That will be a quick Operation Separation, for sure. And Republican businessman Lardizabal will do all he can, one supposes, to push out Candelaria’s embarrassing behavior between now and Tuesday.

Candelaria, who has a reputation as one of the brightest state senators, often diving into complex legislation, is also the first openly gay Senator and has a following in the LGBQT community. An ABQ native, attorney and graduate of Princeton University, he was one of the youngest state senators when he was first elected in 2012. Today he is only 33 but unless he can somehow dig himself out of this hole his political career could be a goner. Ironically, Candelaria has been one of the leading legislative advocates for mandating video lapel cameras.

SENATOR JACOB CANDELARIA APOLOGIZES

On October 30, knowing the reaction of many people, Senator Jacob Candelaria issued the following explanation and apology for his conduct:

Between midnight and 1 a.m. on October 25, my family received three anonymous phone calls at our home in quick succession, threatening violence against my family and me because of my political views, my race, and my sexual orientation. I reported the calls to law enforcement immediately. We deemed one of the callers, who threatened to “take” me “out one way or another,” to be quite serious. As it turns out, at about 10:00 am, a cursory background check done by my law firm’s private investigator yielded strong evidence that the caller who made the most direct threat had a history of violence and an open warrant for his arrest.

My private investigator, who is a former member of the United States Secret Service, advised us at that time that the threat level was escalated and that the caller needed to be found, without delay. I immediately again called the police because I was terrified for the safety of my new husband and myself. If you’ve felt that visceral fear for your family, I am so sorry because I do not wish that upon anyone. In the hours that followed, I was not going to stop until my family was safe. I would and will always do anything to protect the man I love.

When the state police arrived later that afternoon, I simply did not treat the officers who came to our house with the necessary respect or decorum. Let me be clear, I was wrong to redirect the terror and frustration we were experiencing on those individual officers. I apologize fully and unequivocally to each of the officers who were carrying out their duties professionally and who put their safety on the line every day.

As I did later that same night, I thank them for their ongoing committed service to this state. Moving forward, we all need to hold those accountable who are quick to resort to violence toward those who have differing political views, or on the basis of their race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Our state, nor our country, can progress without a commitment to civil discourse. I commit here and now to actively doing my part.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Given the amount of publicity generated by the story that Senator Candelaria was threatened, it is not at all surprising that the New Mexico political establishment reacted to the news. The problem is the reaction to the contents of the lapel camera video revealed a side of Senator Jacob Candelaria the public has never seen. His apology was appropriate and should be accepted by his constituents and law enforcement, but the damage has been done to his reputation and it will take time to repair.

State Senator Jacob Candelaria has represented his constituents well and is up for election to another term on November 4. It is more likely than not he will be reelected because many believe he has done a good job, and besides, most of constituents have probably voted. No doubt Candelaria’s concern for the safety of himself and his husband was justified, but his expectations to be escorted to another city was not at all appropriate. Law enforcement is supposed to investigate crimes. (Editors Note: During my lengthy career as a prosecutor and public official I was threatened 4 times both in person and on the phone.)

The 13-hour delay for the State Police to respond after he called for help needs explaining, but the delay is probably easily explained. What also needs explaining is why did Senator Candelaria call the New Mexico State Police and not the Bernalillo County Sherriff’s Office (BCSO) nor the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), both which would have primary jurisdiction to investigate the threat. Candelaria should know this in that he is a licensed New Mexico Attorney.

Being a State Senator does not give the New Mexico State Police primary authority and does not give Candelaria the right to demand a full escort out of town. The State Police Officers acted appropriately telling the Senator that all they could do is investigate. Threatening to call the Governor clearly showed he was demanding preferential treatment because he is a State Senator.

Candelária did himself no favors and he should have shown far more restraint when talking to the New Mexico State Police. Expecting to be escorted to another city was in fact out of line as well as his implied threat to call the Governor. As a licensed New Mexico Attorney, Candelaria also knows full well that the State Police officers were on his property at his invitation and that they did not need any kind of a warrant as he said.

It is common knowledge that Senator Jacob Candelaria is running for Attorney General in 2022. It would be wise for Candelaria to realize that harassment calls and threats go with the territory of being an elected official, especially when your vocal about controversial issues. The lesson learned is not to ignore any threat, report it to law enforcement, let them do their jobs, but do not turn around and tell the media resulting in publicity proclaiming you have been victimized.

Senator Jacob Candelaria is politically smart enough to know that the content of the state police lapel camera video will wind up one day on an a pollical opponent’s hit ads, especially if in fact he runs for New Mexico Attorney General who is the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the State. Law enforcement no doubt will take notice as to how he treated the State Police Officers.

Let’s hope a lesson has been learned, even though it was a lesson learned the hard way.

Trump’s Big Lie: “The Election Is Being Rigged!”

The “big lie” is the name of a propaganda technique, originally coined by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, and denotes where a known falsehood is stated and repeated and treated as if it is self-evidently true, in hopes of swaying the course of an argument in a direction that takes the big lie for granted rather than critically questioning it or ignoring it.

https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Big_lie

On October 27, exactly one week before the Presidential election, President Trump continued to push his own “big lie” about our Presidential election and had this to say:

“It would be very, very proper and very nice if a winner were declared on November 3rd, instead of counting ballots for two weeks, which is totally inappropriate, and I don’t believe that that’s by our laws.”

TRUMP’S HISTORY OF PUSHING THE BIG LIE

During a 2016 presidential debate in which Trump had faced off against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, FOX news caster Mike Wallace asked then candidate Trump if he was prepared to concede to the winner, if he didn’t win. “I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense,” Trump said during the debate. He had also said that if he did not win it meant the election was rigged.

Fast forward to July 15, 2020. In an exclusive wide-ranging interview with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, President Trump was asked if he was “a good loser”. Trump said that he wasn’t a good loser and he went on to add that he thinks “mail-in voting is going to rig the election.” This led Wallace to ask whether Trump may not accept the results of the election and Trump said “We’ll have to see.”

https://time.com/5868739/trump-election-results-chris-wallace

On September 23, Trump was asked at a press conference if he would “commit to a peaceful transferal of power” if he lost the election, Trump said:

“Well, we’re gonna have to see what happens. … You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. The ballots are a disaster … Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a peaceful … there won’t be a transfer, frankly, there’ll be a continuation.”

PART OF THE BIG LIE IS MAIL IN VOTING IS FRAUDUELENT

Since the Wallace interview, Trump has engaged in repeated attacks on mail in voting as a pathway to voter fraud. It is a claim that is largely unsubstantiated and is an outright lie that Trump keeps repeating.

In April, Trump responding to a question about Wisconsin wanting to go to mail-in ballots said:

“Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country, because they’re cheaters. … They’re fraudulent in many cases.”

https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/07/829323152/fact-check-is-mail-ballot-fraud-as-rampant-as-president-trump-says-it-is

Trump has also said that any expansion of mail ballots will lead to widespread fraud. Attorney General William Barr for his part has also said people should need an excuse to vote by mail. Trump has said no-excuse absentee voting is fine but claimed the Postal Service couldn’t handle the increase in election mail.

Trump has already laid the foundation to dispute the election outcome with his incessant lies that “mail-in ballots” will result in a rigged election. Trump’s false claims have already been used as an excuse for the Republican Party to purge voter-registration rolls, limit mail-in ballots, close polling stations in minority areas and challenge in-person voting by minorities. The best example is with the state of Texas where Governor Abbot ordered only one polling place or drop off for ballots per county that has millions residents and requiring hours of driving to hand deliver ballots.

Election experts say Trump’s critiques of mail-in voting is just another one of his many lies. Instead, they say mail-in voting is expected to improve voter turnout on the whole and there is little evidence that it will have a partisan effect by benefitting one party over the other.

The experts have been proven right that mail in voting has improved voter turnout overwhelmingly. As of October 19, over 71 million people have cast their ballots with early voting or mail in voting around the United States, surpassing the 58.3 million total pre-election votes cast in 2016. That’s almost half of the total presidential votes cast four years ago.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/27/politics/early-voting-key-states/index.html

ONE NATIONAL ELECTION; MANY DIFFERENT TABULATIONS

Although there is only one national election for President and Vice President, each state and U.S. Territory has their own election processes and so every single state has a different deadlines to finish counting the vote. Many states give their elected Secretary of State and County Clerks at least a week after Election Day to “certify” their final election results.

Now that the coronavirus has resulted in millions voting by mail, it will likely delay election results. No doubt, many mail-in ballots will be arriving after Election Day. The majority of states do not start counting mail in ballots until election day itself. Some states allow mail in votes received after election day to be counted 3 days up to 7 days so long as they are post marked up to the day of the election. For that reason, final vote counting could take longer as officials rush to process millions of mail-in envelopes.

Notwithstanding the requirement and deadlines in election laws, the media always attempts to call elections as soon as possible by looking at precinct votes and county vote tallies, exit polls, and historical results to predict each state’s winner. The result is that national elections are often called well before the vote counting is even finished.

The danger in believing in media predictions are that they are unofficial and the wrong call can be considered disastrous in the public’s mind. The best example of this is when national media outlets projected in 2000 that Al Gore narrowly won Florida. The national media was forced to retract the call and later gave the state to George W. Bush. The false call resulted in weeks of recounts and uncertainty before the United States Supreme Court halted all recounting efforts. In 2012, Florida was once again extremely close. However, the national news outlets learned a lesson from the Gore-Bush election and waited two days before finally calling the state for President Obama.

ELECTORIAL COLLEGE WIN THE “BIG IF”

When it come to the Presidential election, the big “if” is always the electoral college. A person can lose the popular vote, but still win the electoral college as was the case 4 years ago when Clinton beat Trump by over 3 million votes, but Trump won the electoral college count because of winning by small margins in four major swing states.

Electoral College members meet in early December to elect the President. Congress then counts electoral votes in early January. In other words, national-level results are not officially tabulated until about two months after Election Day. Voters usually know the Presidential election’s outcomes within hours after the polls close because local election officials are able to work quickly to count ballots and release unofficial tallies soon after the polls close.

The reality is, any delay in the unofficial results due to mail-in voting or other logistical problems would not be illegal as Trump has claimed or for that matter unusual under most states laws.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/joewalsh/2020/10/27/who-declares-the-winner-on-election-night-the-media-and-a-delay-this-year-would-be-no-cause-for-alarm/#5a1f7b6d1470

A JUCIAL GIANT REPLACED BY RIGHT WING OPERATIVE

Within a few days after liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away, Trump and the Republican Senate went into over drive immediately almost breaking their necks to replace her with Amy Comer Briant. Briant was confirmed by the Senate on October 26 as Trump’s 3rd Supreme Court Justice with only Republican Senators voting. Her appointment gives the court a firm conservative majority for years to come, unless a Democrat Senate decides to remove a few by impeachment or Congress expands the court, neither which is far from certain but unlikely.

Trump himself said he wanted Amy Comer Briant confirmed and on the bench as soon as possible before the election believing the election will be contested in the Supreme Court. It is more likely than not that the Supreme court will be more than happy to once again interfere with the national election as it did with the Bush v. Gore election especially with 3 Trump appointed Supreme Court Justices.

TRUMP’S CALLS TO ARMS

On April 17 of this year, Trump began a campaign of promoting civil disobedience during the pandemic. He tweeted “LIBERATE VIRGINIA and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!”, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!”, “LIBERATE MINNISOTA!”

On Friday, May 29, President Donald Trump tweeted amid unrest in Minneapolis that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”. The tweet was the same language used by a Miami police chief in 1967 who believed that violent protests should be met with deadly force.

https://kstp.com/politics/trumps-tweet-about-rioters-echoes-1960s-miami-police-chief-may-29-2020/5745055/

Back in May and Soon after his telephone conference call with the country’s governors, President Trump declared himself “your president of law and order.” He went on to say:

“… If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them. … I am mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting to end the destruction and arson and to protect the rights of law abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights … . “

Trump said he would call out and mobilize “thousands and thousands” of soldiers to keep the peace.

When Trump says “I am mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting to end the destruction and arson and to protect the rights of law abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights”, many of his supporters could easily take it to mean it as call for vigilantism.

For the full 4 years of his presidency, Trump has refused to denounce right wing white supremist and militias. During the first Presidential debate Trump was asked by debate moderator Chris Wallace to disavow white supremacy during a part of the debate focused on race. Wallace asked whether Trump would urge white supremacist groups that inflamed violence at nationwide protests to “stand down.”

In response to the question, Trump said “give me a name” when asked to denounce a specific group, and former Vice President Joe Biden called out the Proud Boys. Trump refused to denounce any far-right or white supremacist groups, and he then pivoted to talk about antifa and said:

“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by, but I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left, because this is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem.”

THE NIGHTMARE SCENARIO

Despite the likely delay in tabulating all votes on election day, Trump and his staunches supporters are insisting that the election’s result need to be known on election night. It’s likely that they are counting on more Trump supporters preferring to vote in person than by absentee and by mail thereby resulting in an early lead.

The nightmare scenario is Trump will declare victory on election night and order his party to contest the election results in the battleground states by challenging the mail in ballot votes. The Republican party is already gearing up to file suit to prevent the certification of the election results in the battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio. If Trump in fact refuses to concede the election, its likely there will be chaos in the streets, with both pro and anti Trump protests and violence erupting and with a Trump call to arms of right-wing militias.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/06/what-if-trump-loses-insists-he-won/?fbclid=IwAR3OXiko33BUYPIyPrABd8zCeqyTarlNYHJ-p9lloO6vYG4ihrzvDO1PE1I

According to the national polls, President Trump is heading for defeat on November 3 both in the popular vote and in the electoral college vote. A similar presidential election happened in the 1876 presidential election between democrat Samuel J. Tilden and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. Democrat Tilden was leading on election day in both the popular vote and in the electoral college. The results of the election were contested in the 3 states of Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina. Congress appointed a commission to adjudicate the dispute. The congress voted along partisan lines to hand all three states to republican Rutherford B. Hayes that gave Hayes a 185 to 184 majority in the electoral college electing him president.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-election-results-transfer-power_n_5f6bd70fc5b653a2bcaf9455

COMMENATARY AND ANALYSIS

The danger of an undemocratic outcome on November 3 is very real. If there is no clear-cut winner on election night, with Biden narrowly ahead in the electoral college but with one or more of the states of Michigan, North Carolina, Florida, Arizona and Texas still too close to call, the United States democracy will be near a full-scale meltdown or near a civil war in the streets.

Trump has already acknowledged and refuses to denounce armed right-wing militias. It is very easy to imagine how they will respond if he declares himself the winner and demands that his followers take up arms to keep him in power.

One of the most certain ways the nightmare scenario cannot occur is if Trump in fact loses the election by numbers too large to contest. When they say this is the most important election of our lifetime, that is not at all an exaggeration.

There are 4 full days left to vote. If you have not already voted, please do so because this time there truly is too much at stake.

A link to a related news article is here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/06/what-if-trump-loses-insists-he-won/?fbclid=IwAR3OXiko33BUYPIyPrABd8zCeqyTarlNYHJ-p9lloO6vYG4ihrzvDO1PE1I

Third APD “Overtime Overhaul” Announced; Overtime “Gaming System” Has Got To Stop; Abolish APD’s Overtime And Longevity Pay Programs; Implement Salary Structure For APD Sworn

On October 23, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) disclosed the contents of an APD Internal Affairs investigators that found that former APD Spokesman Simon Drobik committed rampant fraud, possibly at a criminal level. APD accused Drobik of “gaming the system” by working private security at local businesses known as chief’s overtime while he was on regular duty. He is also accused of negotiating his way out of taking service calls and showing up late and leaving early along with dozens of other violations during a five-month period at the beginning of the year.

For successive years, as APD Spokesman, Drobik was routinely among the highest earners in the city and ranked No. 1 among all city employees in 2018 by being paid $192,973. In 2019, Drobik was ranked as the 7th highest wage earner in 2019. When Drobik retired in July 2020, he had already collected $106,607 for the year when his base pay rate was listed as $31.50 per hour, or $65, 520 according city records ( $31.50 per hour X 2,080 hours a year= $65,520).

In the Friday, October 23, 2020 press release, APD implicated Drobik’s supervisor former Deputy Chief Elizabeth Armijo for failure to approve overtime, implicated former APD Chief Michael Geier and implicated former APD Chief of Staff John Ross. According to APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos, Deputy Chief of Staff Armijo will be disciplined, although he would not say what that discipline will be at the time. He also said that former Chief of Staff John Ross will not be disciplined in that he was relieved of his position when Geier was forced to retired by Keller, otherwise John Ross would have been disciplined.

NOT THE FIRST TIME ACCUSED OF “GAMING THE SYSTEM”

On April 12, 2019, it was reported that the APD Civilian Police Oversight (CPO) Agency recommended the dismissal of APD Public Information Officer Simon Drobik as well as his former supervisor for overtime pay abuse. The CPOA investigators found that throughout 2018 Drobik violated personnel policies more than 50 times by getting paid simultaneously for being on call as a spokesman and working “chief’s overtime. The CPO Agency investigation found that in 2018, Drobik was paid $192,973 making him Albuquerque’s highest-paid employee in 2018. The investigation also found that his supervisor was one of the city’s top 11 paid wage earners.

On April 30, 2019, then APD Chief Michael Geier announced that he was not taking any disciplinary action against Simon Drobik but announced changes were being made to APD overtime and Chief’s overtime. At the time APD Chief Michael Geier decided that instead of terminating Drobik, he placed him on administrative assignment and required him to report directly to Deputy Chief of Staff Elizabeth Armijo . Confidential sources have also confirmed that then Chief Geier and the Keller Administration contemplated promoting Simon Drobik to a commander position in order to pay him more as a justification for the pay he was being paid as a spokesman.

DROBIK NOT LIKELY THE ONLY ONE “GAMING THE SYSTEM”

At the end of each calendar year, City Hall releases the top 250 wage earners. The list of 250 top city hall wages earners is what is paid for the full calendar year of January 1, to December 31 of any given year.

Starting pay for an APD Police Officer immediately out of the APD academy is $29 an hour or $60,320 yearly. (40 hour work week X 52 weeks in a year = 2,080 hours worked in a year X $29 paid hourly = $60,320.)

Police officers with 4 to 14 years of experience are paid $30 an hour or $62,400 yearly. (40-hour work weeks in a year X 52 weeks in a year = 2,080 hours worked in a year X $30 paid hourly = $62,400.)

Senior Police Officers with 15 years or more experience are paid $31.50 an hour or $65,520 yearly. (40 hours work in a week X 52 weeks in year = 2,080 hours worked in a year X $31.50 = $65,520.)

The hourly pay rate for APD Sergeants is $35 an hour, or $72,800. (40-hour work week X 52 weeks in a year = 2080 hours worked in a year X $35.0 paid hourly = $72,800.)

The hourly pay rate for APD Lieutenants is $40.00 an hour or $83,200. (40 hour work week X 52 weeks in a year = 2080 hours worked in a year X $40.00 = $83,200.)

In 2018, the breakdown of the 250 top paid city hall employees revealed that all were paid between $100,000 to $192,937.23. In 2018, there were 140 Police Officers on the list of 250 top wage earners.

In 2019, the breakdown of the 250 top paid city hall employees showed they were paid between $107,885 to $193,666.23. In 2019 there were 160 sworn APD police in the top 250 wage earners with 70 APD patrol officers in the list of 250 top paid employees earning pay ranging from $108,167 to $188,844.

The excessive pay numbers in APD, especially to patrol officers, can be attributed directly to overtime paid to APD employees.

https://www.petedinelli.com/2020/05/28/9864/

THIRD “OVERTIME OVERHAUL” ANNOUNCMENT

In August of 2019, former APD Chief Michael Geier announced a special order to deal with APD overtime abuse, including placing a 25 hour a week cap on overtime. It turns out that the special order was rescinded a few days later by Geier after the order was issued. The rational for Geier’s withdrawal was attributed to problems in the way the plan was written.

In the wake of the October 23 Internal Affairs disclosures and findings of overtime abuse by former Spokesman Simon Drobick, APD Spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos said that APD had drafted a policy for a third time to overhaul overtime practices to prevent abuse and said:

“[Interim] Chief Medina said he will issue a Special Order on Monday to take effect immediately while the policy is reviewed. Unlike previous efforts to reform overtime, this proposed policy will address weaknesses in supervision and increase discipline for violations.”

In May, 2020, APD Deputy Chief Michael Smathers wrote a similar order to the first that Geier approved. He said this new plan is “vastly different” and supersedes the second one. According to Smathers, the department learned from the Drobik investigation and Civilian Police Oversight Agency investigation in formulating the new plan. Smathers said they cleaned up the language, added “significant sanctions” and auditing requirements on Chief’s Overtime.

On October 27, APD announced the major changes to the department’s overtime policy it hopes will stop APD officers from abusing overtime. Under the new policy all overtime will require approval from higher up the chain from a commander or above. The city will audit chiefs’ overtime records and increase discipline for violations.

According to an October 27 news release, the following 5 major changes to the police overtime policy will be made:

1. Almost all forms of overtime and any exception to normal practice now require a Commander or above approval. This should reduce the instances of overtime being claimed but not worked.

2. In addition, the department has implemented a compensatory time reduction plan. Compensatory time, or “comp time,” has been a source of abuse in the past. This reduction plan will minimize comp time that is paid out once the cap has been met.

3. APD has also added numerous audit functions for anyone approving overtime. To further ensure transparency, the Payroll Department will now release regular reports to help those in leadership keep track of overtime and detect any issues as a warning system.

4. The Chief’s Overtime Office additionally will audit 30 percent of all Chief’s Overtime forms to make sure dispatch records match time worked on the forms submitted for reimbursement.

5. The sanctions for every section of the policy have been significantly raised to equate the sanction for a violation of the seriousness of this issue and to ensure robust compliance.

APD spokeswoman Rebecca Atkins said the changes will go into effect immediately as the formal policy is put through a review process.

APD interim Chief Harold Medina had this to say in a statement:

“Unlike previous efforts to reform overtime, these changes will address weaknesses in supervision and oversight, while increasing discipline for violations. … Supervisors should be held to the highest standards. Only then, will we achieve true accountability for taxpayer money.”

Links to news sources are here:

https://www.krqe.com/news/albuquerque-metro/apd-making-changes-to-departments-overtime-policy/#:~:text=ALBUQUERQUE%2C%20N.M.&text=Now%2C%20a%20new%20policy%20means,and%20increase%20discipline%20for%20violations.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1511606/apd-hoping-third-times-a-charm-for-overtime.html

COMMENTARY AND ANALSIS

Police officers earning excessive overtime is nothing new. It has been going on for years and is very common knowledge. From a personnel management standpoint, when you have a select few that are taking home the lion’s share of overtime, it causes moral problems with the rest. Excessive overtime paid is a red flag for abuse of the system, mismanagement of police resources or the lack of personnel.

During the last 10 years, the Albuquerque Police Department has consistently gone over its overtime budget by millions. In fiscal year 2016, APD was funded for $9 million for over time but APD actually spent $13 million. A March, 2017 city internal audit of APD’s overtime spending found police officers taking advantage of a system that allows them to accumulate excessive overtime at the expense of other city departments.

A city internal audit report released in March, 2017 revealed that the Albuquerque Police Department spent over $3.9 million over its $9 million “overtime” budget. For the last 3 years, APD has exceeded its overtime budget by as much as $4 million or more each year. In 2019, APD spent $11.5 million paying sworn police overtime when the budget was $9 million.

https://www.petedinelli.com/2018/03/30/apd-overtime-pay-abuse-and-recruitment-tool/

RESTRUCTURE 40 HOUR APD PAY SYSTEM TO SALARY PAY SYSTEM

As an alternative to paying overtime and longevity bonus, the City should do away with APD hourly wage and time and a half for overtime for sworn police and implement a salary structure based strictly on steps and years of service. A complete restructuring of the existing APD 40-hour work week and hourly wage system needs to be implemented.

A base pay salary system should be implemented for all APD sworn personnel. A base salary system with step increases for length of service should be implemented. The longevity bonus pay would be eliminated and built into the salary structure. Mandatory shift time to work would remain the same, but if more time is needed to complete a work load or assignments for the day, the salaried employee works it for the same salary with no overtime paid and a modification of shift times for court appearances.

APD Patrol Officers First Class who handle DWI during nighttime shifts should be required to change their shift times to daytime shifts when the arraignments and trials occur to prevent overtime pay. As an alternative to DWI arraignment, the City Attorney’s Office should explore the possibility of expanding or modifying the Metro Traffic Arraignment Program with the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office assisting to include not just traffic citations but DWI arraignments to eliminate the need for APD officers to appear at such arraignments.

CONCLUSION

Until the APD salary structure is changed, APD will always have patrol officers first class making 2, 3 and even 4 times their base salary and emotional burnout will be the norm, not the exception endangering public safety. Until the APD salary structure is changed, you will also have more than a few employees “gaming the system”. Historically, time and time again, year after year, the temptation to be paid 2, 3, even 4 times more a year to what your base pay is by padding hours of worked is way too great. The overtime “gaming system” has got to stop.

Its the taxpayer and other city employees who are getting hurt when APD exceeds its budget by the millions and when APD management do not give a damn about anyone else but APD. When APD exceeds its overtime pay budget, the money has to come from somewhere and that somewhere is other city departments and other city employees. If Mayor Keller, APD Management and City Council do not realize that APD exceeding it overtime budget in fact causes morale issues and resentment with other city departments and employee who are not paid overtime, they are fools.

One guarantee way of stopping anyone within APD from “gaming the system” would be get rid of the old system of overtime pay and bonus pay. Sooner rather than later, the city and the APD union need to recognize that being a police officer is not a mere “trade” justifying hourly wages, but a “profession” that requires employees to put whatever time in is necessary to get a day’s work done that may arise in that day and police need to be compensated by a decent salary and not hourly wages.

Negotiations for a new APD union contract have been suspended because of the pandemic. If and when the City and the APD union return to the bargaining table to negotiate a new contract, the abolishment of hourly wages for APD sworn and implementation of a salary structure should be the first negotiated item for the new contract.

__________________________________________________

POSCRIPT

On November 2, the Albuquerque Journal published the following editorial:

Remember back in November 2018 when then-Albuquerque Police Department spokesman officer Simon Drobik had made almost $170,000 thanks to overtime – $30K more than the chief – and Mayor Tim Keller’s administration vowed to take a deep dive into police overtime pay?

And then in April 2019 when a complete year of pay stubs revealed Drobik raked in a total of $192,923 in 2018 for somehow working in two places at once – spokesman on the scene and cop doing private security? The Civilian Police Oversight Agency investigation that found he violated OT policies more than 50 times in 2018? The APD leadership vow to reform its OT policies and eliminate any possible overlap?
And then in July this year when Drobik suddenly retired after raking in $106,607 in less than six months and state Auditor Brian Colón and Attorney General Hector Balderas joined forces to order a special audit into APD overtime?

Well, it’s two years late and tens of thousands of dollars short, but APD finally admitted last week that Drobik was “gaming the system” this year, and his supervisors allowed it.
And APD reiterated it will reform its overtime system via a pilot project as a draft policy is reviewed.

Forgive us if we point out we’ve heard this before. Counting a plan last August and one in May, this is the third iteration of APD overtime reform.

It must be noted that Drobik’s attorney, Sam Bregman, says the claims against his client are “absolutely false” and Drobik “never, ever cheated on a time card. He worked overtime due to being ordered to do so by a deputy chief, and every bit of his time was approved by a deputy chief. APD is now trying to throw him under the bus.”

Bregman has promised a court fight because “this is actually just a cover-up on the part of this administration for their structural inaccuracies in the police department.”

The city’s lag on reforms doesn’t hurt that argument.

Because while the Drobik case is upsetting – APD’s internal affairs investigation found his actions amounted to potential criminal fraud – the larger question is how extensive is overtime abuse in APD? Colón said last week “there is a problem, and we’re going to get to the bottom of it whether it’s an individual or whether it’s further reaching. … It is fair to say that we still have work to do … and it may not be limited to one officer.”

Taxpayers, as well as all sworn officers who play by the rules, deserve answers. In the meantime, they will have to rely on the latest list of reforms, which while belated are promising. They include requiring approval of almost all overtime from a commander or above, auditing 30% of all chief’s overtime forms, releasing overtime reports to leadership regularly, minimizing comp time and instituting stiffer sanctions for overtime violations. APD Deputy Chief Michael Smathers says they build on findings from the Drobik and Civilian Police Oversight Agency investigations. “We’re trying to learn from mistakes of the past, trying to make sure that we are excellent stewards of overtime dollars.”

It’s just unfortunate it’s taken the Keller administration and APD brass two years to try to do that.

The link to this editorial is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1513368/lets-hope-3-really-is-the-charm-for-apd-overtime-reforms.html

City’s 2020 Mid-Year Crime Rates Reflect Small Decline; Violent Crime Remains High; Arrests Made Are Fraction Of Crimes Committed; Dr. Keller Has Failed To Find A Vaccine For High Crime Rates

On Monday, September 21, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) released statistics that revealed that overall crime in the city is down slightly. According to the statistics, crime is down by 5% across all categories in the first six months of 2020 as compared with the first six months of 2019. The good news is APD reported that crime has decreased 15% since 2018. The bad news is that in some cases, the improvements this year were minuscule.

This year, APD is releasing the city’s crime statistics using the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). It is the new system the FBI will require of all police departments use in their annual reports starting in 2021. According to APD, this is the third year APD has used NIBRS and for that reason the city cannot compare pre-2018 crime statistics to 2018 statistics and later.

CRIMES AGAINST PERSONS: Under NIBRS, all violent crime combined is called “Crimes Against Persons”. The crimes include murder, deadly weapons assault and injury and rape. The decreases in “violent crime” from 2019 to 2020 was a decrease by only 21 crimes or a 0.28%. Over a two year, it decreased 4%. According to the FBI statistics released, there were 7,362 crimes against persons reported in the first six months of 2020 and there were 152 more in the second quarter than in the first.

CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY: Under NIBRS, “Crimes Against Property”, which includes arson, burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny, robbery, and more, have decreased 6% from 2019 to 2020, but decreased by 19% since 2018. There were 24,052 crimes against property reported in the first half of 2020, with about 2,000 more in the first quarter than in the second.

CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY: Under NIBRS, “Crimes Against Society” include animal cruelty, drug offenses, prostitution, weapon law violations and more. Crimes against society have decreased 8% from 2019 to 2020, and 12% from 2018 to 2020. There were a total of 1,644 crimes against society reported in the first half of 2020, with 130 more in the first quarter than in the second.

According to APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos:

“Rape and robbery were down, but aggravated assault was up slightly. … The one difference is Albuquerque’s homicide rate was down while most major cities [reported]increases in homicides. However, we have since seen an increase in homicides in the third quarter.”

2020 RAW DATA

Following is the raw data gleaned from the 2020 mid-year crime statistics:

2020 NIBRS MIDYEAR CRIMES BY CATEGORY

Crimes Against Property: 24,052
Crimes Against Persons: 7,362
Crimes Against Society: 1,644

2020 NIBRS “CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY”

1st Quarter: 13,035
2nd Quarter: 11, 007

Mid-Year Albuquerque Police Department: 24,052

2020 NIBRS “CRIMES AGAINST PERSON”

1st Quarter: 3,605
2nd Quarter: 3,57

Mid-Year Albuquerque Police Department: 7,362

2020 NIBRS “CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY”

1st Quarter: 887
2nd Quarter: 757

Mid-Year Albuquerque Police Department: 1,644

The link to the cities mid-year crime statistics report is here:

https://www.cabq.gov/police/documents/2020midyearcrimestats_new.pdf

Corrected crime statistics for 2018 and 2019 are contained in the postscript to this blog article.

NUMBER OF ARRESTS

On Friday October 23, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) released its “Use of Force” report covering a four-year time period from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2019. The Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) with the Department of Justice (DOJ) mandates that APD compile the report once a year. The 74-page Use of Force report shows the findings from APD’s Internal Affairs Division as they looked into the department’s use of force for the 4-year time period.

APD’s Use for Force number a very small part the overall picture when it comes to the City’s crime rates. However, review of APD’s number of arrest in comparison to the overall city’s numbers reveals just how small a fraction arrests are made in cases.

The link to the entire use of force report is here:

http://www.cabq.gov/police/documents/2016-19-albuquerque-police-department-annual-use-of-force-report.pdf

A link to a blog article on the Use of Force report is here:

https://www.petedinelli.com/2020/10/27/apd-use-of-force-report-shows-4-year-increase-in-apd-use-of-force-19-civilian-deaths-58251-arrests-2395-uses-of-force-1087-shows-of-force-small-fraction-of-overall-crime-s/

Arrest is defined as “the taking of one person into custody by another. To constitute arrest there must be an actual restraint of the person. The restraint may be imposed by force or may result from the submission of the person arrested to the custody of the one arresting the person. An arrest is a restraint of greater scope or duration than an investigatory stop or detention. An arrest is lawful when supported by probable cause.”

The number of arrests for the four years of 2016-2019 are as follows:

2016: 14,022 total arrests made
2017: 13,582 total arrests made
2018: 15,471 total arrests made
2019: 15,151 total arrests made

TOTAL NUMBER OF ARREST MADE BY APD OVER 4 YEARS: 58,226

(Page 14, Use of Force Reports)

2020 NIBRS MIDYEAR CRIMES BY CATEGORY

Crimes Against Property: 24,052
Crimes Against Persons: 7,362
Crimes Against Society: 1,644

ARRESTS MADE IN CONTEX TO CRIME COMMITTED

Individual APD officers in the field service patrolling the streets have thousands of interactions with the public in a given year and are measured by the volume of calls for service, officer-initiated actions and arrests and force events are an extremely rare occurrence. From the years of 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, roughly 1 per 500 hundred to 1,000 calls for service and officer-initiated actions are associated with a use of force. Between 4% and 5% percent of arrests are associated with force.

Following is the breakdown of statistics for each year:

2016:
Dispatched Calls: 422,471
Officer Initiated Actions (OIAs): 45,672
Custodial Arrests: 14,022
Force Incidents: 524

2017:
Dispatched calls: 429,598
Officer Initiated Actions (OIAs): 55,856
Custodial Arrests: 13,582
Force Incidents: 570

2018
Dispatched calls:410,538
Officer Initiated Actions (OIAs): 70,151
Custodial Arrests: 15,471
Force Incidents: 643

2019
Dispatched calls: 370,036
Officer Initiated Actions (OIAs): 70,903
Custodial Arrests: 15,151
Force Incidents: 768

TOTAL APD FORCE INCIDENTS: 2,505

(Page 15, Use of Force report)

CITY IS IN STEP WITH NATION WIDE VIOLENT CRIME TRENDS

The Major Cities Chiefs Association reported that Albuquerque has been in step with nationwide violent crime trends this year. The Major Cities Chiefs Association polled 67 cities throughout the country, including Albuquerque, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago and Denver. In Albuquerque, the data shows, there were 6% more aggravated assaults the first six months of 2020 than a year earlier.

Although homicides were down the first six months of the year, they surpassed last year’s pace for a while in the third quarter. As of mid-October, there have been 55 homicides this year, compared with 57 by the same time last year, according to APD records.

In an APD news release, Interim Police Chief Harold Medina attributed the decrease in crime to the hiring of more officers and the department’s crime-fighting tactics and had this to say:

“Our strategy of hiring more officers is bringing steady, hard-won progress. … We initially used limited resources to tackle auto theft and robbery, and the additional officers are helping us to expand our crime-fighting efforts. We are in a better position to more aggressively tackle gun violence, which remains a long-standing challenge in our community.”

https://www.abqjournal.com/1498688/apd-crime-down-slightly-across-broad-categories.html

A NATIONAL TREND

Diane Dimond is a national “Crime and Justice Columnist.” Ms. Dimond is an American investigative journalist, author and syndicated columnist. In a recent column, she reported that the U.S. murder rate had been significantly slowing since the early ’90s but that is no longer the case and she reports:

” … Homicides and gun violence are on the rise. Murders have spiked in 36 of the 50 biggest American cities that were studied during a newly released Wall Street Journal analysis of crime stats. On average, the nation’s homicide rate is up 24% so far this year compared to the same period in 2019. But in certain cities the murder rate is much higher. In Chicago homicides are up 52%. In San Antonio it’s 34%. Phoenix has seen a 32% rise in murders, Philadelphia 31% and Houston 27%. Gang activity is most frequently blamed for the rise as gang members are also feeling the economic pinch of isolation and turf wars have ignited, playing out on near-empty street corners. This year’s recent huge jump in gun sales may have also played a part in the rising inner-city death toll.”

https://www.abqjournal.com/1484278/the-good-and-very-bad-of-pandemicera-crime-rates.html

In yet another column, Dimond reports that FBI statistics reveal that Albuquerque has the dubious distinction of having a crime rate about 194% higher than the national average.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1491404/state-city-leaders-play-politics-with-public-safety.html

APD EXPANDING HOMICIDE UNIT

On September 3, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) announced it is increasing the Homicide Investigative Unit to keep up with the increasing number of cases. As of October 10, the APD Homicide unit is investigating 58 homicides so far in 2020, which is ahead of the record-breaking pace in 2019. According to APD Officials, the department will be adding another sergeant to the Homicide Investigative Unit, which will increase the size of the unit to 10 detectives and 2 sergeants.

According to a September 30 news report, APD currently has 984 sworn officers, 88 joined in 2020 and the APD is planning to hire two case preparation specialists. There are currently 60 more officers in training at the APD Academy. Growing the ranks of APD is part of the strategy to reduce spiking crime rates, but the academy is having difficulty in keeping up with retirements. So far in 2020, there have been a total of 66 officers who left the department and more are expected to retire at the end of the year.

https://www.koat.com/article/apd-looking-to-expand-department/34229813

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

City residents can take very small comfort from the released statistics that revealed that overall crime in the city is down slightly. Further, the slight reduction in crime is not the result of anything Mayor Tim Keller nor the APD programs his administration has implemented. The response to the pandemic certainly is a contributing reason for lower property crime rates and many other crimes. The slight reduction in crime can be easily attributed the the pandemic that hit the city hard in February resulting in quarantine, major event cancellations not to mention the closure of thousands of businesses closed for several months. In others words, people being home, malls and businesses being closed means opportunities for criminals were reduced, businesses could not be robbed or have shoplifters, homes could not be robbed and many cars were parked in garages reducing auto thefts.

The disparity of the number of arrests as being a fraction as to the number of criminal incidents and dispatched calls is to be expected and is not at all surprising. Successful arrest are usually made at the time of a crime is committed or very soon thereafter. Cases involving such crime as auto theft, burglaries, even rapes and murder require extensive investigations and even then no arrests may be made in the cases because no suspects are found.

FBI statistics reveal that Albuquerque has the dubious distinction of having a crime rate 194% higher than the national average. Albuquerque has been on the forefront of the trend on violent crime increasing for the last 5 years and homicides have more than doubled. In 2014, the city had 30 homicides and each year thereafter homicides increased and in 2019 the city had 82 homicides, the most in the city’s history. As of October 9, the city has had 58 homicides this year alone.

In 2019, in response to the continuing increase in violent crime rates, Mayor Keller scrambled to implement 4 major crime fighting programs to reduce violent crime: The Shield Unit, Declaring Violent Crime “Public Health” issue, the “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP program) and the Metro 15 Operation program. Based upon the statistics, the Keller programs have had very little effect on reducing violent crime.

The country will have a vaccine sooner rather than latter to deal with the pandemic. However, crime is not getting any better and only worse in Albuquerque and there appears to be no real hope in the near future to reduce crime at least not from Mayor Tim Keller and his administration. Mayor Tim Keller forcing the retirement of Chief Michael Geier is an admission of failure on Keller’s part to bring down our crime rates as he promised 3 years ago running for Mayor. Dr. Keller has been a failure in finding a vaccine for our high crime rates.

__________________________________________

POSCTSCRIPT

From December 1, 2017 when he was sworn into office, until July 1, 2019, every quarter Mayor Tim Keller would hold a press conference to release the city’s crime statistics. He did so on July 1, 2019 to report the statistics for the 2019 second quarter and to compare them to the 2018 midterm year numbers. Keller reported that crime was down significantly , with double-digit drops in many categories including violent offenses such as robberies, aggravated assaults, and rapes.

On Sunday, December 1, 2019, the Albuquerque Journal published a front-page article that reported that all the crime rate reductions Mayor Tim Keller reported in a July 1, 2019 press conference were in fact seriously flawed and inaccurate. According to the report, both the 2019 mid-year statistics and the statistics released at the end of 2018 were revised dramatically to include hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of more incidents than were initially reported.

The final numbers for all of 2018 showed violent crime actually increased, and in many categories the crime rates only dropped in single digits and not the double digits reported by May Keller. At an October meeting of the City Council, APD provided the revised statistics but failed to report that the numbers had changed drastically. Mayor Keller also did not hold any kind of a press conference to correct nor announce the corrected statistics.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1335502/crime-declining-in-albuquerque-new-numbers-show.html

CORRECTED CRIME STATISTICS

On December 13, 2019 APD officials held a news conference to explain what went wrong and what they are doing to prevent it from happening again. APD announced changes in how it handles and reports crime statistics. The officials said that the Keller Administration had been unintentionally releasing incomplete data for the last two years

Prior to 2018, APD reported data using the Summary Reporting System (SRS), which included eight categories and counted only the most serious offense during an incident. Starting in January 2021, the FBI will no longer accept data in this format. The FBI is requiring crimes to be counted through the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which uses far more specific categories and counts virtually all crimes within a single incident rather than just the most serious.

The corrected statistics reported for 2019 are as follows:

Auto burglaries decreased 16%, not the 38% as previously announced by Mayor Keller
Auto theft decreased 22%, not the 39% Keller reported
Commercial burglary decreased 3%, not the 27% Keller reported
Residential burglary decreased 16%, not 39% as Keller reported
Homicide decreased 2.5%, not 18%, but homicides have since increased substantially and the city has broken the all-time record and is at 76 as of December 17.
Rape decreased 3%, not the 29% Keller reported
Robbery decreased 30%, not the 47% reported by Keller
Aggravated assault decreased 7.5%, not the 33% reported by Keller
Aggravated assault increased 21%, rather than decreasing 8% as announced during Keller’s July news conference
Rape increased by 3%, rather than decreasing 3% as announced by Keller
Auto theft decreased 14%, not the 31% reported by Keller
Robbery decreased 32% and Keller reported it decreasing by 36%

https://www.petedinelli.com/2019/12/17/apd-blackhole-statistics-fiasco-explained-mayor-keller-holds-no-one-accountable/

APD “Use of Force” Report Shows 4 Year Increase In APD Use Of Force; 19 Civilian Deaths; 58,251 Arrests; 2,395 Uses of Force, 1,087 Shows Of Force; Small Fraction Of Overall Crime Stats; No Data Compiled On APD’s Intervention With The Mentally ILL

On Friday October 23, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) released its “Use of Force” report covering a four-year time period from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2019. The Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) with the Department of Justice (DOJ) mandates that APD compile the report once a year. The 74-page Use of Force report shows the findings from APD’s Internal Affairs Division as they looked into the department’s use of force for the 4-year time period.

This blog article highlights major statistics relating strictly to APD and is not to be consider at all reflective of the city’s overall crime problem. For example, the city recorded 82 murders in 2019 and FBI statistics revealed that Albuquerque has the dubious distinction of having a crime rate 194% higher than the national average. Other statistics not reported include types of injuries sustained, “Unique Show of Force” cases, Police Service Dog activations and Tactical Activations. The link to the entire use of force report is here:

http://www.cabq.gov/police/documents/2016-19-albuquerque-police-department-annual-use-of-force-report.pdf

RATIONAL FOR LOOKING AT 4 YEAR TIME PERIOD

The 4-year time period of January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2019 was selected for two major reasons:

First: Refined data collection methods have allowed for updated and more accurate data, even retroactively. As of October 2019, APD’s Internal Affairs Force Division (IAFD) completed a thorough review of 304 cases, largely from 2017. Findings and revisions from this dataset have been incorporated into [the] updated report.

Second: The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and City of Albuquerque Court-Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) specifies exactly what information should be included in APD’s Use of Force Annual Reports. The use of a multi-year data set provides a better basis for defining these use of force measures, variables and analytic processes. Examining four years’ worth of data, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 allows for examination of trends and longitudinal patterns, which can inform best practices.

(Page 3 of Use of Force report)

Katharine Jacobs of APD’s Internal Affairs Division had this to say about the report:

“We’re able to start looking at this longitudinally, looking for trends and the goal was to look at force in the bigger context.”

http://www.cabq.gov/police/documents/2016-19-albuquerque-police-department-annual-use-of-force-report.pdf

The following definitions are provided to help understand the data reported:

A ‘Use Of Force Case’ involves an incident with one or more individuals, one or more police officers, and one or more uses of force.
A “Show Of Force Case” involves one or more individuals, one or more police officers, and one or more displays of weapons, but no actual use of force during that incident.

A “Use Of Force Type Or Show Of Force Type” is the specific application of a force type or types in a Use of Force or Show Of Force incident. For example, one police officer may display or use several kinds of force (e.g., display handgun, or empty hand techniques and ECW) with one individual during one encounter. Therefore, the number of “Use Of Force Types” or “Show Of Force Types” will be higher than the number of individuals involved in Use Of Force or Show Of Force Cases.

NUTSHELL OF MAJOR APD STATISTICS FOR 2016, 2917, 2918, 2019

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Use of Force report has upwards of 56 bar graphs and charts and 8 maps in the 73-page report. Below are the combined totals in the top 8 blogger “consolidated” categories for the years 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019. The calculations for the 7 categories are based on the raw numbers gleaned from the various bar graphs in the report.

Civilian deaths in 4 years involving APD shootings: 19
Number APD arrests: 58,251
APD “use of force” incidents (Empty hand, TAZER, gun discharge): 2,395
APD “show of force” incidents (Handgun, rifle, TAZER): 1,087
APD firearm discharges: 65
Number of times APD officers displayed a hand gun: 524
Number of times APD officers displayed a rifle: 212
Times APD used “electronic control weapon” (TAZER): 365
Estimated total “calls for service” generating “case numbers” 312,000 to 375,000
(Combined nu
mber of cases generated by all 6 area commands)

HIGHLIGHTS OF REPORT

Following are major highlights gleaned from the report and bars graphs used:
According to the use of force report for the 4-year period, the “use of force” and “show of force” incidents by APD increased each year for the years 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The report stated 98% of the violations of use of force incidents were in policy, but there still was an increase in use of force for the 4 years.

Approximately 88% of individuals involved in a use of force are arrested. (Page 53 of use of force report.)

63% of individuals involved in a “force event” are between the ages 20-36.

When it comes to race and ethnicity:

1. 72% of individuals involved in a combined “show of force” and “use of force” events are white. (page 46)
2. 53% of individuals involved in strictly “use of force” events are Hispanic (page 49 of use of force report)
3. “Black and Native American individuals appear to be over-represented in “shows of force” and “uses of force.” However, statistical testing designed to compare expected (proportional) and actual values was completed and, due to small numbers, no conclusive results could be found as to Black and Native Americans.
Since certain demographic categories returned small expected values, statistical testing is inappropriate. Setting aside the percentages, the actual numbers are relatively small for Black and Native Americans. For instance, 11 Black individuals were involved in shows of force in 2017.

It is inappropriate to conclude that minority populations are over-represented; however, this is not an impossibility either. In short, while these percentages may look disproportionate, because of relatively small numbers of individuals of minority races involved in force events, it is impossible to say for sure if they are or are not statistically disproportionate.”

(page 47 and 48 of use of force report.)

95% of individuals involved in use of force incidents did not exhibit “limited or no English language proficiency”. (Page 52 of report)

Sexual orientation was reported as unknown in 78% of force events. (Page 44 of report).

Use of force incidents saw the biggest jump from 2018 to 2019 with a 23% increase. Notwithstanding the increase, overall, the report states that “use of force” and “show of force” are “an extremely rare occurrence ” during the 4 years reported upon.

From January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2019, about 1 per 500 to 1 per 1,000 “calls for service” and “officer-initiated actions” (OIA) involved APD using force.

From January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2019, between 4-5% of arrests involved police “use of force.”

An overwhelming majority of “use of force incidents” across all 4 years were found to be compliant with APD use of force policy.

In 2019 there were 605 uses of force and 163 shows of force with 10 uses of force incidents found to be out of policy or 1.6% of the total.

When it came to officer-initiated actions, such as spotting a stolen car, or witnesses a disturbance, APD officers used force a mere 212 times out of more than 242,000 incidents.

APD has improved in two critical areas monitored over the last four years:

1. Supervisory and investigative staff are better tracking if officers are using their on-body recording devices. In 2016 this indicator was incomplete for over 50% of officers involved in force cases. As of 2019, fewer than 2% of officers involved in force cases are missing the data.

2. APD officers are more often capturing force events. As of 2019, over 88% of officers involved in a force events recorded the encounter in full. Every year 2016 through 2019 has seen an increase in the percentage of officers recording force events in full.
(See page 19 of use of force report)

Standoff Mode Makes up 98% “electronic control weapon” (ECW) use by APD. . As far as ECW use, drive-stun mode, or placing the ECW directly on the individual, alone is used in less than 2% of applications.

(Page 34 of report)

The malfunction of body cameras was reported as a major a concern. In 2016, more than half of officers involved recordings in force cases were incomplete. In 2019, more than 88% of those events were fully recorded.

The Southeast Area Command, the area south of I-40 and east of I-25 had the most dispatched calls for service. APD saw a 130% increase in calls for service in Southeast Area Command, more than any other area command.

The Southeast Area Command experiencing more force incidents than other area commands for the reason that it receives a higher volume of calls for service and more calls more frequently associated with force incidents.

There are 4 major call types associated with use of force:

Disturbance
Family dispute
Suspicious person
Suspicious vehicle

http://www.cabq.gov/police/documents/2016-19-albuquerque-police-department-annual-use-of-force-report.pdf

According to the report:

“It is unclear what may be driving the increase in use of force incidents from 2017 to 2018 and again from 2018 to 2019. … More proactive policing strategies, better reporting of force incidents and other initiatives may account for this increase. Additionally, four years of data is insufficient to draw conclusions about trends over time; the fluctuations may be simply ‘regression to the mean.’”

(Page 17, Use of Force report.)

STATISTICAL HIGHLIGHTS FOR CALLS FOR SERVICE 2016-2019 BY AREA COMMAND

All computer-aided dispatches (CADs) deemed as “calls for service” are tabulated in the report. The report then narrows to focus on only those CAD calls which generate a case number. Final call types, rather than original call types, are considered.

A call for service does not include calls such as sending crime scene technicians, requesting tow trucks, etc. A call for service does not include “be on the lookout” (BOLO) calls, traffic stops or other officer-initiated action (OIA). Data from 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 are included for each of the six area commands served by APD, Foothills, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest and Valley.

The use of force report provides vertical bar graphs to dispatched calls for service for each of the 6 areas command for the years of 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 that do not provide exact total or the raw numbers are and just the bar graphs. Based on the bar graphs provided the following numbers can be “gleaned” or projected for each area command for the time period of January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2019:

FAR HEIGHTS (FH) Area Command: Between 50,000 to 60,000 calls for service each year.

EDITORS NOTE: The Far Heights Area Command, also known as the or 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.

NORTH EAST (NE) Area Command: Between 77,000 and 90,000 calls for service each year.

EDITORS NOTE: 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.

NORTH WEST (NW) Area Command: Between 40,000 and 50,000 calls for service each year.

EDITORS NOTE: 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.

SOUTH EAST (SE) Area Command: Between 85,000 and 105,000 calls for service each year.

EDITORS NOTE: 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.

SOUTH WEST (SW) Area Command: Between 40,000 and 50,000 calls for service each year.

EDITORS NOTE: 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 (VA) Command: Between 70,000 and 80,000 calls for service each year.

EDITORS NOTE: 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.

(See page 10 of use of force report for bar vertical bar graphs.)

RACE IS NOT DETERMINING FACTOR IN THE INCREASE IN USE OF FORCE NUMBERS NOR CALLS FOR SERVICE

While the use of force report shows a much higher number of “use of force cases” in the Southeast Area Command where larger numbers of people of color live the, data reflects that it’s because the SE Area Command has the highest number of calls for service and it has nothing to do with race.

APD Data Analyst Katherine Jacobs said when looking at demographics, the sample sizes are too small for differences among races to be significant and explained it this way:

“It would appear that African Americans and Native Americans are perhaps over represented when it comes to uses of force; we did run some statistical testing to find if that’s statistically significant and its inconclusive. … When you norm it against calls for service, when you look at it as a ratio, its fairly comparable across all area commands. … We don’t have a large enough sample size to determine if certain populations are overrepresented.”

https://www.abqjournal.com/1510440/apd-use-of-force-increased-from-2017-to-2019.html

NUMBER OF ARRESTS

Arrest is defined as “the taking of one person into custody by another. To constitute arrest there must be an actual restraint of the person. The restraint may be imposed by force or may result from the submission of the person arrested to the custody of the one arresting the person. An arrest is a restraint of greater scope or duration than an investigatory stop or detention. An arrest is lawful when supported by probable cause.”

The number of arrests for the four years of 2016-2019 are as follows:

2016: 14,022 total arrests made
2017: 13,582 total arrests made
2018: 15,471 total arrests made
2019: 15,151 total arrests made

TOTAL NUMBER OF ARREST MADE BY APD: 58,226

(Page 14, Use of Force Reports)

FORCE INCIDENTS IN CONTEX OF NUMBER OF CALLS OUTS

“Given how much interaction APD officers have with the public in a given year, as measured by the volume of calls for service, officer-initiated actions and arrests, force events are an extremely rare occurrence. From the years of 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, roughly 1 per 500 hundred to 1,000 calls for service and officer-initiated actions are associated with a use of force. Between 4% and 5% percent of arrests are associated with force.”

Following is the breakdown of statistics for each year:

2016:
Dispatched Calls: 422,471
Officer Initiated Actions (OIAs): 45,672
Custodial Arrests: 14,022
Force Incidents: 524

2017:
Dispatched calls: 429,598
Officer Initiated Actions (OIAs): 55,856
Custodial Arrests: 13,582
Force Incidents: 570

2018
Dispatched calls:410,538
Officer Initiated Actions (OIAs): 70,151
Custodial Arrests: 15,471
Force Incidents: 643

2019
Dispatched calls: 370,036
Officer Initiated Actions (OIAs): 70,903
Custodial Arrests: 15,151
Force Incidents: 768

TOTAL APD FORCE INCIDENTS: 2,505

(Page 15, Use of Force report)

GENERAL FINDINGS OF “USE OF FORCE”

There are a variety of the types of use of force techniques represented in the report statistics and they include Empty Hand, Solo Takedowns, Team Takedowns, electronic control weapons (ECW), Impact 44 mm, Pain Compliance, Hand – Feet Impact, Police Service Dog Apprehension – Bite, Firearm (officer involved shooting), Impact – Beanbag, OC Spray, NFDD, Improvised Weapon, Empty Hand Takedown, OC Vapor and Baton Takedown.

Empty hand techniques, takedowns and ECWs are consistently the most overwhelmingly used type of force with the others often used reported in single digit numbers. ECW – Painting and Display Handgun Comprise 77% of Shows of Force.

(Page 26, Use of Force report)

STATISTICAL HIGHLIGHTS USE OF FORCE:

“EMPTY HAND TECHNIQUES” (EHT) are defined as strikes, grabs, kicks, takedowns, distraction techniques and proper arrest techniques to control an actively resistant individual. EHTs increased steadily each year for the 4 years. Empty hand technique takedowns and Electronic Control Weapon (ECW) , ie TAZERS are consistently the most used type of force and increasing steadily over the 4 years:

2016: 414 police EHTs
2017: 331 police EHTs
2018: 458 police EHTs
2019: 762 police EHTs.

TOTAL TIMES APD USED EMPTY HAND TECHNIQUES: 1,965

“ELECTRONIC CONTROL WEAPON” (ECW) is a weapon, including those manufactured by TASER International, designed primarily to discharge electrical charges into an individual that will cause involuntary muscle contractions and override the individual’s voluntary motor responses. Following is the number breakdown of ETW incidents for the 4 years:

2016: 60 police using ECWs
2017: 94 police using ECWs
2018: 105 police using ECWs
2019: 106 police using ECWs

TOTAL TIMES APD USED ECW: 365

“FIREARM DISCHARGE” is defined as “when the trigger is pulled on a firearm and releases a projectile”. Following is the number breakdown of “fire arm discharge” incidents for the 4 years:

2016: 8 APD firearm discharges
2017: 19 APD firearm discharges
2018: 23 APD firearm discharges
2019: 15 APD firearm discharges

TOTAL APD FIREARM DISCHARGES: 65

(Page 27 Use of Force Report)

NUMBER OF OFFICERS INVOLVED IN FIREARM DISCHARGES

The Court Approved Settlement Agreement ( CASA) requires APD to track and report all critical firearm discharges and discharges at animals. Changes in APD reporting no longer collect beanbag weapon discharges. Beanbag weapons are considered a less-lethal use of force. The numbers of accidental discharges for 2016 and 2017 have decreased in this revised report as accidental beanbags are no longer included. While both the number of officers and unique incidents increased from 2016 to 2018 with regard to officer-involved shootings, it is worth noting they decreased in 2019.

Below are the number of officers involved in a firearm discharge as well as the number of unique firearm discharges for the years 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Firearm Discharges Count of Officers:

2016
Accidental: 2
Animal: 2
Officer Involved Shooting in Vehicle: 1
Officer Involved Shooting Individual: 7

2017
Accidental: 2
Animal: 2
Officer Involved Shooting in Vehicle: 0
Officer Involved Shooting Individual: 19

2018
Accidental: 0
Animal: 2
Officer Involved Shooting in Vehicle: 1
Officer Involved Shooting Individual: 22

2019.
Accidental: 1
Animal: 2
Officer Involved Shooting in Vehicle:
Officer Involved Shooting Individual: 15

(Page 35 of Use of Force Report)

“SHOWS OF FORCE” STATISTICS FOR DISPLAY HANDGUN, RIFLE USE AND ELECTRONIC CONTROL WEAPON (EWC)

“Shows of force” include the categories of drawing a handgun, pointing a rifle, electronic control weapon (ECW) painting which consists of unholstering and pointing an ECW at an individual while activating the ECW’s laser dot to show that the weapon is aimed at the individual and displaying a bean bag.

Displaying a handgun “ECW- Painting” and comprise 77% of “Shows of Force”.

STATISTICAL HIGHLIGHTS FOR APD POLICE DISPLAY HANDGUN OR RIFLE

“DISPLAY HANDGUN” is defined as drawing and exhibiting a firearm as part of a warning tactic, typically accompanied by appropriate verbalization. Following are the 4-year numbers:

2016: there were 107 police Display Handgun incidents
2017: there were 124 police Display Handgun incidents
2018: there were 143 police Display Handgun incidents
2019: there were 150 police Display Handgun incidents

4 YEAR TOTAL TIMES APD DISPLAYED HAND GUN: 524

(See page 29 of use of force report)

Following are the 4-year numbers the number of incidents where police displayed a rifle:

2016: there were 18 police display rifle incidents
2017: there were 76 police display rifle incidents
2018: there were 54 police display rifle incidents
2019: there were 64 police display rifle incidents

4 YEAR TOTAL TIMES POLICE DISPLAYED RIFLE: 212

ELECTRONIC CONTROL WEAPON PAINTING (ECW Painting) is the act of unholstering and pointing an ECW at an individual and activating the ECW’s laser dot to show that the weapon is aimed at the individual. ECW Arcing is activating an ECW without discharging the probes, sometimes done as a warning to an individual. Following are the 4-year numbers:

2016: 91 police ECW Painting display incidents
2017: 138 police ECW Painting display incidents
2018: 122 police ECW Painting display incidents
2019: 140 police ECW Painting display incidents

4 YEAR TOTAL ECW PAINTING DISPLAY INCIDENTS: 351

(Pages 28, 29 Use of Force report)

http://www.cabq.gov/police/documents/2016-19-albuquerque-police-department-annual-use-of-force-report.pdf

MAJORITY OF INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED IN USE FORCE UNARMED

According to the report, the majority of individuals involved in a use of force incident are not armed. It may appear surprising that many individuals are not armed during a use of force it is important to recognize many officers are electing to not use a weapon either. This finding speaks to APD officers’ ability to use force in proportion during rapidly-changing and unpredictable situations and to respond with an appropriate level of force. Following is the 4-year breakdown:

2016
Unknown: 162
Armed: 63
Unarmed: 183

2017
Unknown: 11
Armed: 103
Unarmed: 308

2018
Unknown: 44
Armed: 121
Unarmed: 340

2019
Unknown: 43
Armed: 97
Unarmed: 472

(Page 54 of use of force report)

OVER 81% OF “USE OF FORCE APPLICATIONS” DO NOT INVOLVE A WEAPON

According to the report over 81% of “use of force applications” do not involve a weapon. Following is the 4-year breakdown:

2016
Involved a Weapon: 101
No Weapon: 732

2017
Involved a Weapon: 198
No Weapon: 558

2018
Involved a Weapon: 211
No Weapon: 726

2019
Involved a Weapon: 196
No Weapon: 1,058

(Page 54 of use of force report)

INDIVIDUALS HOSPITALIZED AFTER INJURY DURING FORCE EVENT

Following is the 4-year breakdown of individuals hospitalized after injury during force event:

2016: 224 total cases, or 55% of total force cases, Number of individuals injured: 228
2017: 256 total cases, or 62% of total force cases, Number of individuals injured: 265
2018: 290 total cases, or 59% of total force cases, Number of individuals injured: 297
2019: 345 total cases, or 57% of total force cases, Number of individuals injured: 349

(Page 55 and 56 of Use of Force Report)

CASES WITH OFFICERS INJURED

Following is the 4-year breakdown of APD officers injured during force event:

2016: 100 cases, number of officers injured: 135
2017: 108 cases, number of officers injured: 125
2018: 120 cases, number of officers injured: 146
2019: 156 cases, number of officers injured: 189

(Page 61 OF Use of Force Report)

19 CIVILIAN DEATHS IN OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTINGS

Over the last four years, 19 individuals have died during a use of force by APD police offices. 18 of the cases were an “officer-involved shootings.” The remaining individual’s death was attributed to “toxic effects of methamphetamine and cocaine and effects of conducted energy device” by the Office of the Medical Investigator. All of these individuals were white males ranging in age from 18 to 59. Each of the individual suspects was armed.

2016: 4 deaths
2017: 4 deaths (3 officer involved shooting, 1 drug related determined by medical examiner)
2018: 7 deaths
2019: 4 deaths

TOTAL DEATHS FROM USE OF FORCE BY APD: 19

(Page 58 of Use of Force Report)

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

APD’s Use for Force number a very small part the overall picture when it comes to the City’s crime rates.

FBI statistics reveal that Albuquerque has the dubious distinction of having a crime rate 194% higher than the national average. Albuquerque has been on the forefront of the trend on violent crime increasing for the last 5 years and homicides have more than doubled. In 2014, the city had 30 homicides and each year thereafter homicides increased and in 2019 the city had 82 homicides, the most in the city’s history. As of October 9, the city has had 58 homicides.

On Monday, September 21, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) release statistics that overall crime in the city is down slightly by 5% across all categories in the first six months of 2020 as compared with the first six months of 2019. The good news is APD reported that crime has decreased 15% since 2018. The bad news is that in some cases, the improvements this year were minuscule.

The city’s crime statistics will be reported in another future blog article.

NOTHING ON APD’S INTERACTION WITH MENTALLY ILLL

On April 10, 2014, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Civil Rights Division, submitted its scathing 46-page investigation report on an 18-month civil rights investigation of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). What differentiates the DOJ’s investigation of APD from the other federal investigations and consent decrees of police departments in the country is that the other consent decrees involve in one form or another the finding of “racial profiling” and use of excessive force or deadly force against minorities.

When it came to APD, a significant amount of the force incidents reviewed was used against persons with mental illness and in crisis. The April 10, 2014 United States Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation found a “culture of aggression” within APD and dedicated a significant amount of the force review against persons with mental illness and in crisis and APD’s specific responses to suspects that were having mental illness episodes. The investigation found APD’s policies, training, and supervision were insufficient to ensure that officers encountering people with mental illness or in distress do so in a manner that respects their rights and is safe for all involved.

Least anyone forget, during the last 10 years, there have been 32 police officer involved shootings and the city has paid out $61 million dollars in settlements to family’s who have sued APD for wrongful death. A significant number of those lawsuits involved the mentally ill. The most memorable APD Use of Deadly Force case was the killing of homeless camper and mentally ill James Boyd in the Sandia foothills in April, 2014 where both SWAT and the K-9 units were dispatched. The Boyd case was settled for $5 million paid to his family for his wrongful death and two SWAT officers were charged and tried for murder ending in a deadlock jury and no acquittal and the charges later dropped against both police officers.

The Use of Force Reports are absolutely critical for the community to evaluate whether the mandated reforms under the CASA are being implemented and working, especially when it comes to APD’s interactions with the mentally ill. When you read and review the entire “Use of Force Report” for the years of 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 a major omission in the report is that there are no statistics regarding APD’s crisis intervention incidents and interactions with the mentally ill, especially by the SWAT unit.

A major concern is that the current report fails to elaborate or explain much other than hard statistics compiled in the various categories mandated by the settlement. The report fails to include data to what to what extent use of force instances were out of compliance with policy, how many officers were disciplined for use of force and if any policy or training changes were made.

The consolidated four-year report does report an increase in the percentages of use of force cases that involved unarmed victims without offering any possible explanation for the increase other than the officers did not use their weapons. APD’s Compliance Bureau in conjunction with the Force Division of APD Internal Affairs should be able to provide more analysis and not just the regurgitation of statistics with vertical bar graphs that are difficult for the public to understand.

The use of force report for the 4 years should also contain a report regarding APD’s interactions with the mentally ill, the number of times the SWAT unit was deployed over the last three years to deal with “crisis intervention” and well as the training of APD officers in crisis intervention.

A link to a related blog article is here:

https://www.petedinelli.com/2019/03/27/apd-use-of-force-report-fails-to-report-on-crisis-intervention-incidents-involving-men