Interim APD Chief Medina Admits Mayor Keller’s 4 Violent Crime Reduction Programs Are Failures; Neither Have Answers, No Solutions To Stopping City’s Rising Crime; Medina Resorts To Plagiarism

On Thursday, February 11, The Albuquerque Journal and Friday, February 12, KOB Channel 4 did remarkable stories that are worth noting. They are worth noting not for what was actually reported on but for revealing that Mayor Tim Keller’s 4 violent crime reduction programs initiated in 2019 are failures. They also revealed that Interim APD Chief is way over his head, does not know what he is doing and he is part of the problem.


On February 11, the Albuquerque Journal headline on the Metro & NM section blared above the fold “APD: Many Shot By Officers Were On Meth”; “Interim Chief Says Solution Is To Address Root Causes”. In the Journal story, APD highlighted the frequency of meth use among those who get into confrontations with police, many of which end up fatal. Medina said he and APD wanted to “raise awareness.”

The Albuquerque Journal story highlighted that the ratio was 3 out of the 6 people shot to death by APD in 2020 had meth in their system. In 2019, the ratio was one out of four. In 2018, when New Mexico ranked worst in the nation for fatal police shootings, it was 5 out of 7, or more than 70%. In both 2016 and 2017, 83% of those killed by APD had meth in their system. Between 2011 and 2015, the number stayed between 50% and 60%.

According to the Albuquerque Journal story:

“Compared with other places nationally, according to the data, Albuquerque had a higher frequency of meth usage connected to police shootings. In San Diego, 32% of those shot or killed by police between 1993 and 2012 had used meth. In San Bernardino, 31% of those shot or killed by police from 2010 to 2015 had used meth. And, in the state of Georgia, 20% of those killed by police from 2012 to 2017 had meth in their system.”

In the Journal story, Interim Chief Harold Medina said that it’s not just about decreasing officer-involved shootings, but also addressing the “lifestyle” and root causes, such as drug use, that lead to deadly encounters. According to Medina:

“We’re looking at the system as a whole – how do we reduce crime and where do we combine our resources to make sure that we’re getting to the root problem. … It’s something that’s impacting us as a community in all aspects and us as a department, so that’s why we’re taking a clear look at this and trying to get more information out. … There are no easy answers or solutions to this and, as a community … we have to have these discussions in order for us to ensure that families have resources. … .”

Medina added he has had family affected by meth use and said:

“If I struggle to get some of my loved ones the assistance they need, as deputy chief of police, what is available out there for the general public?”

In the Journal story, Barron Jones, senior policy strategist with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the trends speak to the need for police to find ways to better de-escalate and, meth or no meth, “keep these people alive.” He then goes on to state:

“I applaud the city in its efforts trying to address this now, but this problem didn’t just spring up yesterday or the last two or three years. … Now that they’re starting to have conversations about it, we can move forward to address it. … .”

The link to the entire Albuquerque Journal article is here:


On February 12, as a matter of sure coincidence with the day before story that meth usage is connected to police shootings, it was reported that a random traffic stop on the West Side in the early morning of February 11, a BCSO Deputy seized duffel bags stuffed with 160 pounds of methamphetamine. The meth was found stashed in brand-new duffel bags in an SUV stopped with price tags still attached.. Erica Gutierrez, 29, and Rodney Rodriguez, 68, both from California, were booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center and charged with distribution of a controlled substance. Given the sure volume of meth seized and the violent nature of drug dealers, the Sheriff’s Deputy did a remarkable job as the incident did not escalate into another shooting involving law enforcement.

A link to a full report is here:


On Friday, February 12, KOB Channel 4 telecast a report entitled “Interim APD chief says pandemic, drugs contributing to crime in Albuquerque.”

Following are the relevant portions of the Channel 4 report by the news station on its web page:


The Albuquerque Police Department has opened up 20 homicide investigations in 2021. Interim APD Chief of Police Harold Medina spoke with KOB 4 about the crime crisis.

He didn’t have details about how many of the homicides have been solved. However, he pointed to an arrest from a January homicide. He also said they have leads in half of the homicides committed this week.

Medina added that he believes the pandemic is contributing to crime.

“I think this is directly related to the COVID situation that we’re in,” he said.

In addition to the pandemic, Medina said drugs are also fueling crime. Medina said he’s working on new strategies to help combat crime.

“One of the things that I’ve implemented as interim chief is we have an 8:45 call every morning that includes all the commanders, all the deputy chiefs, and we discuss what occurred the previous 24 hours. … I even created a new process where we get a 24-hour overall crime report broken down by area command.”

The homicide unit has 14 detectives. Medina said he eventually wants to add two more detectives to the unit.

Medina believes dealing with crime goes beyond the police department. He said the community comes together. But how will that work when it’s still unclear—who the next police chief will be?

“It’s realistic that chiefs aren’t going to be around like they were in the past for decades,” Medina said. “Their short-term goals have to be tied in to long-term sustainable goals that are based on the department’s needs, and are going to be sustained by the department.”


It’s truly amazing that Interim Chief Harold Medina is only now acknowledging that drugs are leading to increases in crime. What is shocking is when he tells the Journal:

“We’re looking at the system as a whole – how do we reduce crime and where do we combine our resources to make sure that we’re getting to the root problem”.

It is shocking in that after 24 years with law enforcement, and the past 3 years as Deputy Chief, Medina should have already known this and its basic law enforcement.

He also told Channel 4 that “he believes dealing with crime goes beyond the police department … and the community [needs to] comes together”

ACLU Senior Policy Strategist Barron Jones said it best with a little sarcasm:

“I applaud the city in its efforts trying to address [the root causes of crime] now, but this problem didn’t just spring up yesterday or the last two or three years. … Now that they’re starting to have conversations about it, we can move forward to address it. … .”


Interim APD Chief Harold Medina tells Channel 4 that he’s “working on new strategies to help combat crime.” What happened to the old strategies? Mayor Keller, APD and the city can only hope Medina’s “new” strategies will be far more effective than those that Medina has worked on during the past 3 years when he was Deputy Chief for Field Services. A discussion of those strategies are in order:


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:

1. The Shield Unit

In February 2018 the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) created the “Shield Unit”. The Shield Unit assists APD Police Officers to prepare cases for trial and prosecution by the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office. The unit originally consisted of 3 para legals. It was announced that it is was expanded to 12 under the 2019-2020 city budget that took effect July 1, 2019.

2. Declaring Violent Crime “Public Health” issue

On April 8, 2019, Mayor Keller and APD announced efforts that will deal with “violent crime” in the context of it being a “public health issue” and dealing with crimes involving guns in an effort to bring down violent crime in Albuquerque. Mayor Keller and APD argue that gun violence is a “public health issue” because gun violence incidents have lasting adverse effects on children and others in the community that leads to further problems.

3. The “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP program)

On November 22, Mayor Tim Keller announced what he called a “new initiative” to target violent offenders called “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP). The VIP initiative was in response to the city’s recent murders resulting in the city tying the all-time record of homicides at 72 in one year. Mayor Keller proclaimed the VIP is a “partnership system” that includes law enforcement, prosecutors and social service and community provides to reduce violent crime. According to Keller vulnerable communities and law enforcement will be working together and building trust has proven results for public safety. Mayor Keller stated:

“… This is about trying to get these people not to shoot each other. …This is about understanding who they are and why they are engaged in violent crime. … And so, this actually in some ways, in that respect, this is the opposite of data. This is action. This is actually doing something with people. …”

4. The Metro 15 Operation program.

On Tuesday, November 26, Mayor Tim Keller held a press conference to announce a 4th program within 9 months to deal with the city’s violent crime and murder rates. At the time of the press conference, the city’s homicide count was at 72, matching the city’s record in 2017. Before 2017, the last time the City had the highest number of homicides in one year was in 1996 with 70 murders that year. Keller dubbed the new program “Metro 15 Operation” and is part of the Violence Intervention Program (VIP) program. According to Keller and then APD Chief Michael Geier the new program would target the top 15 most violent offenders in Albuquerque. It’s the city’s version of the FBI’s 10 most wanted list.

Links to news coverage are here:


On February 12, 2021, Interim Chief Harold Medina told Channel 4:

“One of the things that I’ve implemented as interim chief is we have an 8:45 call every morning that includes all the commanders, all the deputy chiefs, and we discuss what occurred the previous 24 hours. … I even created a new process where we get a 24-hour overall crime report broken down by area command.”

SURPRISE, SURPRISE! If this sounds at all familiar, it should be. It’s essentially former APD Chief Geier’s “Gun Violence Plan”. After being fired by Mayor Tim Keller, Chief Michael Geier told the Albuquerque Journal that he and a commander created a violence reduction plan that included scheduling regular meetings and brainstorming sessions for officers to talk with their supervisors about patterns in fatal shootings and shootings with injury in their area commands and come up with plans to address it.

Geier told the Journal that Medina never embraced the gun violence plan and that Medina went so far as to not instruct his officers to follow it through. Geier said the program was delayed in launching by six weeks, and those under Medina’s command had to undergo remedial training on the project again because they still didn’t understand it. Medina told Geier it was too confusing.

In a memo to Medina, Geier wrote the startling comment that he felt like it’s “almost as if you made an effort to make this program fail … [and your] behavior has “bordered on insubordination.” Geier wrote Medina that he intended to move him from the field services bureau. “I plan on discussing this with [CAO] Sarita [Nair] at our weekly update meeting this coming Friday, September 4th. I expect you to handle your new position as a professional so as to renew my faith and trust in you.” The mistake Geier made was to tell Medina what he was going to do because Medina could not move fast enough to tell Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair what Gieier was up to and the two of them orchestrated Geier’s firing by Mayor Tim Keller. Rumor has it that Medina even suggested a walk in the park Keller had with Geier.


On December 10, 2020, Interim Chief Harold Medina said that there were encouraging signs that APD’s anti-crime operations, such as the Violence Intervention Program (VIP), were having an impact on the city’s violent crime. In support of his argument, Medina pointed out that Albuquerque has had a slight dip in all four violent crime categories of homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Medina had this to say:

“When we started these anti-crime operations in the fall, we wanted to shift gears from reactive to proactive. … One of the things we recognize in crime that’s occurring in the city is … it seems like every time we arrest someone for a violent crime, that individual had a warrant out for their arrest when we took that individual into custody.”

A link to source material is here:

It turns out that Medina spoke way too soon on the success of the 4 programs to reduce violent crime. As of January 31, there were 15 homicides, in the month of January, 2021. The 15 homicides are 2 more than the deadliest month in Albuquerque over the past 5 years. The record was 13 killings in each of the months of September and April of 2019 with 2019 being the record for the highest homicide total in recent history. The 15 homicides do not include one homicide classified as self-defense and do not in include vehicular homicides.

Links to news sources are here:


On January 28, Interim Chief Harold Medina held a press briefing to address the increase in homicides. He was forced to back off on APD’s original assessment that violent crime was down and said:

“It’s apparent now that we’re starting to fall in line with a lot of issues that other major cities in the United States are seeing. … We’re in uncharted territory in a lot of ways … but we wanted to assure the public we’re going to continue conducting operations and making modifications to what trends we’re seeing out there.”

Interim Chief of Police Harold Medina pointed out that crime “is not a straight line” and that APD has been in this position before. Medina said:

“… We’re going to be going through peaks and valleys and that’s where we need to make quick adjustments as a department. … These are a lot of the steps we are doing to make sure that we’re communicating amongst one another as quickly as possible to get on these trends and see how we can devote resources to the problem.”

“I think the key is how we come out of this and how we develop programs and processes that are going to have long-term effects. … It’s really difficult for us right now because we’ve put together some programs that were showing promise. We were getting good results. We were doing well, and now we’ve seen this peak, and it’s really difficult to gauge because these programs. We’re not going to have an assessment until this pandemic is over.”


During the January 28 press briefing, APD Interim Chief Harold Medina said the homicides are not “random” and involve drugs or domestic violence which is the reason many of the victims are women. Medina also went on to lay blame on staffing shortages and the pandemic by saying:

“The number one question is, ‘Should people feel safe?’ … We’re seeing trends in robberies that are related to narcotics and they are escalating to the point where we have homicides that occur as a result of this. … We need a lot more detectives in Homicide so they can devote the time. We have limited resources but we are giving two additional detectives to homicide.”

Links to news sources and quotes are here:


On January 30, APD Interim Chief Harold Medina addressed APD sworn personnel in a 4-minute internal message. The recorded message to all law enforcement personnel is referred to as the “Daily 49 Video”. The number 49 is code talk for police officer.

The recorded “Daily 49 Video” messages are not for release to the general public. In the recorded message, Medina says that APD cannot focus exclusively on fighting crime because it is being forced to divert resources to comply with Department of Justice mandated reforms. The video can be viewed in the entirety at this link:

The most relevant portion of Medina’s recorded statement to APD sworn personnel is as follows:

“I wish, and those of you who know me … know that I would love to sit here and say that we’re going to focus on crime and crime alone. But the reality is that’s not where the Albuquerque Police Department is at this time, and we must change the culture for the good of the community and for the good of our officers. So we’re going to have to make sure that we’re open to ensuring that we move forward on all fronts, the compliance front and the crime front, and it’s a very delicate balancing act, and when we’re able to I intend to give more resources to Investigations.

We recognize the Field [of patrol officers] is short and I’m going to ask commanders in the field to make sure their people are getting information to us on which calls we shouldn’t be dispatching to. So there’s a lot of moving parts to this. We’re well aware of them, we’re committed, and everybody recognize that this is a tough time for law enforcement across the nation.”

When Medina says “we must change the culture” he is ostensibly referring to the DOJ consent decree to change the APD “culture of aggression” found by the DOJ in 2014. What was most surprising is Medina instructed APD Commanders to decide what calls will not be responded to by the police.


During the February 12, 2021 Channel 4 interview, Interim Chief Medina said he did not have details about how many of the homicides thus far have been solved. He did say APD has leads in half of the homicides committed in the week of February 8. On February 12, Medina also told KOB Channel 4 that the homicide unit has 14 detectives and said he eventually wants to add two more detectives to the unit. Based on APDs past history, no one should be optimistic that the homicides will be solved.

For the past three years the homicide clearance percentage rate has been in the 50%-60% range. According to the proposed 2018-2019 APD City budget, in 2016 the APD homicide clearance rate was 80%. In 2017, under Mayor Berry the clearance rate was 70%. In 2018, the first year of Keller’s term, the homicide clearance rate was 56%. In 2019, the second year of Keller’s term, the homicide clearance rate was 52.5%, the lowest clearance rate in the last decade. In 2020 the clearance rate dropped to 50%. Of the 75 homicides in 2020, half remain unsolved. There are only a dozen homicide detectives each with caseloads high above the national average.

On January 29, 2021, Interim Chief Harold Medina held a press conference to discuss the continuing spike in murders in the city. What Medina said in part during the press conference merits repeating:

“I think the key is how we come out of this and how we develop programs and processes that are going to have long-term effects. … It’s really difficult for us right now because we’ve put together some programs that were showing promise. We were getting good results. We were doing well, and now we’ve seen this peak, and it’s really difficult to gauge because these programs – we’re not going to have an assessment until this pandemic is over. … We need a lot more detectives in homicide so they can devote the time. We have limited resources but we are giving two additional detectives to homicide” ”

During the last 3 years, the city has had a record-breaking number of murders. In 2018, there were 69 homicides. In 2019, there were 82 homicides.

Albuquerque had more homicides in 2019 than in any other year in the city’s history. The previous high was in 2017 when 72 homicides were reported. The previous high mark was in 1996, when the city had 70 homicides. The year 2020 ended with 76 homicides, the second-highest count since 1996. The decline dropped the homicide rate from 14.64 per 100,000 people in 2019 to about 13.5 in 2020.

Based on the city’s high violent crime and murder rates, APD is failing is failing in its primary mission of combating crime and keeping the city safe. As the Deputy Chief of Field services, Medina was interictally involved with the programs being administered.

One can only wonder what the hell Deputy Chief Medina was doing as Deputy of Field Services for 3 years, other than planning his “coup de tate” of former Chief Geier, but then again that is the only success Medina has had since returning to APD.

Over 3 years ago on December 28, 2017, it was reported the APD homicide unit was overwhelmed with only 11 detectives when the City reached a record high of 75 murders. APD management, which Medina was the Deputy of Field Services, did nothing to increase the size of the unit.

During an October, 2019 City Council meeting, APD management said it was working on new strategies to ease the workload on APD homicide detectives. During the City Council meeting, APD Commander of Criminal Investigations Joe Burke had this to say:

“I would say in the long term if I was looking at a long-term solution—I believe we need two homicide units. I think the best practices around the nation normally have two homicide units. Detectives should be balancing between three to five investigations and we’re nearly double that.

… We absolutely need detectives in criminal investigations. … I was happy when I went over at the end of July and was briefed on the status of the unit that there’s a plan in place within the executive staff that when cadets are graduating from the academy that we’re going to get a certain percentage specifically for the criminal investigations bureau.”

On November 21, 2019 when the number of homicides hit 72, it was again advocated that the Homicide Investigation Unit be increased from 11 detectives to at least 25 detectives. Further, given the units low clearance rate and past performance, more was needed to be done then with respect to recruiting and training. At the very least, APD needed to ask for temporary assignment of personnel from other agencies such as the Bernalillo County Sherriff’s Department or the State Police to help clear out the cases.

On New Year’ s Eve, December 31, 2019, the City hit a new all-time record of 80 reported homicides, again with an embarrassing clearance rate. It was advocated to increase the Homicide Unit from 11 to at least 25 detectives, and still nothing was done by Medina.


It is as if Interim Chief Medina is attempting to act and sound intelligent so that Mayor Tim Keller will appoint him permanent APD Chief. What his comments did show painfully is he has learned very little over his 24 years of service with the Albuquerque Police Department and has absolutely no idea how to make programs work.

The comments and actions of Interim APD Chief Harold Medina in the recent reports are nothing short of embarrassing. At a minimum, the comments should disqualify Harold Medina him from being appointed permanent APD Chief. Notwithstanding, Medina is one of 3 finalists for APD Chief and City Hall insiders say it is more likely than not Medina will get the appointment.

Maybe Keller will dust off the press release he used when he appointed Geier chief 3 years ago and again say he conducted a national search and guess what, the most qualified person has always been right before our eyes.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.