Police Union Exercises Free Speech Right Using “You Tube” And Political Blogger To Complain; “Counter CASA” Effect Is Not Free Speech But Police Union Actions To Obstruct APD Reforms

In April, the Albuquerque Police Officers Association (APOA) launched a $70,000 ad campaign to discredit the Department of Justice (DOJ) mandated reforms saying the police reforms are preventing officers from doing their jobs and combating crime and increasing crime. The police union claims city leaders have the ability to push back on policies and procedures that they do not believe work for the Albuquerque Police Department.


The Police Union ad campaign is called “Crime Matters More” campaign. The ad campaign consists of billboards around the city and testimonials on TV, radio and social media from former Albuquerque Police Department officers. The public relations campaign urges the public to tell city leaders that “crime matters more” than the police reforms mandated by the settlement.

The public relations campaign included providing an email template for people to use and contact civic leaders. The template says APD has made progress with the reforms and says we are “tired of living in a city filled with murder, theft and violence. … I’m urging you to fight for this city, stand up to the DOJ, and help us save the city we love, before it’s too late. ”

APOA Police Union President Shaun Willoughby described the need for the public relations campaign this way:

“You can either have compliance with DOJ reforms or you can have lower crime. You can’t have both. We think it’s time that our city leaders hear from the public that crime matters more because it does. … They want to focus on the growing crime problem, instead of wasting millions of dollars on endless Department of Justice oversight. … This conversation of reform needs to come back to common sense. … Right now, the City of Albuquerque capitulates to everything the DOJ wants and that might not necessarily be the right direction for the City of Albuquerque. … You don’t need enemies when you have friends like the city attorney. … We believe that our community deserves better from this police department. … We believe our community deserves better from this consent decree process.

[We are asking] for the city of Albuquerque to stand up and support Albuquerque police officers and support common sense reforms that allow our officers to succeed. … . We’re talking about the bureaucracy of police officers being taken off the street because somebody that was not used force on said ‘ow”. And how that impacts this community, our ability to respond to the community and this community’s ability to control crime. Your Albuquerque police officers are terrified that they will lose their job for simply doing their job and it’s not fair.”

The APOA has also used its FACEBOOK page to get the word out with one post saying:

“Are you tired of the growing crime problems facing the city of Albuquerque? Are you tired of break-ins, stolen cars, vandalism, theft and murder being part of everyday living in our community? Then do something! If you don’t speak up and get involved right now, things will get worse. Tell your City leaders that you care more about fighting crime then than wasting millions on endless Department of Justice oversight. Share and make your voices heard because crime matters more.”

The police union ad campaign was not the first time the police union has attempted to publicly disparage the reform process. In a February 11 Target 7 news report Shaun Willoughby, President of the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association said:

“The whole [reform effort] system is set up to fail and the taxpayers and the people that live in this community like me and my family are the ones that are taking the brunt of [violent crime]. … Really look at this process. … It is absolutely out of control. … The entire department and the processes within it are out of control. Your officers are running out the door. Really look at every single state or agency that’s been involved in this process. … What is happening? Did it bring harmony and trust with the community? I don’t think so.”

Willoughby is blaming the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) and its mandated reforms for the city’s high crime rates in Albuquerque and it’s a false narrative even disputed by the unions attorneys.


On June 9, a Federal Court hearing was held on the 13th Independent Monitor’s Report. Three advocacy groups consisting of APD Forward (19 organizations), the Amicus McClendon Sub-Class (Plaintiff’s in a jail overcrowding case) and Amicus Community Coalition (various members of the community) asked the court that the police union be held in contempt of court. Federal Judge James Browning made it very clear to the 3 advocacy groups that the court would not take any action in the case unless such requests were made by the Plaintiff Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Defendant City of Albuquerque (City)


Both the City and the DOJ refused to ask for the union to be held in contempt of court sought by the 3 amicus advocacy groups. During the June 9 hearing, DOJ Attorney Paul Killebrew and the City of Albuquerque Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair were asked point blank by Judge Browning if the DOJ and the City had the “appetite” to seek contempt against the police union and if the Union should be thrown out as a party to the case.


Killebrew’s response was quick and he said in part:

“The Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association, and indeed, the officers of the APD who are its members, have a First Amendment right to speak on a matter of public concern, and they are exercising those rights. I will say that it was not a surprise to me personally to know that the APOA would like the city to renegotiate some terms of the CASA. That has been a flavor of their position from the outset, and so I don’t take that as a surprise. I will say that at any time we are willing to hear out anyone’s proposals for how the CASA can better achieve its aims and whether modifications may be necessary.”


City of Albuquerque Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair, who is also an attorney said , the union’s political ad campaign was a failure. Nair gloated with sarcasm and a snicker over the failure of the police union ad campaign when she said:

“In terms of what actually happens in the larger context of public input, this was a negligible effort … I appreciate that they spent [$70,000], you know, $85 per unique user, but it doesn’t really change the impact. And I believe that seeking sanctions at this point is just going to become a sideshow. … I believe that seeking sanctions at this point is just going to become a sideshow.”


On June 25, it was reported that the APD Police Union initiated a YouTube series of “confessional” videos from APD officers who are reportedly looking for jobs elsewhere. At least 10 videos from officers will be published on You Tube. It shows what the union is calling “the dark side of policing in Albuquerque.” In the videos, anonymous APD officers will be bashing the department complaining they cannot do their jobs with the DOJ reforms and that they are leaving the department.

According to Police Union President Sean Willoughby, the You Tube campaign is another effort to get the city to re-evaluate the Department of Justice’s reform policies and said “There is a more common-sense approach” and says the city is going too far with DOJ reforms when the focus should be on tackling crime.

The first You Tube video was that of an anonymous APD officer who became very emotional and ostensibly teared upped on camera with his face blurred. The anonymous officer who is a first-year rookie cop says he had a goal to work for APD for 4 years before leaving, but now after 1 year, he is quitting. He says he’s still being investigated by APD for how he handled a domestic violence case more than a year ago and said:

“[The suspect] proceeded to fight us, we used force on him, got him in custody and we’re in trouble for that, a lot of trouble. … Most of my life I’ve just said, ‘Hey, do the right thing, work hard, get through it. … Not here. It’s just not sustainable … And that’s what other guys have told me too and that’s why most everybody in my squad is quitting.”

Willoughby claims this officer, who has already accepted another job out of state, isn’t the only one who wants to quit and said:

“I know there’s a huge uptick in the department of officers getting their professional documents and training documents and packets so they can send them to jobs.”

Links to quoted source material are here:





APD Chief Harold Medina said he realizes morale is down for police officers locally and nationwide. Medina said the department is working to tweak its disciplinary policies. Medina had this to say:

“I think there’s a lot of officers frustrated as we work through this process and we learn and it’s unfortunate but we have to meet the requirements of the settlement agreement”. [APD is tweaking the disciplinary policies] … so that it’s easier on officers in terms of when a second violation is committed and the amount of discipline that is imposed. ”


In a response to the police union video series, the mayor’s office issued the following statement:

“Mayor Keller values the work officers are doing and the challenges they face on a daily basis, which is why he has invested in competitive pay, critical technology, and the hiring of more officers to keep communities safe. At the same time, APD has a responsibility to conduct thorough, appropriate internal investigations when the situation requires. We need to support officers as a community to ensure they are well trained to engage in Constitutional, community-based policing.”


Joe Monahan is a “political blogger” who for years has reported on the New Mexico political scene he calls “La Politica”. His Monday through Thursday day columns are widely read by politicians, elected officials and what many would call political junkies who are interested in the political gossip of the day. On Thursday, June 24, New Mexico Politics With Joe Monahan published the following inquiry and comments from police union President Shaun Willoughby:

“As ABQ records its 60th homicide of the year putting it on track for an all time record, we asked Shaun Willoughby, president of the APD officers union (APOA) to offer his explanation for the wave of violence:

The increase in crime we are experiencing across this country is directly related to the lack of respect for law enforcement, the defund the police movement and the liberal agenda that keeps criminals out on the streets instead of behind bars. We have allowed officers to become enemy number one in this country, and as a result we are seeing people leave the law enforcement profession in mass droves and there is no one in line to replace them. The media has told our youth that it’s not a profession to be revered, so why would young people consider becoming a police officer now? Then we have judges, district attorneys, mayors, and governors across the United States, more focused on keeping criminals out of jail then on how to keep people safe in their homes. This crime wave will continue until people start to speak up, get engaged, and support law enforcement to do their job and then value the job they do for our communities.”

The link to New Mexico Politics With Joe Monahan is here:



It was on September 10, 2018, at a status telephone conference call held with the Federal Judge assigned the case at the time that Federal Monitor Dr. James Ginger first told the federal judge that a group of “high-ranking APD officers” within the department were trying to thwart reform efforts. The Federal Monitor revealed that the group of “high-ranking APD officers” were APD sergeants and lieutenants. Because sergeants and lieutenants are part of the police bargaining unit they remained in their positions and could not be removed by the APD Chief. Federal Monitor Ginger referred to the group as the “counter-CASA effect.”

Ginger described the group’s attitude as certainly ambivalent” to the reform effort and the CASA. According to the transcript of the proceeding, Dr. Ginger told the Judge:

“The ones I’m speaking of are in critical areas and that ambivalence, alone, will give rise to exactly the sort of issues that we’ve seen in the past at the training academy. … So while it’s not overt, you know, there’s nobody sabotaging computer files or that sort of thing, it’s a sort of a low-level processing, but nonetheless, it has an effect. … It’s a small group, but it’s a widespread collection of sworn personnel at sergeant’s and lieutenant’s levels with civil service protection that appear to be, based on my knowledge and experience, not completely committed to this process … It is something that is deep-seated and it’s a little harder to find a quick fix or solution to it, but I think, in the long term, by having this foundation with new leadership and a new direction from the top down, we should be able to get through this and survive it.”

The entire 53-page transcript of the conference call can be read here:



In advance of the December 4 hearing on the Federal Monitor’s 12th Compliance Report attorneys and advocacy groups submitted letters to Federal Judge James Browning. The letters outlined what they wanted to discuss at the December 4 hearing.

The reform advocates for the first time in 6 years requested that the Federal Court be far more aggressive with mandating the reforms by appointing a receiver or special master to take over and manage APD. The letters also identified the police union as obstructing the consent decree reforms.

A link to the court document “Notice Letters From Amici and Casa Stakeholders Regarding Issues to be Addressed During December 4, 2020 Public Hearing” is here:


Mr. Cubra in his letter for the McClendon Sub-Class suggests a finding, based on the 12th Monitor’s Report that the City and the Albuquerque Police Officers Association be held in civil contempt of Court. Cubra said in his letter that if the Court could appoint an administrator to oversee APD and give instructions to subordinates in the city government and said:

“That would be a receivership, where the agent of the court could act as the de facto police chief in order to get the existing agreed court order complied with.”

Attorney Cubra noted that the Keller Administration formulated new policies and procedures for investigating excessive use of force a couple of years ago and that those were implemented earlier this year. However, Cubra said systemic problems remain and added:

“Not only did this report find things are still out of compliance, but it found both city employees and union employees actively interfering with the implementation of the court order. … They got a second chance, and they blew it.”

APD Forward in its letter by Peter Simonson points out that the Federal Monitor reports several places where he traces resistance to interference by the police officer’s union. According to Simonson, the current situation is so desperate that putting APD under an outside receivership might be the only way for it to reform. Simonson put it this way:

“I don’t see a way out, and I don’t think APD Forward sees a way out for this reform to succeed. … It doesn’t seem to be an exit strategy. … Given the systemic nature of the problems that the monitor has identified, it seems to us that the situation is too dire to hope that the department and the city can pull together.”

Both Simonson and Cubra said their frustrations extend beyond APD, the city and mayoral administrations. They said they are frustrated that the DOJ hasn’t already done more to make sure APD is complying with the settlement agreement.

A link to related news coverage and sources is here:



The monitoring team was highly critical of APD’s Use of Force Board (UFB), which includes management that are members of the union and reported as follows:

“… [D] during the reporting period we encountered system-wide failures related to the oversight of force used by APD officers and supervisory and command review of those uses of force. The monitoring team has been critical of the Force Review Board (FRB), citing its past ineffectiveness and its failing to provide meaningful oversight for APD’s use of force system. The consequences are that APD’s FRB, and by extension APD itself, endorses questionable, and sometimes unlawful, conduct by its officers.”

(EDITORS NOTE: APD officers and their supervisors of Lieutenants and Sergeants are all members of the police union.)

… Of the cases … reviewed that were approved by the Force Review Board, the [monitoring team] saw:

-Instances where obvious uses of force went unreported and investigated
-Evidence of supervisory failures
-One instance of misconduct in which unjustified force was used on a handcuffed person who was likely suffering from a form of mental disability. …”


The 12TH Federal Monitor’s report makes a number of findings specifically related to the Police Union membership as follows:

“.. APD Internal Affairs routinely permits officers and union representatives to hijack internal fact-finding.

… “[There] are strong under currents of Counter-CASA effects in some critical units on APD’s critical path related to CASA compliance. These include supervision at the field level; mid-level command in both operational and administrative functions, [including] patrol operations, internal affairs practices, disciplinary practices, training, and force review). Supervision, [the] sergeants and lieutenants, and mid-level command, [the commanders] remain one of the most critical weak links in APD’s compliance efforts.

“We have no doubt that many of the instances of non-compliance we see currently in the field are a matter of “will not,” instead of “cannot”! The monitoring team expected there would be a period of time during which mistakes were made while applying the new policies and training, but issues we continue to see transcend innocent errors and instead speak to issues of cultural norms yet to be addressed and changed by APD leadership.”

… Supervision, which includes Lieutenants and Sergeants in the union, “needs to leave behind its dark traits of myopia, passive resistance, and outright support for, and implementation of, counter-CASA processes.”

The link to the City web site with entire 12th Federal Monitor’s report is here:



On May 3, 2021 the Federal Court Appointed Monitor Ginger filed with the Federal Court his 13th compliance report of APD. The 13th Federal Monitor’s report is the harshest report containing very disturbing findings. Following are major highlights of IMR-13:


“At the present time, APD’s most critical tasks are two-fold. …

First, it needs to control the uses of force effectuated by its personnel, ensuring that each use of force is carefully assessed for compliance to approved policy and that each use of force was the minimum necessary to accomplish a legitimate policing objective.

Secondly, APD needs to actually enforce the mandates of its established disciplinary system and ensure that improper uses of force in the field are addressed through fairly applied remedial measures, e.g., counseling, retraining, enhanced supervision, and discipline.”

(IMR 13, page 1)


“… it continues to be apparent that APD has not had and currently does not have an appetite for taking serious approaches to control excessive or unwarranted uses of force during its police operations in the field. Command and control practices regarding the use of force continue to be weak. APD continues to lack the ability to consistently “call the ball” on questionable uses of force, and at times is unable to “see” obvious violations of policy or procedure related to its officers’ use of force.”


“At this point, the disciplinary system at APD routinely fails to follow its own written policy, guiding disciplinary matrices, and virtually decimates its disciplinary requirements in favor of refusals to recognize substantial policy violations, and instead, often sustaining minor related violations and ignoring more serious violations. … In other cases, APD simply defies its own written guidance regarding discipline, for example.”


“… APD is willing to go through almost any machination to avoid disciplining officers who violate policy or supervisors who fail to note policy violations or fail to act on them in a timely manner.”


“… we note this aversion to discipline does not seem to apply to civilian personnel, who are often subjected to maximum penalties for relatively minor violations. To the monitor, this constitutes clear evidence of deliberate indifference to the requirements of the CASA [as applied to APD sworn police personnel]. Again, during this reporting period, we provided APD with highly detailed step-by-step recommendations regarding the use of force investigations and supervision at all levels of the department, among other critical issues. Despite this advice, APD has actually lost ground in its compliance efforts as it relates to training related to and operational implementation of the requirements of the CASA.”

(IMR-13, page 3)


“This monitor’s report can be synopsized in a single sentence. Due to a catastrophic failure in training oversight this reporting period and similar failures at the supervisory and command levels of APD, the agency suffered a 9.9%-point loss in compliance elements related to the training and supervisory functions at APD and a 7.8% loss in overall compliance …. Overall, there is an argument to be made that operational compliance rates have held relatively steady, at slightly less than 60 percent, since IMR-8, two and one-half years ago.”

(IMR-13, page 4. )


During the June 9 hearing, Judge Browning asked Federal Monitor James Ginger if he felt that the settlement reforms was leading to higher crime and what he thought of the police unions ad campaign. Ginger told the court:

“[The ad campaign is] a union canard. We’ve talked about the counter-CASA effect in Albuquerque for years and years, and it is still alive and well. This latest process from the union is just another piece of counter-CASA. The union would like us out of town, I’m sure, and remember this monitoring team – as much as we love Albuquerque – would be glad to be done with the job. But we’re not going to give passing scores unless passing scores are earned. … [if the city] will actually focus on compliance” [it could be done with the CASA in 2 to 3 years]. … We’re constantly making the same recommendations over and over and over again,” Just like this time – 190-plus recommendations. It’s a get-out-of-the-CASA-free card, those 190 recommendations. What’s dragging this out, quite frankly, your honor, is a police department not focusing its resources on complying with the CASA.”


It is clear that the Police Union, its President and its members of Lieutenants and Sergeants are emboldened to do and act anyway they please under the charade of their first amendment rights of freedom of speech. Their actions have become far more aggressive because the City, the DOJ and the Court have refused to take action against the police union for its behind the scenes activities known as the “Counter CASA Effect” to undermine the police reforms .


Shaun Willoughy’ s comments to New Mexico Politics With Joe Monahan are without a doubt protected free speech but he plays fast and loose with the facts. Willoughy totally ignores the main causes why there is a lack of respect for law enforcement today. He ignores the real cause of the defund the police movement. Both have nothing to do with any kind of a “liberal agenda” but everything do to with how police have lost the respect of the general public because of systemic racism, their own crimes on duty, their own police misconduct, police using excessive force and deadly force, and police violating people’s civil rights and constitutional rights, all conduct that has been overlooked for decades or covered up by far too many police departments across the country.

It was APD police misconduct that resulted in the CASA when the DOJ found a “culture of aggression” within APD and a pattern of excessive use of force and deadly force. Cell phone cameras and lapel cameras now document police misconduct, as was the case with the killing of African American George Floyd by Minneapolis Police officer Derick Chauvin who was sentence to 22 and a half years in prison and the killing of mentally ill homeless camper James Boyd in Albuquerque gunned downed by the APD SWAT officers.

Willoughby also uses the line of attack against politicians, judges and prosecutors as being “focused on keeping criminals out of jail”, which is a lie. Judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys are all required to follow the law, ensure due process of law and protect constitutional rights. Prepared garbage in by police becomes garbage out in the form of dismissals and not guilty verdicts. Ultimately it is the application of the law to the facts that decides if and when a person goes to jail.

Police often resent actions and criticism by “politicians” and the media with police not understanding that it is civilian oversight and holding law enforcement accountable. It is the elected officials, the politicians, who are ultimately held accountable for what cops do. No one forces anyone to become a cop. If any cop feels it is too dangerous to be a cop, or they do not want to engaged in constitutional policing practices or follow standard operating procedures, they need to move on and find another line of work.


The three advocacy groups of APD Forward (19 organizations), the Amicus McClendon Sub-Class (Plaintiff’s in a jail overcrowding case) and Amicus Community Coalition (various members of the community) within the last 7 months have sought 2 very different remedies from the Federal Court Judge James Browning during the status conferences on the Monitors 12th and 13th reports:

1. On December 4, 2020 the 3 amici groups asked the Federal Court for the appointment of a receiver to take over APD.

2. On June 9, 2021, the 3 amici groups asked the Federal Court to hold the third-Party Intervenor police union in Contempt of Court for undermining the reform process with a $70,000 public relations campaign.



During the December 4, 2020 hearing, Paul Killebrew, Special Counsel for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, said that after the 12th Federal Monitor’s report was released on November 2, the DOJ and the City realized that something had to be done. If not agreed to by the city, the DOJ would have to take aggressive action.

Killebrew told Federal Judge Browning on December 4:

“The city agreed the problems were serious and needed to be addressed … that’s significant. If we had gone to the city and the city disagreed with our picture of reality, and had they not been willing to address the problem we identified, I think we would be in a different posture … We might have needed to seek enforcement action over the city’s objections.”

“APD has proven over and over again its agility to avoid the requirements of the CASA.”

Killebrew had this to say about contempt of court and the appointment of a receiver, and the and the creation of the External Force Investigation Team (EFIT):

“… [W]hat we have is a city that has failed to comply with that court order over and over and over again. It’s not an option right now to do nothing. If we sit back and wait, using all the tools that we have already been using, I don’t know why we would expect things to change on their own. The sense of the United States when we received the monitor’s report was that additional interventions were required. …

When we read [the 12th report], we believed that there were likely grounds for contempt, and that we could probably make a good case for a receivership, at least as it regards serious force investigations.

This [EFIT team] is essentially something short of a receivership, but far more extensive than what is occurring now. What we’re talking about is having external folks assisting Albuquerque investigators in each investigation to ensure that those investigations identify out-of-policy force and to ensure that there is a strong factual record available so that policy violations can be identified and that officers can be held accountable. That is simply a nonnegotiable term of the consent decree.

We must have officers held accountable for out-of-policy force, and after six years, we cannot wait for that to happen any longer.”


It is downright pathetic that DOJ Attorney Paul Kilibrew took the easy way out proclaiming the unions ad campaign is “protected free speech” so that he could avoid doing his job. The DOJ told the court that the union was not a party to the CASA, the union is not required to defend the reforms and the union was merely “expressing its opinions on a matter of public interest.” The unions activities has been far more than expressing opinions on a public matter.

The DOJ essentially made all the arguments why the union should not be held in contempt of court and just ignored the Counter CASA effect and the unions activities to undermine the reforms. What should be nonnegotiable is to require accountability from the union for its obstructionist’s activities to undermine the consent decree.

Judge Browning did not rule that the ad campaign was protected free speech. The Judge did not indicate what he felt about the ad campaign nor if it was out of line for a third-party intervenor. The courts only inquiry was if the DOJ or the City had the “appetite” to seek sanctions.

Judge Browning asked Union President Willoughby how long he thought it would be before the CASA goes away, and Willoughby said 6 more years. Browning then asked Willoughby that if he felt the DOJ was going to be here for 6 more years, why was the ad campaign undertaken. Willoughby said to allow public input.

Browning asked the City and the DOJ more than once if they had the “appetite” to want the union held in contempt for their actions or “thrown out” of the case. Browning made it clear in other hearings that he would NOT do anything that was not asked for by the DOJ and City. It was the City and DOJ that decided not to seek contempt of court or sanctions, ostensibly that is why Browning did not do anything at all, not even caution or worn the union about the propriety of their actions.


In a previous ruling on a motion in the case, Judge Browning ruled the police union does not have the duty to defend the CASA. The ruling did not mean the Court gave the union and its membership the right to sabotage and resist implementation of the reforms by use of union membership that are APD management which are what the Sergeants and Lieutenants are: APD management.

When DOJ Attorney Paul Killibrew told Judge Browning “ … the officers of the APD who are its members, have a First Amendment right to speak on a matter of public concern, and they are exercising those rights” Killebrew totally ignored what the union has been doing in private to undermine the reforms for the past 6 years such as objecting to the use of deadly force and delaying the rewrite of the policy for a full year by repeatedly demanding changes. What is NOT protected free speech is the unions conduct of undermining the reforms through its membership of Sergeants and Lieutenants.

Federal Monitor Ginger has repeatedly said that the Sergeants and Lieutenants are the “counter casa effect”. Ginger said it again in reference to the police ad campaign which is worth repeating:

“[The ad campaign is] a union canard. We’ve talked about the counter-CASA effect in Albuquerque for years and years, and it is still alive and well. This latest process from the union is just another piece of counter-CASA. The union would like us out of town, I’m sure, and remember this monitoring team – as much as we love Albuquerque – would be glad to be done with the job. But we’re not going to give passing scores unless passing scores are earned. … [if the city] will actually focus on compliance” [it could be done with the CASA in 2 to 3 years]. … We’re constantly making the same recommendations over and over and over again,” Just like this time – 190-plus recommendations. It’s a get-out-of-the-CASA-free card, those 190 recommendations. What’s dragging this out, quite frankly, your honor, is a police department not focusing its resources on complying with the CASA.”


The police union with its You Tube Video campaign is now taking its “Crime Matters More” to a whole new level with the use of testimonial videos in an effort to change or modify the CASA. The Police Union, as a third-party intervenor, should be taking their grievances to the Federal Court, and not the “court of public opinion”.

The police officers who are giving the YOU TUBE testimonials solicited by the union could just as easily testify in court. It is likely they do not want to because they would be placed under oath and subject to cross examination by the DOJ and the City Attorney. The union attorneys are more than capable of filing pleadings in support or opposition of the CASA, present evidence under oath to the Judge and make argument in a court of law as to how the CASA reforms should be changed.


The Federal Monitor has declined to make any recommendation to the court remove the Union as a party to the case nor even demand that Sergeants and Lieutenants be removed from the union and made at will employees for the “counter casa effect”. The Federal Monitor relies on his tired old refrain of “it’s not my job, I only audit and report”. It may not be the monitor’s job to take action, but it is the job of the DOJ and it is resistant to get aggressive and ask for relief over the unions Counter CASA Effect.

APD sergeants and lieutenants, even though they are part of management with supervisory authority over sworn police officers, are not “at will” employees and they are allowed to join the police union and benefit from its civil service protection. Including sergeants and lieutenants in the collective bargaining unit creates a clear conflict within management and sends mixed messages to rank and file sworn police officers.

APD police sergeants and lieutenants are on the front line to enforce personnel rules and regulations, standard operating procedures, approve and review work performed and assist in implementing DOJ reforms and standard operating procedures policies.

Sergeants and lieutenants need to be made at will employees and removed from the police union bargaining unit in order to get a real buy in to management’s goals of police reform and the CASA. APD Police sergeants and lieutenants cannot serve two masters of Administration Management and Union priorities that are in conflict when it comes to the CASA reforms. Until sergeants and lieutenants are removed from the union and made at will employees, do not expect the CASA reforms.

The New Mexico Public Employees Bargaining act is very clear that “management employees” are prohibited from joining the police union for the rank and file, yet the City for years has allowed APD Lieutenants and Sergeants to be part of the collective bargaining unit that represents lower ranking officers. Judge Browning is encouraged to enter a sua sponte order removing Lieutenants and Sergeants from the police union for their counter casa actions.

Unless something is done and done soon, the APD Police Union will continue with its disruptive nonsense of undermining the reforms to prevent compliance of the mandated reforms as it runs the clock on yet another Mayor and APD Chief.

A link to a related blog article is here:

NY Times: “How Police Unions Became Such Powerful Opponents to Reform Efforts”; This Sounds WAAAY Too Familiar! Dismiss Police Union As Party To Federal Lawsuit

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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.