“Red Flags” Of Confrontation Emerge Against Mayor Tim Keller With 4 New Council Members To Be Sworn In On Jan. 1st; Election Of Democrat Or Republican City Council President, Vice President Will Set Tone Of Cooperation Or Confrontation

On Saturday, January 1, 2022, along with Mayor Tim Keller, four new Albuquerque City Councilors will be sworn into office making it the single largest city council transition in the last 20 years.

It was in 2001 that 5 new city councilors were sworn into office. Those Councilors were Democrats Michael Cadigan, Eric Griego, Miguel Gomez, and Republicans Sally Mayer and Tina Cummins. This year, the City Council went from a 6-3 majority Democrat to a 5-4 majority Democrat.

The 2022 new council is far more conservative as a result of the departures of progressive Democrats Lan Sena and Diane Gibson. The 4 new city councilors who will be taking their oaths of office on January 1, 2022 are:

District 1 Louis Sanchez, conservative Democrat
District 5 Dan Lewis, Conservative Republican
District 7 Tammy Fiebelkorn, Progressive Democrat
District 9 Renee Grout, Conservative Republican

The councilors they will be joining on the 9 member council are:

District 2 Isaac Benton, Progressive Democrat
District 3 Klarissa Peña, Moderate Democrat
District 4 Brook Bassan, Conservative Republican
District 6 Pat Davis, Progressive Democrat
District 8 Trudy Jones, Conservative Republican

Two current city councilors and one newly elected city councilor commented about the changes and what it means to the 9-member city council.

ISAAC BENTON

Longest serving and Progressive Democrat City Councilor Isaac Benton declined to characterize the incoming council as more “conservative ”. Instead, he describes it as “independent-thinking” and had this to say:

[Independent thinking] … might be a good thing right now. … It’s a big reset. … It will be more different than any other transition than I can remember, and everyone has to get used to each other.”

TRUDY JONES

Northeast Heights Conservative Republican Trudy Jones, who has been in office for 14 years, said she is looking forward to the new city council turnover and said this:

“I think it will be a council that is more thoughtful about their legislation rather than just following their leaders. … It’s always beneficial to a council to have some new blood and new vision – people seeing the good and the bad of how things are running and perhaps some great new ideas. … I’m very optimistic about it.”

TAMMY FIEBELKORN

Newly elected Progressive Democrat District 7 City Councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn had this to say:

“I’m really heartened by the conversations I’ve had with [other councilors] on the complete opposite end of the spectrum from me politically. … We’re finding overlap and areas of interest we can agree on. … Talk to me again in three months and see if I’m still saying that.”

Fiebelkorn said she would spend her first month working to secure capital outlay funds from the Legislature and getting to know her peers better. She said she is taking office with “full confidence” in city leaders’ ability to come together to make Albuquerque a better place.

MAYOR TIM KELLER REACTS TO NEW CITY COUNCIL

Progressive Democratic Mayor Tim Keller for his part said he has a history of working with people across party lines both as a State Senator for 6 years and as New Mexico State Auditor for a year and a half and had this to say in a statement:

“This council will be no different just because the rhetoric and partisan landscape may have changed. … What it comes down to is this: we all got elected this cycle to work on our city’s challenges, not to point fingers or play the accountability blame game; we need proactive ideas and solutions to our problems. As long as the new Councilors follow that mandate from voters, we are going to have [a] great relationship.”

The link to news quotes is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2456775/city-council-undergoing-most-turnover-in-20-years.html

During the January 1, 2022 swearing in ceremony, Mayor Keller told the 4 new City Councilors:

“For the new Councilors, you are ABQ’s newest politicians whether you like that label or not. Now you’re in the crosshairs of accountability for results. It’s time to move forward, to put the election, the negativity, the talking points and the partisanship behind us, it’s time to govern. Here’s the thing about a governing, it takes commitment to real results, real progress; and all of that, takes real work.”

The YOU TUBE link to the swearing in ceremony is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbgQ5835qrQ

CITY COUNCIL RESISTANCE TO MAYOR TIM KELLER ALREADY SURFACING

Notwithstanding all the optimism expressed by 3 city councilors about the new city council, at least another 3 city councilors who will be be sworn in are already making it known things are about to change dramatically for Mayor Tim Keller.

DISTRICT 1 CONSERATVE DEMOCRAT LOUIS SANCHEZ DEMANDS TERMINATIONS

On November 2, 2021, conservative Democrat Louis Sanchez defeated progressive Democrat incumbent Lan Sena, who was appointed by Mayor Tim Keller to fill the vacancy and complete the term of long-time west side City Councilor Ken Sanchez who died on January 1, 2021. On November 15, a $110 million bond proposal resolution was formally introduced to the City Council and sponsored by outgoing progressive Democrat Incumbent Lan Sena.

Soon after the $110 million bond proposal was introduced, City Councilor Elect Louis Sanchez began to made a big stink that he should not have to wait until January 1, 2021 to join the city council. He demanded that he should be sworn immediately replacing Lan Sena so that he could participate in the December 6 city council meeting on the $110 bond package and saying the new 4 incoming councilors should be involved in such significant actions and said:

“This is a great deal of money. … It’s a big decision, and it’s a decision that shouldn’t be rushed.”

Sanchez went so far as to threaten to file a civil lawsuit, did news interviews and was interviewed on the Bob Clark morning radio program. Clark is decisively a right-wing Republican. Sanchez was no doubt emboldened when the Albuquerque Journal editorialized that he should file a lawsuit and get a definitive court ruling on the issue if he should be sworn into office immediately. The link to the editorial is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2452128/take-council-seat-to-court.html

Confidential City Hall sources have confirmed that City Councilor elect Louis Sanchez met with Mayor Tim Keller in the Mayor’s Office and a verbal confrontation occurred wherein Sanchez demanded that City Attorney Esteban Aguilar and City Clerk Ethan Watson both be fired over their refusal to swear him in as the new City Council for District 1. According to confidential sources, Keller declined to terminate them. Sanchez told Mayor Keller that he intended not to vote to confirm either of them if they were not fired.

DISTRICT 5 DAN LEWIS “RETREAD EXTODINARE” INTENDS TO BE DISRUPTIVE TO RUN FOR MAYOR IN 2025

District 9 Conservative Republican City Councilor elect and “retread extraordinaire” Dan Lewis previously served two terms on the City Council from 2009 to 2017. On November 2, Lewis defeated incumbent Democrat Cynthia Borrego who had replaced him 4 years ago.

Lewis ran unsuccessfully for Mayor against Tim Keller in 2017. Keller won the 2017 runoff by a decisive landslide by securing 60,219 votes or 62.20% against Dan Lewis who secured 36,594 or 37.8% of the vote.

LEWIS RESORTED TO FALSE AND MALICIOUS ATTACKS TO RETURN TO COUNCIL

A few days before the November 2 election day, Republican Dan Lewis authorized Mc Clesky Media Strategies to send out a political hit piece mailer against Incumbent City Councilor Cynthia Borrego. The hit piece is a major “red flag” as to what Dan Lewis intends to do once he is sworn in as city council. The flyer reflects to what lengths Lewis is willing to go to win a political dispute. For that reason, the hit piece merits review and is a prediction what Lewis intends to do once sworn into office.

The political hit piece arrived on November 1, the day before election day. The hit piece was replete with lies and innuendo. Borrego did not have the time nor funding to respond. The mailer states in bold black letters that Borrego “Supports Sanctuary City” and says “Borrego voted to pass Sanctuary City policy that protects illegal immigrants who commit crime even for rape and murder.” These statements are absolute lies by Dan Lewis, this coming from someone who professes to be a Christian Pastor.

There is no such sanctuary city policy “that protects illegal immigrants who commit crime even for rape and murder.” Albuquerque has never been a “sanctuary city” and it’s not at all likely it is ever going to be one. The truth is that in 2001, a full 10 years before Borrego became a city councilor, the Albuquerque City Council enacted a resolution that declared Albuquerque an “immigrant-friendly” city. The “immigrant-friendly” resolution is symbolic and was sponsored by then-Republican City Councilor Hess Yntema, whose wife is a naturalized United States citizen from Columbia.

On the other side of the flyer Dan Lewis proclaims he will “Fight crime by ending “Catch and Release” of criminals from jail. This too is another Lewis lie in that the City Council has no control over the criminal justice system, let alone the jails and the courts. This is the very same “bullshit” promise Lewis made when he ran for Mayor 4 years ago and threatened to plaster judges faces on billboards to supposedly hold them accountable for failure to hold those charged with a crime until trial.

LEWIS STAMEMENTS MADE AFTER ELECTED

Actions and statements made by Lewis after he was elected on November 2 also reveal “red flags” on what he will be doing once sworn in.

On November 17, it was reported that City Councilor elect Republican Dan Lewis, strenuously object to the outgoing city council considering and voting on $110 million in general obligation bonds with a mere few weeks left in the year. Lewis said at the time:

“Four city councilors who would make a decision on this won’t even be here in January. … For that reason alone we need to deal with this with a new council in January.”

On November 23 New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan reported that backers of Lewis who have spoken with him said he “will demand accountability” from the administration and shake up the council which they say “has been a joke.” Lewis has said he is in the running to be the next city council president. Lewis has said once he becomes City Council President, he will end all Zoom meetings started at the beginning of the pandemic and that he intends to aggressively question Keller’s department directors, including APD management and Mayor Keller’s representatives in person. Lewis is also making it know that he intends to run for Mayor again in 2025.

Lewis told www.PeteDinelli.com after he was elected “you better believe that this mayor will be accountable now” essentially saying he intends to be as disruptive as possible over the next four years.

DISTRICT 9 REPUBLICAN RENEE GROUT AND THE LIES SHE PROMOTES

District 9 Conservative Republican City Council Renee Grout, who replaced Conservative Republican Don Harris, had this to say about the new city council she is about to become a part of:

“There’s going to be more checks and balances [with the new council members. Mayor Keller’s] unchecked power is going to be different.”

Grout has said she will use her early days in office to research, ask questions and listen. This coming from a liar and the lies she told her constituents along with a promise made to get elected.

On December 1, Republican Renee Grout mailed out a false “hit piece” campaign mailer against her opponent Democrat Rob Grilley. The political hit piece proclaimed:

“Grilley supports Sanctuary City that protects violent criminals . … Rob Grilley supports Sanctuary City policy that forces police to hide illegal immigrants from federal authorities, even if they commit crimes like rape or murder! In bold, bright red letters appear the words: “Protecting Violent Criminals.”

Below these words appears the following text:

Jaqueline Vigil, a mother of two New Mexico Police Officers, was murdered by Luis Talamantes-Romero, an illegal immigrant with a lengthy criminal history. Vigil’s killer should have been deported before, but the city’s sanctuary city policy forced police to hide him from immigration officials.

The political hit piece attacking Democrat Rob Grilley was simply a pack of lies told by Republican Renee Grout who resorted to fear tactics and misinformation to distract voters. Simply put, Albuquerque has never been a “sanctuary city” and it’s not likely it is ever going to be one. The truth is that in 2001, the Albuquerque City Council enacted a resolution that declared Albuquerque an “immigrant-friendly” city. The resolution was sponsored by then-Republican City Councilor Hess Yntema, whose wife is a naturalized United States citizen from Columbia.

An “immigrant-friendly” city implements “welcoming city” policies and does not provide for city enforcement of federal immigration laws, and addresses only city services, including licensing and housing. The focus is to create inclusive, immigrant-friendly, and welcoming policies. Albuquerque’s “immigrant-friendly” designation welcomes immigrants to the city and is mainly symbolic.

The accusation in the flyer “Vigil’s killer should have been deported before, but the city’s sanctuary city policy forced police to hide him from immigration officials” is the most glaring lie. When the murder occurred, it was first believed to have been a retaliation killing against Vigils’ two state police officer sons. APD did NOT “hide her killer from immigration officials” because APD had no idea who her killer was, and a search had begun while APD was investigating the murder.

What the investigation found is that the killer was “casing” homes at 5:30 am in the area, he came upon Jaqueline Vigil pulling out of her driveway to go to the gym and he shot her. The truth is Jaqueline Vigil’s killer had already been deported by the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) a few months before the killing.

WHY IT MATTERS

The reason why the political hit piece is so important now before Renee Grout is even sworn in as the new District 9 City Councilor is that she made a political promise to her supporters at events. Grout promised that she would introduce a resolution calling for the repeal of the “sanctuary city”. Demands are already being made by constituents to see the legislation she intends to introduce but to no avail. Renee Grout is keeping her constituents waiting while she proclaims there will be more “checks and balances” on Mayor Keller. Then there is the matter of Renee Grout faced with the very embarrassing fact that she wants to repeal a nonexistent “sanctuary city” resolution.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

The election for a new City Council President and Vice President will be held at the very first meeting of the City Council to be held January 18, 2022. The council president appoints all committee chairs. When the votes are taken on City Council President and Vice President, it will set the tone for at least the next 2 years.

Like it or not, the tone of the new city council will be more conservative with City Councilors Louis Sanchez, Dan Lewis and Rene Grout already showing their willingness to take on and get in the face of Mayor Tim Keller and to obstruct where they can under the guise of holding him accountable.

The challenges the new City Council face are very formidable and include:

1. Historical highs in violent crime rates and murder rates
2. Increasing homeless numbers
3. An ever deteriorating and spiraling out of control Albuquerque Police Department (APD)
4. A failure to implement the 271 mandated reforms of the Deaprment of Justice settlement agreement
5. The continuous problems posed by the pandemic

During the first year under the new city council, you can expect any number of initiatives and votes to setback progressive programs and policies promoted by Mayor Tim Keller over the last 4 years. Major issues that Dan Lewis an Renee Grout are no doubt champing at the bit to oppose Mayor Keller on include:

1.Repeal of the city’s immigration friendly policy that Lewis and Grout falsely label as sanctuary city.

2.Advocacy of late term abortion prohibitions as was placed on the 2013 municipal ballot and which failed. Should Roe v. Wade in fact be overturned by the United States Supreme Court, which is expected in June, it is more likely than not right wing Republicans Dan Lewis and Renee Grout will seek to have abortions outlawed within the city by declaring no licenses to do business within the city shall be issued to any health care corporation provider that offers late term abortions.

3. Opposition to or perhaps repeal of the city’s minimum wage ordinance.

4. Opposition to any mandatory sick leave ordinances for the private sector.

5. Oppose enforcement by Mayor Keller of emergency health care orders for the Corona Virus Pandemic, including opposing any and all-mask mandates and opposing mandatory covid vaccinations of city employees.

6. Reduction in social service programs to help the homeless and the poor, including a scaling back of the Gateway Homeless shelter operations.

7. Opposition to the Department of Justice mandated police reforms.

8. Oppose any and all increases in the gross receipts taxes or property taxes to fund city essential services even when deficits occur.

9. Advocate the reduction in the size of city government and eliminate new departments and programs created by Mayor Keller by denying funding for such Departments as the “Office of Equity and Inclusion” that deals with immigrant relations.

10. Advocacy of increased criminal penalties as part of the city’s legislative package and bail bond reform measures.

MAYOR TIM KELLER

It is very difficult take Mayor Tim Keller serious when he says “…we all got elected this cycle to work on our city’s challenges, not to point fingers or play the accountability blame game”. It was also difficult to keep from laughing out loud On January 1 when Keller told the 4 new city councilors during the city inauguration ceremony “Here’s the thing about a governing, it takes commitment to real results, real progress; and all of that, takes real work.” These words coming from a Mayor who was first elected 4 years ago based upon his inflated public relations reputation as State Auditor and supposedly holding people accountable for “waste, fraud and abuse” by pointing fingers and playing the “blame game” himself to discredit people. These words coming from a mayor who during his first term got away with not being held accountable for breaking promise, after promise, after promise such as not raising taxes without a public vote, failing to increase APD staffing to 1,200 sworn police, failing to implement the DOJ consent decree reforms, and failing to bring down the city’s high violent crime rates and murder rates as he promised. During the last 4 years, Keller perfected the “accountability blame game”, especially blaming the city’s high crime and murder rates on the DOJ reforms and a national trend not to mention blaming his first appointed Chief of Police Michael Geier for APD’s failure to implement the reforms and firing Geier for it.

Mayor Keller’s claim of having a reputation of working with people across party lines and working and getting along with other elected officials is dubious at best. During his first year in office, he vetoed the “Top Golf” economic development funding allocated by the city council, and the council immediately overturn the veto despite being controlled by Democrats. It is well known at city hall that during the last four years, Keller has engaged in petty bickering politics with city councilors, including Progressive Democrats Pat Davis and Diane Gibson. Keller is well known for “snubbing” city councilors to the point of not inviting them to press conferences to announce initiatives held in their districts so that he can take all the credit. Things got so bad between City Councilor Diane Gibson and Mayor Keller that Gibson supported Sheriff Manny Gonzales for Mayor.

Keller said repeatedly when he ran for whatever office he was running for at the time how he would “take on the status quo” . Taking on the status quo was usually democrats. Keller’s former NM Senate colleagues would often complain behind his back about his “grandstanding” ways to seek higher office and his lack of interest in the State Senate process even after they elected him majority whip.

Keller has said that the biggest accomplishment he is the most proudest of as a State Senator is the naming of his Senate District the “International District” and claiming he cleaned up the area and it was no longer the “War Zone”. The truth is that it was under Mayor Marty Chavez that significant progress was made with nuisance abatement actions that cleaned up the area of crime, getting rid of violent bars such as the Blue Spruce and the Last Chance Bar and Grill. After he was elected NM State Auditor, Keller could not move fast enough out of his Senate District and move into the Albuquerque Country Club area. It is ironic now that after Keller became mayor, the International District has once gain become a “War Zone” and violent crime, drug abuse, property crime and murders have spiked in the area even worse than it was 15 years ago when Keller was the State Senator for the area.

RUNNING FOR A THIRD TERM?

Mayor Keller’s penchant for political opportunism and his eyes on much higher office is well known amongst political observers. When he ran for State Senate the first time, he moved into the Senate District to oppose long serving Democratic State Senator Shannon Robinson. After being elected to a second term as State Senator, he immediately ran for New Mexico State Auditor. Keller was elected to a four year term but during his first year as State Auditor, Keller announced he was running for Mayor. Once elected Mayor, Keller resigned having served less that half of his State Auditor term. Republican and former County Commissioner Wayne Johnson, who also ran against Keller for Mayor, was appointed to replace Keller as auditor. Brian Colon, who also ran against Keller for Mayor, later ran against Wayne Johnson and prevailed to become State Auditor. Colon is now running for New Mexico Attorney General.

Keller has said in the past he wants to serve two terms as Mayor and then run for Governor and could run in 4 years to replace Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, if she is elected to a second term in 2022. However, there are no term limitation for the office of Albuquerque Mayor.

There is one farfetched development that is already emerging from reliable sources. According to confidential sources, within a month after his landslide victory over Sheriff Manny Gonzales and Eddy Aragon, a person told Keller they were interested in running for Mayor in 2025. Keller quickly attempted to discouraged that person form doing so. According to the source, Keller said he intends to run for another term as Mayor in 2025. According to the source, Keller said he would announce sometime in 2023 believing the significant amount of federal monies the city will receive from the 2 trillion “Build Back America” bill will go a long way to allow him to take credit for infrastructure and get elected by another landslide.

CONLCUSION

During his first term as Mayor, Tim Keller had absolutely very little or no head winds getting the Albuquerque City council to go along with what he wanted. That is all about to change. Councilor Elect Louis Sanchez no doubt thinks is he is now the swing vote that can make or break Mayor Tim Keller’s progressive agenda. Keller will also have as a nemesis Dan Lewis, who has an axe to grind from 4 years ago, assisted by Renee Grout to do whatever they can to obstruct Keller’s progressive agenda.

Now that it has been determined that the City Council remains a 5-4 Democratic Majority, the biggest test for virtually all 5 of the Democrats is if they retain a working majority. 2022 is a mid-term election year where the Governor, the Attorney General the Secretary of State, all state house members as well as the State’s 3 congressional members are up for reelection. Should a Republican like Dan Lewis be elected City Council President, you can expect them to somehow try and exert influence over the midterms and push controversial policies like repealing sanctuary city, making abortions illegal, oppose pandemic restrictions and oppose mandatory vaccinations of city employees.

The argument that the City Council is nonpartisan, that it does not matter what party the President and the Vice President, is as bogus as it gets given the thousands raised and spent by measured finance committees to get the Republicans elected and to defeat Democrats. The votes for City Council President and Vice President will reveal exactly just what kind of a Democrats they really are or if they Democrats in Name Only (DINO).

Links to related blog articles are here:

$2.64 Million Paid In 2020 Senate Campaign and $450,734 Paid In 2021 ABQ Municipal Election to “McClesky Media Strategies”; McClesky Knows How To “Smear” Candidate Reputations And The Meaning Of “To The Victor Goes The Spoils”; McClesky Forced To Pay $375,000 For Defamation

Hypocrite Dan Lewis Objects To 4 Outgoing City Councilors Doing What He Did 4 Years Ago; “All That Crap” Nobody Reads And Getting “Your Ass Kicked”; Expect 4 Years Of Lewis Hypocrisy As Lewis Runs For Mayor In 2025

The Lies And The Liars That Tell Them; District 9 City Council Republican Candidate Renee Grout Resorts To Lies And Fears Over Immigrants; Republican Political Hit Man Jay Mc Clesky Back At It Again Spreading Lies For His Clients

Increases In DWI Criminal Penalties No Solution When Arrests Are Down Dramatically; Arrest, Charge, Convict And Sentence Is Big Part Of Solution To Bringing Crime Down

The Christmas and New Year’s Holiday Season always brings with it a rise and calls to crack down on DWI offenders. 2021 has been no different. Since Christmas Eve, there have been 14 DWI’s in the metro alone, but frankly that is probably one of the lowest figures in years. In its heyday when the DWI unit was fully up and running, DWI check points would produce hundreds of citations.

Close to 1,800 DWI citations have been given out this year in the Albuquerque metro area . Many were first time offenses, but many were repeat offenders. The blunt truth is, APD is not doing its job on DWI enforcement and it is no longer a priority and neither are arrests in general. On of the biggest factors for this is that the number of sworn police patrolling the streets of Albuquerque is down by the hundreds.

A few of the more notable DWI arrests from this past year include 49-year-old Marlene Whitegoat who was driving 103 mph per hour down I-40 in May, and she was arrested for her 5th DWI offense. 59-year-old Steven Casias had 7 DWI arrests with the latest happening in March when he hit a concrete pillar. 42-year-old Jennifer Whitey has her 7th DWI arrests, with four happening within the past two years and with cases dismissed.

When you look at the outcome of Whitey’s case, one of the charges was dismissed because the officer failed to appear in court. Officer’s failing to appear in court has been a chronic problem for years, if not decades, where DWI cases and other types of cases are dismissed. The sworn police officer shortage has a lot do “failure to appear”.

People who have lost loved one’s in DWI tragedies are once again demanding changes to DWI laws. Jackie Copeline, whose father was killed by a repeat drunk driver offender when she was 7 years old has started a petition asking for stricter DWI enforcement and treatment laws. Copland had this to say:

Growing up without a dad is hard. … It has an effect on anybody. … I don’t think that DWI laws are being enforced. People are getting the minimum sentence, and I don’t think that’s okay.”

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/new-mexico-community-calls-for-change-for-repeat-dwi-offenders/6343209/?cat=500

CHRONIC PROBLEM

New Mexico continues to rank among the worst states for drunk driving. U.S. Drug Test Centers found New Mexico had 460 DWI arrests per 100,000 residents last year. That’s the sixth-worst rate in the country. The state has been in the top 10 every year since 2009. The Dakotas, Wyoming, North Carolina and Mississippi all ranked worse than New Mexico.

https://www.krqe.com/news/new-mexico/new-mexico-ranks-among-worst-states-for-drunk-driving/

NEW MEXICO LAW ON DWI CONVICTION SENTENCINGS

When you look into the sentencing for DWI conviction, your first DWI could land you a minimum of 2 days behind bars. With an 8th DWI conviction, you could be facing 10 years in jail, but that does not translate into people spending all of the time a person is sentenced to in jail.

Then there is the problem of people doing the time but not getting the drug and intervention treatment needed. Prominent criminal defense attorney Ahmad Assed called it “people falling through the cracks” and put it this way:

“We’ve been talking about this topic for decades and quite frankly we still find ourselves almost in the same position. … The mandatory sentences can be completed through an ankle bracelet process or home arrest rather than actually serving out their time at Bernalillo County at MDC. A lot of time you are dealing with a medical issue [that no one gets treatment.]”

CITY 2022 ADOPTED APD BUDGET CONTAINS TOTAL ARRESTS FOR 2019 AND 2020

The City’s 2022 adopted budget for APD on page 151 contains APD’s arrests statistics for 2019 and 2020. APD’s budget is called a “performance-based budget” because each department is required to submit statistics to justifying its budget. Arrest numbers for felonies, misdemeanors as well as DWI are revealed in the APD budgets.

APD statistics for the budget years of 2019 and 2020 reflect that APD is not doing its job of investigating and arresting people. APD felony arrests went down from 2019 to 2020 by 39.51%, going down from 10,945 to 6,621. Misdemeanor arrests went down by 15% going down from 19,440 to 16,520. DWI arrests went down from 1,788 in 2019 to 1,230 in 2020, down 26%. The total number of all arrests went down from 32,173 in 2019 to 24,371 in 2020 or by 25%. Bookings at the jail have plummeted from 38,349 in 2010 to 17,734 in 2020. To have booking, there must be arrests, to have sentences, there must be convictions.

Following is the breakdown of arrest for the years 2019 and 2020 as gleaned from the city budget:

NUMBER OF DWI ARRESTS
2019: 1,788
2020: 1,230 (DOWN 26%)

NUMBER OF MISDEMEANOR ARRESTS

2019: 19,440
2020: 16,520 (DOWN 15%)

NUMBER OF FELONY ARRESTS

2019: 10,945
2020: 6,621 (DOWN 39.51%

TOTAL NUMBER OF ARRESTS FOR 2019: 32,173
TOTAL NUMBER OF ARREST FOR 2020: 24,371
DOWN 25%

(2022 APD Budget, page 151)

The link to the budget is here:

https://documents.cabq.gov/budget/fy-22-proposed-budget.pdf

NEW 911 PRIORITY CALL DISPATCH SYSTEM AN DWI

For decades, APD had a 3 priority 911 dispatch system. On March 7, 2019, APD announced a major change in the way it was dispatching police officers to 911 calls and expanded priority the list from 3 to 5 categories. Call priorities on the scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the highest or most important type of call.

A major goal of the 5-priority call system is to determine what calls do and do not require a police officer. The goal was to reduce the number of 911 emergency calls for service responded to by APD sworn police. The addition of 2 new priority call types did in fact result in the desired goal of reducing the number of sworn dispatch but also resulted in fewer felony, misdemeanor and DWI arrests.

For the Fiscal Years of F/Y 14 to F/Y 20 the total number of 911 calls for service were:

FY/14 # of Calls for service: 518,553
FY/15 # of Calls for service: 518,751
FY/16 # of Calls for service: 547,854
FY/17 # of Calls for service: 564,610
FY/18 # of Calls for service: 580,303
FY/19 # of Calls for service: 543,574
FY/20 # of Calls for service: 524,286

The sure volume of calls for service are staggering and always cited by APD upper command as to why they are overburden but the raw numbers are easily misinterpreted. Without clarification, the raw statistics imply that sworn police were sent to every single call where arrests could be made. The numbers must be tempered with the actual number of dispatches of police and the number of sworn and that in turn ultimately result in arrests in 3 major categories of felony, misdemeanor and DWI.

For the Fiscal Years of F/Y 14 to F/Y 20 the total number of calls for service compared to arrests in each of the 3 major categories and the sworn police who were employed in all capacities and positions are as follows:

FY/14 # of Calls for service: 518,553
FY/14: Arrests: Felony 9,507, Misdemeanor 27,127, DWI 2,704,
FY/14: Total Sworn: 913

FY/15 # of Calls for service: 518,751
FY/15 Arrests: Felony 9,049, Misdemeanor 22,639, DWI 2,213,
FY/15 Total Sworn: 879

FY/16 # of Calls for service: 547,854
FY/16 Arrests: Felony 8,744, Misdemeanor 19,857, DWI 1,720
FY/16 Total Sworn: 833

FY/17 # of Calls for service: 564,610
FY/17 Arrests: Felony 9,527, Misdemeanor 18,562, DWI 1,338,
FY/17 Total Sworn: 870

FY/18 # of Calls for service: 580,303
FY/18 Arrests: Felony 11,257, Misdemeanor 19,923, DWI 1,403,
FY/18 Total Sworn: 941

FY/19 # of Calls for service: 543,574)
FY/19 Arrests: Felony 10,945, Misdemeanor 19,440, DWI 1,788,
FY/19Total Sworn: 924

FY/20 # of Calls for service: 524,286
FY/20 Arrests: Felony 6,621, Misdemeanor 16,520, DWI 1,230
FY/20 Total Sworn: 1,004

The links to the approved city budgets from 2007 to 2022 that contain the statistics can be found here:

https://www.cabq.gov/dfa/budget/annual-budget

There was a dramatic decline in the number arrests in 2019 to 2020, the same time when the new priority calls were added. APD felony arrests went down from 2019 to 2020 by 39.51% going down from 10,945 to 6,621. Misdemeanor arrests went down by 15% going down from 19,440 to 16,520. DWI arrests went down from 1,788 in 2019 to 1,230 in 2020, down 26%. The total number of all arrests went down from 32,173 in 2019 to 24,371 in 2020 or by 25%. In 2019 APD had 924 full time police. In 2020, APD had 1,004 sworn police or 80 more sworn in 2020 than in 2019, yet arrests went down during the first year of the pandemic and response times went up.

NEW MEXICO CRIMINAL DWI LAW

It is Section 66-8-102 of the New Mexico statute that defines “driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs” as well as defining “aggravated driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs”. The statute also outlines the penalties that can be imposed by the courts.

The statute is as straight forward as it gets and states:

“It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor to drive a vehicle within this state.

“It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving a vehicle to drive a vehicle within this state.”

“ It is unlawful for … a person to drive a vehicle in this state if the person has an alcohol concentration of eight one hundredths or more in the person’s blood or breath within three hours of driving the vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed before or while driving the vehicle. … ”

“It is unlawful for a person to drive a commercial motor vehicle in this state if the person has an alcohol concentration of four one hundredths or more in the person’s blood or breath within three hours of driving the commercial motor vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed before or while driving the vehicle.”

AGGRAVATED DWI

The statute also defines “aggravated driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs” as:

“1) driving a vehicle in this state with an alcohol concentration of sixteen one hundredths or more in the driver’s blood or breath within three hours of driving the vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed before or while driving the vehicle;

(2) causing bodily injury to a human being as a result of the unlawful operation of a motor vehicle while driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs; or

(3) refusing to submit to chemical testing, as provided for in the Implied Consent Act and in the judgment of the court, based upon evidence of intoxication presented to the court, the driver was under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs.”

Eliminating the “lawyer speak” from the statute language Aggravated DWI can be charged under 3 circumstances:

1. When a person has a breath alcohol test (BAC) that reveals 0.16 percent or higher blood alcohol level.

2. When a person causes bodily harm to someone while Driving Under the Influence

3. When a person refuses to have a blood alcohol test.

The consequences of being convicted of Aggravated DWI in New Mexico and can be severe. In a nutshell the consequence can be as follows:

1st aggravated DWI/DUI offense: Mandatory 48 hours in jail
2nd aggravated DWI/DUI offense: Mandatory 8 days of jail time
3rd aggravated DWI/DUI offense: Mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail.

QUOTING THE LAW

The state statute for Aggravated DWI provides as follows:

“In addition to those penalties, when an offender commits aggravated driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, the offender shall be sentenced to not less than 48 consecutive hours in jail. If an offender fails to complete, within a time specified by the court, any community service, screening program, treatment program or DWI school ordered by the court or fails to comply with any other condition of probation, the offender shall be sentenced to not less than an additional 48 consecutive hours in jail. Any jail sentence imposed for failure to complete … within a time specified by the court, any community service, screening program, treatment program or DWI school ordered by the court or for aggravated driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs shall not be suspended, deferred or taken under advisement.

On a first conviction … any time spent in jail for the offense prior to the conviction for that offense shall be credited to any term of imprisonment fixed by the court. A deferred sentence pursuant to this subsection shall be considered a first conviction for the purpose of determining subsequent convictions.

A second or third conviction … shall be punished … by imprisonment for not more than 364 days or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both. If the sentence is suspended in whole or in part, the period of probation may extend beyond 1 year but shall not exceed 5 years.

“Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary for suspension or deferment of execution of a sentence:

(1) Upon a second conviction, an offender shall be sentenced to a jail term of not less than 96 consecutive hours, not less than 48 hours of community service and a fine of $500. In addition to those penalties, when an offender commits aggravated driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, the offender shall be sentenced to a jail term of not less than 96 consecutive hours. If an offender fails to complete, within a time specified by the court, any community service, screening program or treatment program ordered by the court, the offender shall be sentenced to not less than an additional 7 consecutive days in jail. A penalty imposed pursuant to this paragraph shall not be suspended or deferred or taken under advisement.

(2) Upon a third conviction, an offender shall be sentenced to a jail term of not less than 30 consecutive days, not less than 96 hours of community service and a fine of $750. In addition to those penalties, when an offender commits aggravated driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, the offender shall be sentenced to a jail term of not less than 60 consecutive days. If an offender fails to complete, within a time specified by the court, any community service, screening program or treatment program ordered by the court, the offender shall be sentenced to not less than an additional 60 consecutive days in jail. A penalty imposed pursuant to this paragraph shall not be suspended or deferred or taken under advisement.”

CRIMINAL PENALTIES PROVIDED

Following are the penalties for DWI upon conviction as outlined in the statute:

“A first conviction … shall be punished … by imprisonment for not more than 90 days or by a fine of not more than $500, or both; provided that if the sentence is suspended in whole or in part or deferred, the period of probation may extend beyond ninety days but shall not exceed one year.

Upon a first conviction … an offender shall be sentenced to not less than 24 hours of community service. In addition, the convicted offender may be required to pay a fine of $300. The convicted offender shall be ordered by the court to participate in and complete an [alcohol treatment] screening program [and ordered] to attend a driver rehabilitation program for alcohol or drugs, also known as a “DWI school”, approved by the bureau and also may be required to participate in other rehabilitative services as the court shall determine to be necessary.”

FELONY DWI

“A fourth or subsequent DWII charge … constitutes a felony. The charge depends on the number of prior valid convictions the prosecution can prove to the court. A felony DWI results in significant mandatory incarceration time and felony probation requirements. In a nutshell, the following penalties apply to felony DWI:

A DWI FOURTH conviction is a fourth-degree felony, with a mandatory minimum of six months imprisonment and a maximum sentence of 18 months

A DWI FIFTH conviction is also a fourth-degree felony. However, it carries a mandatory one year of imprisonment with a maximum of two years imprisonment.

A DWI SIXTH conviction is a third-degree felony, with a mandatory eighteen months of imprisonment with a maximum of thirty months.

A DWI SEVENTH conviction is also a third-degree felony. However, it carries a mandatory minimum of two years with a maximum of three years imprisonment.

A DWI EIGHTH or subsequent conviction is a second-degree felony, with a mandatory MINIMUM OF TEN YEARS incarceration and a maximum of twelve years.”

The state statute for Aggravated DWI provides as follows:

Upon a fourth conviction … an offender is guilty of a 4th degree felony and, shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 18 months, 6 months of which shall not be suspended, deferred or taken under advisement.

Upon a fifth conviction pursuant to this section, an offender is guilty of a 4th degree felony and … shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 2 years, one year of which shall not be suspended, deferred or taken under advisement.

Upon a sixth conviction pursuant to this section, an offender is guilty of a 3rd degree felony and shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 30 months, eighteen months of which shall not be suspended, deferred or taken under advisement.

Upon a seventh conviction pursuant to this section, an offender is guilty of a 3rd degree felony and … shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 3 years, two years of which shall not be suspended, deferred or taken under advisement.

Upon an eighth or subsequent conviction pursuant to this section, an offender is guilty of a 2nd degree felony and … shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 12 years, 10 years of which shall not be suspended, deferred or taken under advisement.

Upon any conviction pursuant to this section, an offender shall be required to participate in and complete, within a time specified by the court, an alcohol or drug abuse screening program approved by the department of finance and administration and, if necessary, a treatment program approved by the court. The requirement imposed … shall not be suspended, deferred or taken under advisement.

Upon a second or third conviction pursuant to this section, an offender shall be required to participate in and complete, within a time specified by the court:

(1) not less than a 28-day inpatient, residential or in-custody substance abuse treatment program approved by the court;
(2) not less than a 90-day outpatient treatment program approved by the court;
(3) a drug court program approved by the court; or
(4) any other substance abuse treatment program approved by the court.

The requirement imposed pursuant to this subsection shall not be suspended, deferred or taken under advisement.

Upon a felony conviction pursuant to this section, the corrections department shall provide substance abuse counseling and treatment to the offender in its custody.

While the offender is on probation or parole under its supervision, the corrections department shall also provide substance abuse counseling and treatment to the offender or shall require the offender to obtain substance abuse counseling and treatment.

Upon a conviction pursuant to this section, an offender shall be required to obtain an ignition interlock license and have an ignition interlock device installed and operating on all motor vehicles driven by the offender, pursuant to rules adopted by the bureau. Unless determined by the bureau to be indigent, the offender shall pay all costs associated with having an ignition interlock device installed on the appropriate motor vehicles. The offender shall operate only those vehicles equipped with ignition interlock devices for:

(1) a period of one year, for a first offender;
(2) a period of two years, for a second conviction pursuant to this section;
(3) a period of three years, for a third conviction pursuant to this section; or
(4) the remainder of the offender’s life, for a fourth or subsequent conviction pursuant to this section.

APPLICATION TO REMOVE IGNITION INTERLOCK

The state law also provides as follows:

“Five years from the date of conviction and every five years thereafter, a fourth or subsequent offender may apply to a district court for removal of the ignition interlock device requirement provided in this section and for restoration of a driver’s license.

A district court may, for good cause shown, remove the ignition interlock device requirement and order restoration of the license; provided that the offender has not been subsequently convicted of driving a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs. Good cause may include an alcohol screening and proof from the interlock vendor that the person has not had violations of the interlock device.

An offender who obtains an ignition interlock license and installs an ignition interlock device prior to conviction shall be given credit at sentencing for the time period the ignition interlock device has been in use.

In the case of a first, second or third offense under this section, the magistrate court has concurrent jurisdiction with district courts to try the offender.

A conviction pursuant to a municipal or county ordinance in New Mexico or a law of any other jurisdiction … [and] when that ordinance or law is equivalent to New Mexico law for driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, and prescribes penalties for driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, shall be deemed to be a conviction pursuant to this section for purposes of determining whether a conviction is a second or subsequent conviction.

In addition to any other fine or fee that may be imposed pursuant to the conviction or other disposition of the offense under this section, the court may order the offender to pay the costs of any court-ordered screening and treatment programs.

… [I] f an offender’s sentence was suspended or deferred in whole or in part and the offender violates any condition of probation, the court may impose any sentence that the court could have originally imposed and credit shall not be given for time served by the offender on probation.”

https://law.justia.com/codes/new-mexico/2018/chapter-66/article-8/section-66-8-102/

LOSING YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE

There is also a “civil side” to being convicted of DWI and it takes thethe form of losing your driver’s license and it is totally separate from criminal charge.

New Mexico has enacted an Implied Consent Act. Under the law, it is not a right but a privilege to be licensed to drive. As condition of being given a license to, a license driver is by law giving implied consent to be tested if stopped under the suspicion of driving while under the influence. If you refuse to take a breath test, or if your breath analyzer test is above the legal limit, the arresting officer is authorized to confiscate your license upon arrest. The arresting officer will provide a Notice of Revocation. The officer also sends the notice to the Motor Vehicle Division, which automatically revokes your driver’s license 20 days after your arrest.

AGE AFFECTING HOW LONG YOU LOSE DRIVER’S LICENSE

When your driver’s license is revoked for DWI, the length of time of license revocation will depend on your age and if you have previously had your license revoked.

Over 21 years of age with a blood alcohol at or above 0.08% results in the following:

1st offense: 6 months for failing a chemical test, or one year for refusing a chemical test

2nd or subsequent offense: One year for failing or refusing a chemical test

Under 21 years of age (at or above 0.02%):

1st and subsequent: One year for failing or refusing a blood alcohol test.

CONVICTION RESULTING IN REVOCATION

Under New Mexico law, if you are convicted of a DWI you can lose your license. The period for losing a license is also tied to criminal conviction history as follows

For a first offense, 1 year
For second offense, 2 years
For a third offense: 3 years
For a fourth or subsequent offense: permanent loss or lifetime.

The link to quoted source material is here:

https://www.granolaw.com/blog/what-are-dwi-or-dui-penalties-new-mexico/

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

It is often said that incarceration and warehousing criminals is not the solution to bringing crime down and there is a need to solve the root causes of crime of poverty, drug addiction, and joblessness. That is true, but that does not mean the solution is simply not to arrest, convict and sentence criminals for crimes they have committed. As it stands in Albuquerque, APD is simply not getting the job done in the arrest category.

DWI in New Mexico has been a chronic problem for decades. It is understood when families who have been affected by DWI and who have lost a loved one and want to increase penalties and try do more. Year after year the New Mexico legislature tries and tries again to deal with DWI and the state is still has some of the highest DWI rates in the country.

Based on the statistics, and the declining number of DWI arrests, increasing the penalties is not likely going to solve much of anything. What the real problem is law enforcement failing to make arrests, then failing to convict and then imposing the maximum sentences under the law.

Unless laws are actually enforced, there is really not much going to happen in bringing down DWI rates as well as any other crime rates.

SWAT Team Disbanded For Hazing African American “Rookie” Cop; APD Relegated To Ask For Help From Outside Agencies; SWAT Has Nefarious Past That Must Not Ever Be Forgotten

EDITOR’S NOTE: Freelance Reporter Charles Arasim contributed the factual content of this article.

The City of Albuquerque and the Department of Justice (DOJ) Court Approved Settlement mandates the creation of a full time, professional Civilian Police Oversight Agency (CPOA) with a full time Director and investigators and with a 9-member, all-volunteer Civilian Police Oversight Board appointed by the city council. The CPOA board is ultimately responsible for investigations of police misconduct and making recommendations to the Chief of Police for disciplinary actions.

INVESTIGATION REQUESTED

It is reported that the APD Citizens Police Oversight Board (CPOB) is being asked to investigate the hazing of an African American “rookie” member of APD’s SWAT Team by a group of veteran SWAT TEAM members. According to a highly placed confidential source within APD, the rookie police officer reported the hazing to APD Internal Affairs (IA) which initiated an investigation. The investigation resulted in the veteran APD officers being removed from the SWAT unit. The result of their removal is that APD is now unable to respond to critical armed barricaded suspects or hostage incidents requiring APD SWAT call-outs.

The City Council enacted Citizens Police Oversight Agency Ordinance, any board member, without a majority vote of the members, can ask to review APD IA investigative records at a reasonable time and that the CPOA administrative office “shall audit and monitor” all APD IA investigations.

ABQ RAW REPORT

On December 22, the online news agency ABQ Raw posted the following report:

“[On December 21 at] around 2:00AM [in the] morning a call came in to APD where a victim called to say they were being held against their will by a person armed with a knife. The call was at 1913 Alvarado Dr. NE. When APD went on scene the armed person refused to come out of the apartment. Once the armed person refused to come out APD decided to initiate a SWAT callout. By 9:00AM the scene had been cleared and the armed man had been taken into custody without further incident.

About a month and half ago, the Albuquerque Police Department had a fully staffed SWAT team. Sources have revealed that an incident within the veteran SWAT team with a brand-new member caused an internal affairs investigation and the team was all but disbanded.

APD last week transferred 5 newly tested officers into SWAT after the mentioned incident and they are currently training to become fully certified and operational team members.

At this latest SWAT call out APD was the primary agency for the call for service but APD had to call in Bernalillo County Sheriff’s SWAT team for assistance since they don’t have a fully staffed SWAT team currently.

Typically, a fully staffed APD SWAT team has around a dozen team members.

Spokeswoman Jayme Fuller with BCSO confirmed in the last 2 months they have been called to assist APD SWAT 3 times. Fuller went on to say that BCSO and APD always had mutual aid agreements amongst their agencies so it is not uncommon for one agency to ask the other for assistance.

New Mexico State Police spokesperson Lt. Mark Soriano said since November of 2021, the New Mexico State Police Tactical Team has assisted the Albuquerque Police Department SWAT Team with 3 missions. In 2020 and 2019 during the same time frame the New Mexico State Police Tactical Team also assisted the Albuquerque Police Department SWAT Team with 3 missions.

Neighboring agency Rio Rancho Police Department SWAT Lieutenant Richard Koschade told [ABQ Raw] they have assisted APD twice in the past two months.

… It is unclear how many calls have required a SWAT team since the shakeup at APD.”

The link to the full ABQ Raw posted story ins here:

https://www.abqraw.com/post/apd-swat-team-not-fully-staffed-other-agencies-helping-with-abq-swat-call-outs

CPOA CHAIRMAN RESIGNS

On December 9, Eric Olivias, the Chairman Of Civilian Police Oversight Agency (CPOA) Board submitted his letter of resignation. In addition to Olivias resigning, two others CPOA Board member resigned within a 48-hour period and they are Tara Jaramillo-Prewitt and Geonie Ralph. A 3rd newly appointed CPOA Board member Richard Johnson who was appointed to the Board at the same time as Gionnne Ralph is reported have to have silently walked away from the CPOA Board on or about November 1, 2021. The Olivia’s letter is a scathing indictment of the CPOA. The resignation comes less than 2 months after CPOA Executive Director Ed Harness resigned and less than one month after Superintendent of Police Reform Sylvester Stanley announced his retirement at the end of December.

SUPERINTENDENT OF POLICE REFORM SYLVESTER STANLEY “RETIRES” AFTER 8 MONTHS

On December 1, a mere 8 months on the job, Superintendent of Police Reform Sylvester Stanley announced he was retiring effective December 31. Stanley was appointed to the two positions of Superintendent of Police Reform and Deputy Chief Administrative Officer in early March. He was tasked with handling discipline of APD sworn police officers, overseeing the APD academy and the Internal Affairs division and working with the Department of Justice on the reform effort.
When Stanley was appointed by Mayor Tim Keller he said they expected him to fill the position in an “interim basis” for 6 months or until the end of the year. The city has launched a national search for his replacement, saying it’s looking for “an experienced professional to lead this cutting edge position” and someone “who is dedicated to police reform.”

SWAT UNIT ELABORATED UPON

A police SWAT Unit, which stands for Special Weapons And Tactics, is generic term for a law enforcement unit that uses specialized or military equipment and tactics. Members of the Albuquerque Police Department SWAT unit are constantly training and are considered some of the best trained, best equipped and best paid officers within APD because of their specialized skills within the department.

A SWAT unit is trained to deploy against threats of terrorism, for crowd control, hostage taking, and in situations beyond the capabilities of ordinary law enforcement and deemed “high-risk” calls. Officers in the SWAT unit are entrusted with complex weaponry and are called upon to handle the most dangerous situations that police encounter. SWAT units typically operate under strict protocols and carry out operations in a highly planned and organized fashion. SWAT officers are usually highly trained sharp shooters. SWAT officers are spread out through department but when there is a SWAT call out, they converge as a unit. The SWAT Unit handles the most dangerous situations that pose a threat to the public.

THREE SWAT DEADLY USE OF FORCE CASES, ONE INVOVING APD CHIEF MEDINA

When it comes to the United States Department of Justice consent decree, the APD SWAT unit has a nefarious history. The April 10, 2014 Department of Justice (DOJ) civil rights investigation found an pattern of excessive force and deadly force and a culture of aggression within APD. The DOJ found that Albuquerque police officers shot and killed civilians who did not pose AN imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death to the officers or others and were more of a threat to themselves. The DOJ investigation found that there was way too much reliance on the SWAT unit and they were called by APD to step in and take control. In force incidents reviewed, the DOJ found instances in which the SWAT unit did not operate with the discipline and control that would be expected of them, and the lack of discipline contributed to unreasonable uses of deadly force.

The DOJ civil rights investigation reviewed 20 officer-involved shootings resulting in fatalities from 2009 to 2012. The DOJ concluded that a majority of those shootings were unconstitutional. Albuquerque police officers often use deadly force in circumstances where there was no imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm to officers or others. Instead, officers used deadly force against people who posed a minimal threat, including individuals who posed a threat only to themselves or who were unarmed. Officers also used deadly force in situations where the conduct of the officers heightened the danger and contributed to the need to use force and deadly force.

The DOJ investigation identified 3 specific deadly use of force cases involving SWAT. Those cases are:

In January 2010, an officer shot and killed Kenneth Ellis, III, a 25-year-old veteran who was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. It was then Lt. Harold Medina, now Chief Medina, who authorized the use of deadly force against Ellis when Median arrived on the scene and was ranking officer who assumed command and control . The Ellis case resulted in a $10 Million Judgment against the city for wrongful death. Officers assigned to Medina’s auto theft unit suspected Ellis of vehicle theft and pulled him over in a parking lot. Ellis exited the vehicle holding a gun pointed to his head. Ellis continued to hold the gun to his head as he made several phone calls and the officers attempted to negotiate with him. After several minutes, an officer shot Ellis one time in the neck and killed him. The officer who shot and killed Kenneth Ellis, was not a member of the SWAT unit, but commanding officers within and over SWAT were present when Ellis was shot. The department’s reports on the shooting make it clear that the SWAT commanding officers failed to exert control over the scene, such as by making a plan for handling the crisis, determining where officers should be positioned, or deciding what roles each officer would fulfill, though our consultants would have expected them to take on these roles and establish control and lines of authority. The lack of scene control contributed to a chaotic environment and allowed the shooting officer to act on his own accord when he shot and killed Ellis.

In May 2011, an officer shot and killed Alan Gomez, who would not allow his brother and his girlfriend to leave their house. Gomez was unarmed and did not pose an immediate risk of death or serious bodily harm to the individuals in the house or officers when he was shot. The incident began in the middle of the night when the girlfriend called APD because Gomez was refusing to let her and her boyfriend leave their house. Officers arrived and surrounded the house. The officer who shot and killed Alan Gomez was assigned to the SWAT unit. When he arrived on the scene, the officer took a position near the house where Gomez was keeping his brother and his girlfriend from leaving without consulting the commanding officer and without following any kind of a plan for handling the crisis. He also did not seek or obtain the approval of the commanding officer before using deadly force. He acted on his own authority from the moment he arrived on the scene until he fired his weapon. The recklessness of the SWAT officers behavior at the scene formed the basis that his use of deadly force was unreasonable.

On March 16, 2014, homeless camper and mentally ill James Boyd was shot and killed by SWAT police officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains after a 14 hour standoff to arrest him for illegal camping. Boyd was suffering from mental illness with a diagnosis of schizo-affective disorder. When APD attempted to arrest him, he resisted and produced two 4-inch knives one held in each hand. APD fired a tazer shotgun, discharge canines and discharged flash bang shells. APD SWAT officers Dominque Perez and Keith Sandy shot Boyd dead claiming they were fearful for the lives of officers. During a press conference on the Boyd shooting, then APD Chief Gordon Eden pronounce the shooting as justified. SWAT Officers Perez and Sandy were charged with murder and a jury could not reach a verdict. The charges were later dismissed. The city settled the wrongful death action for $5 million with the Boyd family. Although the Boyd killing was not one of the deadly use of force cases reviewed by the DOJ, the DOJ report did state the comments of the then AP Chief Gordon Eden that the killing was justified was evidence of the accepted “culture of aggression” within APD stating “the recent remarks by the police chief in response to the James Boyd shooting on March 16, 2014, demonstrate that more work is needed to change the culture of APD.”

SWAT ACTIVATIONS

The City of Albuquerque is what is referred to as a performance-based budget. It requires all city departments to submit statistics to support their annual budgets for city council approval. Following are the Actual SWAT Activations reported for the last 6 years:

2016 Actual SWAT activations: 44
2017 Actual Swat activations: 59
2018 Actual activations: 72
2019 Actual Activations: 63
2020 Actual Activations: 76
2021 Targeted Activations: 80

The link review the City of Albuquerque approved budgets is here:

https://www.cabq.gov/dfa/budget/annual-budget

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

APD is reverting back to its old habit of reliance on the SWAT unit. It is painfully obvious that APD’s reliance on SWAT has been on the rise for the last 6 years and has almost doubled. What is more alarming is that APD command staff are still incapable of controlling the most lethal unit it has where “hazing” is somehow occurring and it is a throwback to days gone by what SWAT had an inflated opinion of itself and acted like a fraternity.

Ever since its creation in 2014, the CPOA has struggled to exist and has been plagued with infighting and controversy within itself with many board members having their own personal agendas that conflict between civilians wanting true civilian oversight versus those who take the side of law enforcement. With the resignations of CPOA Board Chairman Eric Olivias, the resignations of CPOA board members Tara Jaramillo-Prewitt and Geonie Ralph, the resignation of CPOA Executive Director Ed Harness and the “retirement” of Superannuant of Police Reform Sylvester Stanly, it is painfully obvious that civilian police oversight of APD is in name only.

It is not at all likely that anything meaningful will come of the citizen’s complaint regarding the hazing of a rookie SWAT police officer.

A link to a related blog article is here:

CPOA Board Chairman And 3 Others Resign Less Than 2 Months After CPOA Director Resigns, Less Than One Month After Superintendent Of Police Reform Resigns; CPOA Has Become As Useless As Tits On A Boar Hog

Dinelli Blog Articles On The DOJ Reforms, Federal Monitor’s Reports, APD And The Police Union

www.PeteDinelli.com is a political blog written from the prospective of a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978 with 27 years of public service who is a former prosecutor, administrative law judge, city councilor and former Chief Public Safety officer and who has 15 years experience in the private practice of law. As a political blog, it provides “commentary and analysis” with no apologies knowing full well people are free to agree or disagree with what is presented.

The blog has a tabulator that has been installed by the internet web manager that tabulates and reports to paying subscribers. The blog tabulator is maintained by a web site manager where a monthly fee is paid. The tabulator reports on days, weeks, months and years of views and shares of articles and by visitors. The tabulator breaks the numbers down into two major categories of VIEWS and VISITORS. A VIEW is counted when a visitor to the blog loads or reloads an article to be read. A VISITOR is counted when a user or browser for the first time makes a visit in a given period. Thus far this year, the blog has had 92,581 views, or reads, of articles and 56,516 visitors to the blog site.

BACKGROUND

Since the inception of www.PeteDinelli.com in September, 2017, one story that has been followed very closely has been the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) to the extent that all Federal Monitors reports have been read. Federal court hearings have been attended whenever possible. After the articles are published on www.PeteDinelli.com, they are emailed directly to those involved in the litigation. The articles are emailed to the Mayor, City Council and citizens and organizations that may be interested and the articles are posted on FACEBOOK. The biggest reason for the blog coverage is to provide a service to the general public and elected officials in that in depth local news coverage can only be considered inadequate on such a complicated subject.

On April 10, 2014, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) released its 46-page civil rights investigation report of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) The investigation was conducted over an 18-month period jointly by the DOJ Civil Rights Division and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico. The civil investigation concluded that APD engaged in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force and deadly force and that a “culture of aggression” decades in the making existed with APD.

On November 14, 2014, after 6 months of negotiations, the DOJ and the City of Albuquerque entered into a Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) that mandated 271 reforms. The settlement agreement was negotiated to avoid further litigation and to avoid the appointment of a receiver placing APD under the management and control of the Department of Justice. In addition to the 271 reforms, the DOJ and the City agreed to the appointment of a Federal Monitor who audits the progress of implementing the reforms, prepares reports and who reports to the Federal Judge assigned to the case. The Federal monitor has no management nor control over APD nor its personnel.

From May, 2015 to November, 2021, the Federal Monitor has prepared and filed 14 Independent Monitor’s Reports with the average length of upwards of 300 pages containing data that is difficult to follow. The reports are highly technical and cumbersome, requiring hours to read, understand and analyze to the point that the reports are useless in content to the general public.

From May, 2015 September, 2021, APD has prepared and submitted its own reports in response to each of the Federal Monitor’s Reports.

You can review all the documents related to APD’s settlement agreement with the DOJ at the below city link:

https://www.cabq.gov/police/documents-related-to-apds-settlement-agreement

LISTING BLOG ARTICLES

Beginning September 9, 2017, 49 blog articles have been published dealing with the DOJ Reforms, Federal Monitor’s Reports, APD And The Police Union. Following is a listing of the article’s titles and dates published starting with the most recent and ending with the article on the 9th Federal Monitors report. Links are provided that you can click on to read the articles:

January 3, 2021
Link To Dinelli Blog article: “Top Heavy APD High Command Staff Goes From 3 to 6 Deputies With 5 APD Insiders; New Level Of APD Bureaucracy Created With 16 “Deputy Commander” Positions; “Outsiders” Needed To “Effectuate Real Change”; 2 Sham National Searches For Chief; Sham Anticipated For “Superintendent of Police Reform”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2022/01/03/top-heavy-apd-high-command-staff-goes-from-3-to-6-deputies-with-5-apd-insiders-new-level-of-apd-bureaucracy-created-with-16-deputy-commander-positions-outsiders-needed-to/

December 27, 2021
Link To Dinelli Blog article: “ SWAT Team Disbanded For Hazing African American “Rookie” Cop; APD Relegated To Ask For Help From Outside Agencies; SWAT Has Nefarious Past That Must Not Ever Be Forgotten”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/12/27/swat-team-disbanded-for-hazing-african-american-rookie-cop-apd-relegated-to-ask-for-help-from-outside-agencies-swat-has-nefarious-past-that-must-not-ever-be-forgotten/

December 20, 2021
Link to Dinelli blog article: “DOJ, Federal Judge Reluctant To Force APD Into Receivership; Faux Indignation By City; Expired Union Contract Still Enforceable; Monitor Recommends Outsider Take Over APD As Chief; 157 Management Positions In Police Union Out Of 917 Sworn Personnel; Police Union Contract Violates State Law”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/12/20/doj-federal-judge-reluctant-to-force-apd-into-receivership-faux-indignation-by-city-apd-staffing-levels-revealed-expired-union-contract-still-enforceable-monitor-again-recommends-outsider-take/

November 22, 2021
“Federal Monitor Files 14th Report; Medina: “It’s a matter that APD don’t know how to do stuff to their liking”; Keller’s Failure “To Own” Reforms As Promised; Appoint Receiver Or Expect 4 More Years Of None Compliance”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/11/22/federal-monitor-files-14th-report-medina-its-a-matter-that-apd-dont-know-how-to-do-stuff-to-their-liking-kellers-failure-to-own-re/

November 1, 2021
“Slimer Shaun” Willoughby At It Again; APD Police Union Announces No Mayor’s Race Endorsement; Union Survey Promotes Big Lie On Police Reforms; Union Wants To Manage APD And Dictate Policy

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/11/01/slimmer-shaun-willoughby-at-it-again-apd-police-union-announces-no-mayors-race-endorsement-union-survey-promotes-big-lie-on-police-reforms-union-wants-to-manage-apd-and-dicta/

September 21, 2021
APD Command Staff Fail To Get Job Done With $227 Million Budget; Police Union Responsible For Failures Implementing DOJ Reforms

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/09/21/apd-command-staff-fail-to-get-job-done-with-227-million-budget-police-union-responsible-for-failures-implementing-doj-reforms/

September 14, 2021
“US Attorney General Garland Announces New Rules For Federal Monitoring Of Consent Decrees; City And APD React; Police Union President Shoots Off Big Mouth”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/09/14/att-general-garland-announces-new-rules-for-federal-monitoring-of-consent-decrees-city-and-apd-react-police-union-president-shoots-off-big-mouth/

August 21, 2021
“APD Police Union President Willoughby “Gaslights” And Falsely Shouts Fire In A Crowded Theater To Promote His Big Lies”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/08/25/the-4-apd-police-officers-injured-in-line-of-duty-served-the-city-with-distinction-and-honor-apd-police-union-president-willoughby-gaslights-and-falsely-shouts-fire-in-a-crowed-th/

August 20, 2021
“Officer Down”: 1 APD Officer In Critical Condition, 3 Officers Wounded; 2 Suspects Arrested With 1 Injured; Man Charged With Felonies; Chief Medina Blames Justice System; Union Blames CASA Reforms; Another Cycle Of Anger, Shock And Empathy Begins With Promises Of Solutions; Special Legislative Session Needed.

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/08/20/officer-down-1-apd-officer-in-critical-condition-3-officers-wounded-2-suspects-arrested-with-1-injured-man-charged-with-felonies-chief-medina-blames-justice-system-union-blame/

AUGUST 6, 2021
“APD’s “Use of Force” Increases 5 Years In A Row; Negligent To Omit Statistics On Interactions With Mentally ILL For Use By Community Safety Department”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/08/06/apds-use-of-force-increases-5-years-in-a-row-negligent-to-omit-statistics-on-interactions-with-mentally-ill-for-use-by-community-safety-department/

June 28, 2021
“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”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/06/28/police-union-exercises-free-speech-right-using-you-tube-and-political-blogger-to-complain-counter-casa-effect-is-not-free-speech-but-actions-to-obstructs-apd-reforms/

June 10, 2021
“DOJ And City Refuse Too Seek APD Police Union Held In Contempt Of Court For Ad Campaign Disparaging Police Reform Settlement; Court Declines To Take Action; Union Now Embolden To Continue Disruption Of Settlement Reforms”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/06/10/doj-and-city-refuse-too-seek-apd-police-union-held-in-contempt-of-court-for-ad-campaign-disparaging-police-reform-settlement-court-declines-to-take-action-union-now-embolden-to-continue-disruption/

June 10, 2021
“DOJ And City Refuse Too Seek APD Police Union Held In Contempt Of Court For Ad Campaign Disparaging Police Reform Settlement; Court Declines To Take Action; Union Now Embolden To Continue Disruption Of Settlement Reforms”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/06/10/doj-and-city-refuse-too-seek-apd-police-union-held-in-contempt-of-court-for-ad-campaign-disparaging-police-reform-settlement-court-declines-to-take-action-union-now-embolden-to-continue-disruption/

June 4, 2021
“Amicus McClendon Sub-Class Seeks Federal Judge To Impose Sanctions Against APD Police Union For Sabotaging Implementation Of Consent Decree Reforms”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/06/04/amicus-mcclendon-sub-class-seeks-federal-judge-to-impose-sanctions-against-apd-police-union-for-sabotaging-implementation-of-consent-decree-reforms/

June 2, 2021
“APD Forward Wants Federal Court To Hold Police Union In Civil Or Criminal Contempt Of Court Over Police Union $70,000 AD Campaign Undercutting CASA Reforms; Others Express Concern Over Ad Campaign; Order To Show Cause Hearing Needed”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/06/02/apd-forward-wants-federal-court-to-hold-police-union-in-civil-or-criminal-contempt-of-court-over-police-union-70000-ad-campaign-undercutting-casa-reforms-others-express-concern-over-ad-cam/

May 20, 2021
“AXIOS Fails To Report “The Rest Of The Story” On APD’s Consent Decree”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/05/20/axios-fails-to-repot-the-rest-of-the-story-on-apds-consent-decree/

May 11, 2021
“Federal Monitor’s 12th And 13th Reports Highlight Mayor Tim Keller’s “Catastrophic Failure” To Implement The DOJ Mandated Reforms”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/05/11/federal-monitors-12th-and-13th-reports-highlight-mayor-tim-kellers-catastrophic-failure-to-implement-the-doj-mandated-reforms/

May 4, 2021
“APD Compliance Levels Continue To Nosedive With DOJ Reforms; Three Different Narratives From APD Police Union And Attorneys As To APD Reforms Causing High Crime Rates; City And DOJ Should Ask Court To Hold Police Union In Contempt Of Court”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/05/04/apd-compliance-levels-continue-to-nosedive-with-doj-reforms-three-different-narratives-from-apd-police-union-and-attorneys-as-to-apd-reforms-causing-high-crime-rates-city-and-doj-should-ask-cour/

April 27, 2021
“APD Police Union Spends $70,000 To Discredit Federal Court Order After Impeding And Resisting APD Reforms For 6 Years; Tactic Likely Grounds For Contempt Of Court By A Party For Interfering With Court Order”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/04/27/police-union-spends-70000-to-discredit-federal-court-order-after-impeding-and-resisting-apd-reforms-for-6-years-tactic-likely-grounds-for-contempt-of-court-by-a-party-for-interfering-with-court/

April 22, 2021
“Mayor Keller Ignores Federal Monitor’s Recommendation To Hire “Outsider” As APD Chief; APD Union Attorney Says City Created “Gordian Knot” With CASA Reforms; Millions Paid APD Upper Command, $32 Million A Year For CASA Reforms”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/04/22/mayor-keller-ignores-federal-monitors-recommendation-to-hire-outsider-as-apd-chief-apd-union-attorney-says-city-created-gordian-knot-with-casa-reforms-m/

April 15, 2021
“APD’s “Operational Compliance” Will Not Be Achieved Until New Generation Of APD Management And Police Officer Takes Over; Court Can Dismiss Case On Its Own”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/04/15/apds-operational-compliance-will-not-be-achieved-until-new-generation-of-apd-management-and-police-officer-takes-over-court-can-dismiss-case-on-its-own/

April 14, 2021
“APD “External Force Investigation Team” Must Be Last Chance Before APD Ordered Into Receivership; The Medina And Stanley Tag Team; April 15 Status Conference Scheduled By Court”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/04/14/apd-external-force-investigation-team-must-be-last-chance-before-apd-ordered-into-receivership-the-medina-and-stanley-tag-team-april-15-status-conference-scheduled-by-court/

March 31, 2021
“APD’s Unconstitutional Policing Practices Brought The US Department Of Justice To The City, Not Politicians “Throwing APD Under The Bus.”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/03/31/apds-unconstitutional-policing-practices-that-brought-the-us-department-of-justice-to-the-city-not-politicians-throwing-apd-under-the-bus/

March 17, 2021
“Debunking False Claim That APD’s Consent Decree Cause Of City’s Increased Crime; Dereliction Of Duty By APD Management, Police Union And APD Police Resisting Reforms”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/03/17/debunking-false-claim-that-apds-consent-decree-cause-of-citys-increased-crime-dereliction-of-duty-by-apd-management-police-union-and-apd-police-resisting-reforms/

March 15, 2021
George Floyd Case Settles For $27 Million; In 6 years, $34.9 Million Paid In 9 APD & BCSO Cases; It Will Happen Again As Police Reforms Resisted By APD And BCSO

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/03/15/george-floyd-case-settles-for-27-million-in-6-years-27-09-million-paid-in-8-apd-it-will-happen-again-as-police-reforms-resisted-by-apd-and-bcso/

March 8, 2021
“City And APD File “13th Progress and Status Summary Report; External Force Investigation Team Proof That APD Not Committed To Reforms”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/03/08/city-and-apd-file-13th-progress-and-status-summary-report-external-force-investigation-team-proof-that-apd-not-committed-to-reforms/

March 2, 2021
“Federal Judge Signs Order For APD “External Force Investigation Team”; Parties Reject Channel 7 And Police Union False Claims About Reforms; Hopefully, Very Last Chance”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/03/02/federal-judge-signs-order-for-apd-external-force-investigation-team-parties-reject-channel-7-and-police-union-false-claims-about-reforms/

February 24, 2021
“City Spends $35.85 Million Yearly On CASA Reforms; 61 Sworn Police Assigned To Compliance; Judge Should Deny Motion For EFIT Team; Suspend CASA; Order Monitor To Take Over Of IA Use Of Force Investigations”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/02/24/city-spends-35-85-million-yearly-on-casa-reforms-61-sworn-police-assigned-to-compliance-judge-should-deny-motion-for-efit-team-suspend-casa-order-monitor-to-take-over-of-ia-use-of-force-in/

February 15, 2021
“APD Police Union Spreads False Claims That CASA Reforms Increase ABQ’s Crime Rates And Objects To Outside Force Review Team; As A Party To Lawsuit, Police Union Contacts With Press Undermine Police Reforms”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/02/15/apd-police-union-spreads-false-claims-that-casa-reforms-increase-abqs-crime-rates-and-objects-to-outside-force-review-team-as-a-party-to-lawsuit-police-union-contacts-with-press-undermine/

February 11, 2021
“City Agrees To Hire “Outside” Use of Force Investigators To Review APD’s Use Of Force Cases; Where There Is A Will To Obstruct, APD And Union Will Find A Way”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/02/11/city-agrees-to-hire-25-outside-use-of-force-investigators-to-review-apds-use-of-force-cases-where-there-is-a-will-to-obstruct-apd-and-union-will-find-a-way/

February 10, 2021
“Target 7 Searches For Scandal On Federal Court Monitor & Finds Nothing; Fails To Report APD Management And Police Union Reason For Costly Delay; “News You Can’t Trust”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/02/10/target-7-searches-for-scandal-on-federal-court-monitor-finds-nothing-reports-millions-spent-on-reforms-fails-to-report-apd-management-and-police-union-reason-for-costly-delay/

December 15, 2020
“APD Police Union Contract Violates State Law By Allowing Management Positions Of Lieutenants and Sergeants Into Bargaining Unit; Empower APD Chief To Immediately Terminate Cops “For Cause”; Replace Hourly Wage With Salary Structure; City and DOJ Need To Move To Dismiss Union As Party”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2020/12/15/apd-police-union-contract-violates-state-law-by-allowing-management-positions-of-lieutenants-and-sergeants-into-bargaining-unit-empower-apd-chief-to-immediately-terminate-cops-for-cause/

December 10, 2020
“City And DOJ “Use Of Force Investigation Team” A Big Mistake; Police Reform Groups Want APD Receivership; Court Ask Questions About APD Management As Union Members And Chief’s Lack Of Authority To Terminate Cops; Give Federal Monitor Special Master Authority Over APD To Implement CASA Reforms”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2020/12/07/city-and-doj-use-of-force-investigation-team-a-bad-mistake-police-reform-groups-want-apd-receivership-court-ask-questions-about-apd-management-as-union-members-and-chiefs/

December 2, 2020
“APD Police Reform Advocacy Groups Seek “Contempt Of Court” And Seek To Place APD In Receivership; After 6 Years, 2 Mayors, Millions Spent, Police Union Interference, Failed Progress On DOJ Reforms, It’s Time To Say “I Told You So!”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2020/12/02/apd-police-reform-advocacy-groups-seek-contempt-of-court-and-seek-to-place-apd-in-receivership-after-6-years-2-mayors-millions-spent-police-union-interference-failed-progress/

November 9, 2020
“12th Federal Monitor’s Report: APD “On The Brink Of Catastrophic Failure”; “Failing Miserably To Police Itself”; Police Union Obstructs Reforms; COMMENTARY: Remove Sergeants And Lieutenants From Union; Abolish APD Internal Affairs”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2020/11/09/12th-federal-monitors-report-apd-on-the-brink-of-catastrophic-failure-failing-miserably-to-police-itself-police-union-obstructs-reforms-commentary-rem/

October 15, 2020
“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”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2020/10/15/ny-times-how-police-unions-became-such-powerful-opponents-to-reform-efforts-this-sounds-waaay-to-familiar-dismiss-police-union-as-party-to-federal-lawsuit/

October 13, 2020
“Five Times More APD Employees Fired Or Disciplined; Enforcement Of Court Approved Settlement Agreement Likely Cause; Sergeants and Lieutenants Being Part Of Police Union Still Problematic

https://www.petedinelli.com/2020/10/13/five-times-more-apd-employees-fired-or-disciplined-enforcement-of-court-approved-settlement-agreement-likely-cause-sergeants-and-lieutenants-being-part-of-police-union-still-problematic/

October 12, 2020
‘Damaging Disclosures: Former APD Chief Geier Accuses Federal Monitor Ginger Of Impropriety; 5 Deputy Chiefs Claim Gieir Failed Leader; All 6 Should Be Forced To Testify In Federal Court APD Settlement Case’

https://www.petedinelli.com/2020/10/12/damaging-disclosures-former-apd-chief-geier-accuses-federal-monitor-ginger-of-impropriety-5-deputy-chiefs-claim-gieir-failed-leader-all-6-should-be-forced-to-testify-in-federal-court-apd-settle/

June 20, 2020
“City Council APD Reform Survey Offers No Insight As To What APD Needs For Federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA)”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2020/06/30/city-council-apd-reform-survey-offers-no-insight-as-to-what-apd-needs-for-federal-court-approved-settlement-agreement-casa/

June 10, 2020
“DOJ And City Refuse Too Seek APD Police Union Held In Contempt Of Court For Ad Campaign Disparaging Police Reform Settlement; Court Declines To Take Action; Union Now Embolden To Continue Disruption Of Settlement Reforms”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/06/10/doj-and-city-refuse-too-seek-apd-police-union-held-in-contempt-of-court-for-ad-campaign-disparaging-police-reform-settlement-court-declines-to-take-action-union-now-embolden-to-continue-disruption/

June 8, 2020
“Counter Casa Effect” Impedes Both DOJ Reforms And “#8 Can’t Wait” Metrics

https://www.petedinelli.com/2020/06/08/counter-casa-effect-impedes-both-doj-reforms-and-8-cant-wait-metrics/

May 6, 2020
“Federal Monitor Files 11th Compliance Audit Report Of APD Reforms; “Counter Casa Effect” Still Problematic; Order 100% Operational Compliance Within 6 Months Or Replace Chief Or Deputy Chiefs To Get Job Done”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2020/05/06/federal-monitor-files-11th-compliance-audit-report-of-apd-reforms-counter-casa-effect-still-problematic-order-100-operational-compliance-within-6-months-or-replace-chief-or-deput/

November 7, 2019
“10th Federal Monitor’s Compliance Report: “Counter Casa Effect” Alive and Well Within APD; Move To Dismiss Union From Case; Remove Sergeants and Lieutenants From Police Union”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2019/11/07/10th-federal-monitors-compliance-report-counter-casa-affect-alive-and-well-within-apd-remove-to-dismiss-union-from-case-remove-sergeants-and-lieutenants-from-police-unio/

May 8, 2019
“Ninth APD Federal Monitor’s Report Filed; Negotiate Dismissal of CASA”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2019/05/08/ninth-apd-federal-monitors-report-filed-negotiate-dismissal-of-casa/

July 25, 2018
“Police Union At Odds With DOJ Reforms”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2018/07/25/police-union-at-odds-with-doj-reforms/

May 31, 2018
“Police Union President Pops Off About A So Called Culture Of Aggression

https://www.petedinelli.com/2018/05/31/police-union-president-pops-off-about-a-so-called-culture-of-aggression/

May 24, 2018
“Police Union Back Handed Swipes At Keller Wage Increase Will Not Solve Officer Shortage”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2018/05/24/police-union-back-handed-swipes-at-keller-wage-increase-will-not-to-solve-officer-shortage/

April 13, 2018
“The Annual Police Union Bitch And Moan Survey”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2018/04/13/the-annual-police-union-bitch-and-moan-survey/

February 20, 2020
APD Police Union Needs To Stop Thinking Only Of Themselves

https://www.petedinelli.com/2018/02/20/apd-police-union-needs-to-stop-thinking-only-of-themselves/

December 9, 2017
APOA President Is The One Acting Dishonorably

https://www.petedinelli.com/2017/12/09/apoa-union-president-is-the-one-acting-dishonorably/

September 9, 2017
Police Union Endorsement Should Have Been Declined

https://www.petedinelli.com/2017/09/24/police-union-endorsement-should-have-been-declined/

FINAL COMMENT

It is hoped that the blog articles have been informative in an effort to explain the issues involved with reforming APD.

Governor Lujan Grisham Delivers On $478 Million In Pandemic Relief; $3.7 Billion In Federal Infrastructure Investments And State’s $1.6 Billion Surplus Once In A Lifetime Opportunity For Governor Running For Second Term; Concrete Results Versus Republican Smear Tactics

New Mexico’s financial fortunes are changing with a dramatic infusion of billions of state and federal dollars. With that change will also likely come the election of Governor Mitchell Lujan Grisham to a second term in 2022, despite Republican smear tactics.

INFRASTRUCTURE AND HOSPITALS

On December 16, it was reported that during the Special Session of the New Mexico Legislature to redraw congressional and legislative political districts, the legislature enacted a spending bill that allocates $504.5 million in federal pandemic aid toward highways, internet infrastructure, tourism ads, hospital construction and more. The NM State House approved final changes from the Senate, sending the bill to the Governor for signature. Included in the bill is at least $123 million in spending on internet projects, including “alternative broadband” using emerging technologies like wireless towers, and new satellite internet networks, road repairs around New Mexico.

“The sparsely populated rural state has struggled for years to expand internet access by laying underground fiberoptic cables. The issue was pushed to the forefront during the pandemic because of inequalities in online education and healthcare access.”

Senate amendments added $2 million for teacher loan repayment and $50 million for a rural hospital. The bill includes money to build libraries in Native American communities and $10 million to bolster budgets at food banks that have provided a crucial safety net during the coronavirus pandemic.

The money would come from the nearly $1.1 billion in remaining pandemic relief funds. Lawmakers want to put around half of that money in the state general fund, providing more flexibility on spending deadlines.”

The link to quoted source material is here:

https://scnow.com/lifestyles/technology/new-mexico-legislature-sends-pandemic-aid-bill-to-governor/article_0ce4b61c-1019-52a5-aff5-d4165b7487ad.html

BUILDING AN ACUTE CARE HOSPITAL IN VALENCIA COUNTY

The enacted and revised spending bill that allocates millions in federal coronavirus relief funds to various projects and programs. The legislation includes money to construct and equip an acute care hospital in New Mexico. The New Mexico House vote of 65-1 calling for $50 million to construct a new hospital “in a county with less than 100,000 residents.” The legislation doesn’t specify any county, but Valencia County is considered the beneficiary.

On December 21, Governor Lujan Grisham signed into law the $504.5 million bill that earmarks $50 million in federal relief funds for hospital construction costs. The Governor pushed for the funding to be included in a plan that New Mexico lawmakers approved during a special session . During the signing ceremony outside a Belen health care clinic, the Governor made it clear she would not have signed the legislation if it had been included:

“I said we would get it done; we got it done!”

Links to quoted source materials are here:

https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/revised-spending-bill-includes-funds-for-acute-care-hospital-teacher-scholarships/article_4e9af12c-59e3-11ec-8460-bb622afff79f.html

https://www.abqjournal.com/2456055/governor-signs-bill-earmarking-478-million-in-federal-relief-funds.html

Even with the governor signing the $504.5 million bill into law, there is $724 million of the federal relief dollars that remains unspent. Spending decisions on the additional funds will be made during the upcoming 30-day session that begins on January 18, 2022. The 30 sessions are referred to as the Governor’s “short sessions”, not because of the Governor’s height, but because the sessions are strictly limited to financial matters and the Governor sets the agenda.

WINDFALL IN OIL AND GAS REVENUES

On December 6, New Mexico government economists projected a new surge in state income predicting a $1.6 billion surplus in state general fund income in excess of current spending obligations for the fiscal year starting on July 1, 2022. The windfall announce has legislators considering proposals to raise pay for public school teachers, a hiring spree for local police officers and new efforts to bolster essential public services amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The petroleum sector accounts for most of the new money because of record-setting oil production in New Mexico’s portion of Permian Basin oil and gas formation. New Mexico has now overtaken North Dakota as the nation’s second-largest oil producer behind Texas. Natural gas production also has accelerated in New Mexico.

The new state government income forecast has been revised upward by more than $200 million since August. On Friday, August 28, during a Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) it was revealed that the State is experiencing an all-time high windfall of more than nearly $1 billion higher than what was projected in February of this year.

The Aust estimates released to the legislative committee by executive and legislative economists projected that New Mexico would have nearly $1.4 billion in additional money in the coming year. The $1.4 Billion is the difference between expected revenue and the state’s current $7.4 billion budget. The cause of the windfall is surging oil and natural gas production and a rise in consumer spending.

According to the August report to the Legislative Finance Committee:

“Revenues are up $851.3 million from the February 2021 estimate, due primarily to higher-than-expected gross receipts tax and income tax collections that accompanied increased consumer spending and growth in high- and mid-wage employment in the first half of 2021. … Additionally, strong recovery in the oil and gas markets are pushing severance tax and federal royalty collections well above their five-year averages, resulting in large transfers to the newly created early childhood trust fund.”

The financial projections form the benchmark for budget negotiations when the Legislature convenes in January 2022 to craft a general fund spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year.

Economists from the Legislature and state agencies warned that state government finances are closely linked to world oil prices that could recoil from any signal of economic recession, as health officials closely monitor the omnicron variant of COVID-19.

According to the state economists, New Mexico’s economy has recovered about two-thirds of the jobs that were lost at the outset of the pandemic in 2020, said state Taxation and Revenue Secretary Stephanie Schardin Clarke. Secretary Clarke put it this way:

“We still have a big percentage of our population that is in a difficult financial situation. … We see the stock market doing so well. … I just want us not to forget that there is a whole sector of the economy that has not experienced those gains.”

REVENUE PROJECTIONS

Two separate funds were created by the New Mexico Legislature to ensure that there is adequate funding to continue to provide essential services and deal with bad economic times such as when the pandemic hit and at the same time state revenues plummeted as a result of the oil boom bust.

The two funds are the Tax Stabilization Fund and the Early Childhood Trust Fund.

The Tax Stabilization Reserve Fund is referred to as the “rainy day fund”. It was created by the legislature in 2017. The revenues for the fund come from royalties or tax collections on the oil and natural gas industries that exceed a five-year rolling average.

The Early Childhood Trust Fund was created by the legislature in 2020 at the insistence of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. The funds revenue source is the same revenue source when total state cash reserves amount to 25% or more of the state’s approved spending level. Funds also come from mineral leasing payments on federal land. The trust fund makes annual distributions to help fund early childhood programs statewide, a major priority of the Lujan Grisham Administration.

According to the Legislative Finance Committee, both funds are projected to spike considerably over the next 2 fiscal years with the following projections made:

TAX STABILIZATION RESERVE

Fiscal year 2021: $1.8 Billion Fiscal Year 2022: $2.2 Billion Fiscal year 2023: $2.3 Billion

EARLY CHILDHOOD TRUST FUND:

Fiscal year 2021: $334.7 Million Fiscal Year 2022: $505.4 Million Fiscal year 2023: $283.6

Note that based on revenue estimates released a total of $1.8 billion is projected to be in the Tax Stabilization Reserve fund at the end of the current fiscal year that started on July 1, 2021 and ends June 30, 2022, or more than half the state’s estimated $3.1 billion in total reserves. Also not that upwards of $1.1 billion is projected to be transferred into the Early Childhood Trust Fund over a three-year period ending in June 2023.

In August, according to the Legislative Finance Committee over the last decade New Mexico’s revenue levels have gone up and down from as low as $5.7 Billion in 2013 to now a projected $8.8 Billion in 2023 and fluctuated widely from year to year. The reported breakdown by fiscal years is as follows:

2013 – $5.7 billion
2014 – $6 billion
2015 – $6.2 billion
2016 – $5.7 billion
2017 – $5.7 billion
2018 – $6.8 billion
2019 – $8 billion
2020 – $7.8 billion
2021 – $8 billion (estimated level)
2022– $8.1 billion (estimated level)
2023 – $8.8 billion (estimated level)

The links to quoted source material are here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2423653/nm-revenue-levels-projected-to-soar-to-all-time-high.html

https://www.kunm.org/2021-12-03/fri-new-mexico-approves-public-financing-for-cannabis-businesses-details-of-teacher-raise-proposal-emerge-more

https://news.yahoo.com/windfall-oil-gas-revenue-boosts-165556190.html

THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING

On December 21, 2021, it was reported that according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest Drilling Productivity Report, oil output in the Permian Basin will surpass 5 million barrels per day in January.

“The agency forecasts that crude volumes from the region in the western part of Texas and the south-eastern part of New Mexico will go up from 4,960 thousand barrels per day (Mbbl/d) in December to 5,031 Mbbl/d next month. The projected production figure for January would be a new record for America’s biggest oil field and reflects the steady addition of rigs. As proof of improvement in activity, the rig count in the Permian Basin has risen to 288 from an all-time low of 116 in August 2020.

As far as combined U.S. oil supplies from seven major shale formations (Anadarko, Appalachia, Bakken, Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Niobrara and Permian) is concerned, EIA expects it to increase from 8,342 Mbbl/d in December to 8,438 Mbbl/d in January. With crude prices hovering around the $70-barrel level, production is expected to increase in six of the seven unconventional plays, with the largest gain of 71,000 barrels per day happening in the Permian Basin.”

The link to quoted source material is here:

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/permian-break-daily-oil-production-114811833.html

INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS AND JOBS ACT

On November 6, 2021, the bipartisan $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (IIJA) was enacted by congress. It is designed to modernize America’s crumbling infrastructure for the 21st century and create good-paying union jobs while supporting small businesses and resources for working families and rebuilding for a more climate resilient future.

The funding will modernize New Mexico’s infrastructure to rebuild the economy, put New Mexicans back to work, and invest in critical infrastructure. The bill is expected to invest more than $3.7 billion in New Mexico’s broadband, water, roads, bridges, public transportation, electric vehicle, airport and other infrastructure, with the opportunity to apply for further funding.

According to First Congressional District Congresswoman Melanie Standbury, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will transform New Mexico’s economy in the following 9 areas:

1. Investing $2.5 billion in New Mexico’s highways and $225 million in bridge replacement and repairs to repair and rebuild our roads and bridges with a focus on climate change resilience and equity.

In New Mexico there are over 3,822 miles of highway and 207 bridges in poor condition. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 7.7% in New Mexico, and on average, each driver pays over $750 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. New Mexico will also have the opportunity to apply for funds under the nearly $16 billion in national funding dedicated for major projects that to deliver substantial economic benefits to our communities.

2. Connecting New Mexicans to reliable high-speed internet.

Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, New Mexico is expected to receive a minimum of $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state, including providing access for the at least 220,000 New Mexicans who lack internet connectivity. Currently, 10.7% of New Mexicans live in areas where, under the FCC’s benchmark, there is no broadband infrastructure. Even where infrastructure is available, broadband may be too expensive to be within reach. The bill also expands resources for low-income families, which would help an estimated 38% of New Mexicans afford internet access under the Affordable Connectivity Benefit.

3. Improving our nation’s airports.

Airports in New Mexico are expected to receive approximately $90 million for infrastructure development for airports over five years.

4. Delivering clean drinking water for New Mexico and eliminating the nation’s lead service lines and pipes.

The bill is expected to invest $355 million over five years in New Mexico to improve water infrastructure across the state. This funding is critical for communities in New Mexico, especially rural and Tribal communities, that lack access to clean drinking water due to decades of underinvestment.

5. Improving public transportation options for New Mexicans.

New Mexicans who take public transportation spend an extra 94.3% of their time commuting. One-fifth, or 20%, of transit vehicles in the state are past useful life. Based on formula funding alone, New Mexico is expected to receive $366 million over five years under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to improve public transportation options across the state
.
6. Improving power and water systems.

The bill invests $65 billion nationwide to rebuild the electric grid and pave the way for a clean energy transition, including by building thousands of miles of new power lines and expanding renewable energy like wind and solar. This is crucial to modernizing New Mexico’s grid and tackling the climate crisis. After passing a state grid modernization act last year introduced by Rep. Stansbury as a state lawmaker, New Mexico’s infrastructure is poised to implement these funds.

7. Investing in environmental remediation.

The bill would provide $21 billion to clean up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaim abandoned mines, and cap orphaned natural oil and gas wells that dot the landscape and contribute to climate change.

8. Building a network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to facilitate long-distance travel and provide convenient charging options.

The bill invests $7.5 billion to build out the first-ever national network of EV chargers in the United States to address the climate crisis and support domestic manufacturing jobs. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, New Mexico is expected to receive $38 million over five years to support the expansion of an EV charging network. New Mexico will also have the opportunity to apply for the $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to EV charging in the bill. This funding is critical to achieve net-zero and low carbon emissions in our transportation sector, and especially important in New Mexico where communities are spread out and families must drive long distances.

9. Preparing our infrastructure for the impacts of climate change, cyber-attacks, and extreme weather events.

New Mexico has experienced at least 14 extreme weather events in the past decade, costing the state up to $5 billion in damages. New Mexico is expected to receive $38 million over five years to protect against wildfires and $13 million to protect against cyberattacks. New Mexicans will also benefit from the bill’s historic $3.5 billion in national investment in weatherization which will reduce energy costs for families.

The link to quoted source material is here:

https://stansbury.house.gov/media/press-releases/congresswoman-stansbury-votes-deliver-billions-broadband-water-infrastructure

2022 IS ELECTION YEAR FOR GOVERNOR MLG

On June 3, 2021, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham made it official that she is running for a second 4-year term.

There are at least 6 candidates who have announced that they are seeking the Republican nomination for Governor in 2022. Those candidates in the order of their announcements are:

1. SANDOVAL COUNTY COMMISSIONER JAY BLOCK

Block has fully aligned himself with former President Der Führer Donald Trump. In his announcement he said he is in favor of defunding abortion services and restoring qualified immunity for police officers.

2. KAREN BEDONIE

On April 25, 2021, Republican and retired teacher Karen Bedonie of Farmington announced she is running for the Republican nomination for Governor. Her announcement video featured photographs of Bedonie holding a rife, posing with law enforcers, her husband, and her family, and portrayed her campaign’s focuses on a family, faith, and freedoms-based message.

3. GREG ZANETTI

On June 14, Republican Greg Zanetti announced his campaign. Zanetti is a former Bernalillo County Republican Chairman and a former New Mexico National Guard Brigadier General who now works in the business of wealth management. He has said in the past that he does not intend to get vaccinated for covid.

4. TIM WALSH

On June 30, Albuquerque retired teacher Tim Walsh, age 74, announced he is running for the Republican nominations for Governor. Walsh previously worked as an education adviser to former Republican Governor Gary Johnson and describes himself as the same type politically as Johnson. That likely means being nothing but a libertarian who has decided to become a Republican but who smokes cannabis without telling anyone until he gets termed out.

5. REBECCA DOW

On July 7, three term Republican State Representative Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences announced that she is running for the Republican nomination for Governor. In her announcement, she vowed to address “hard truths” related to the state’s high unemployment rate, low education rankings and chronic child welfare issues.

6. MARK RONCHETTI

On October 27, TV Personality and KRQE weatherman Mark Ranchette announced he is running for Governor. Ronchetti ran for United States Senator in 2020 and lost to Ben Ray Lujan. Ronchetti has already hired Republican political consultant Jay McClesky who is known for his slash an burn tactics and defamation of candidates. There is no doubt that Ronchetti knows New Mexico as long as it’s on a green screen and no matter how inaccurate the forecast that he will be elected Governor.

The Center for Public Policy, a progressive leaning organization, has change its listing in the New Mexico Governors race as “likely democrate” to “lean democrate”. Politcal anayist Larry Sabato with the Center for Public Policy had this to say:

“Republicans do appear to have a solid challenger to Lujan Grisham in 2020 U.S. Senate nominee Mark Ronchetti, a former television weather forecaster who got within half a dozen points of now-Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) last year (there are other candidates, although he is the most notable). Lujan Grisham also has some vulnerabilities that Ronchetti may be able to exploit, although Democrats argue that Ronchetti may very well have peaked as an under-the-radar candidate in last year’s open-seat Senate race.”

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

It very difficult to give any credence to the argument that the 2022 New Mexico Governor’s race is a “lean democrat” race. Virtually all 6 of the Republican candidates are right wing Der Führer Trump candidates with 2 trying to distance themselves from Trump. Lujan Grisham for her part knows full well what is as stake and knows how to deliver and she likely will as is the case with the Valencia County Hospital.

With $3.7 billion In Federal Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act Funding, the allocation of $478 million in federal pandemic aid out of $1.1 Billion in pandemic relief and the $1.6 billion of projected windfall from oil an gas revenues, the state’ s decades long financial woes may finally be coming to an end. The next 4 years of government expenditure of billions may prove to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to diversify the state’s economy.

Lujan Grisham will likely deliver real results while Mark Ranchette will not be able to forecast the hurricane, storms and earthquakes he will experience. No doubt Republicans will do whatever they can to smear the Governor’s accomplishments with the help of their Republican right-wing political bottom feeder consultant who is known for his defamation tactics, and for that reason Lujan Grisham will be motivated to deliver.

The link to a related blog article is here:

$2.64 Million Paid In 2020 Senate Campaign and $450,734 Paid In 2021 ABQ Municipal Election to “McClesky Media Strategies”; McClesky Knows How To “Smear” Candidate Reputations And The Meaning Of “To The Victor Goes The Spoils”; McClesky Forced To Pay $375,000 For Defamation

DOJ, Federal Judge Reluctant To Force APD Into Receivership; Faux Indignation By City; Expired Union Contract Still Enforceable; Monitor Recommends Outsider Take Over APD As Chief; 157 Management Positions In Police Union Out Of 917 Sworn Personnel; Police Union Contract Violates State Law

On December 16, Federal Judge James Browning held an all-day hearing on the 14th Federal monitor’s report on APD’s compliance with the Court Approved Settlement Agreement. The Federal Monitor, the Department of Justice, the City, APD and the police union all gave statement to the court.

This blog article is an in-depth summary of the 14th Federal Monitors Report and major highlights of the December 16 hearing on the report.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Many thanks to Attorney Allen Wagman and Freelance Reporter Charles Arasim who both contributed the information on the hearing with Pete Dinelli solely responsible for the Commentary and Analysis.)

BACKLOG OF USE OF FORCE CASES SEVERLY CRITICIZED

Albuquerque Police Department’s (APD) Internal Affairs Force Division was severely criticized by Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys for the monitor’s findings that 155 use-of-force cases were not assigned to investigators during the 6 month monitoring period. The DOJ attorneys described the failure as a “work stoppage.”

DOJ Attorney Jared Hager put it this way:

“The backlog means APD doesn’t even know whether or not officers are violating the Fourth Amendment and that’s a scary thought. … This core failure echoes our findings of excessive force, which gave rise to the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) 7 years ago. We found then that driving the problem of unconstitutional force was inadequate investigations and the unwillingness on the part of supervisors and command staff to hold officers accountable when force was used.”

SUMMARY OF 14TH FEDERAL MONITOR’S REPORT

The magnitude of the “backlog” dominated the discussions during the all-day federal court hearing before Judge Browning. For that reason, the summary of what the Federal Monitor found in his 14th report merits quoting and is as follows:

“All non-force-related misconduct investigations completed by APD … were found to be deficient. A total of 17 misconduct cases, 6 investigated by Internal Affairs and 9 area command investigations were reviewed, including two that were completed by outside agencies.

The only properly investigated case reviewed by the monitoring team … was completed by an outside agency. In two consecutive reporting periods, a virtual shut down of use of force investigations has occurred in Internal Affairs.

Only 7, or 3%, of the 216 Level 2 cases opened were closed. Only 1 of those 7 was completed within 90 days, or less than one-half of a percent. Only 2 of 91 Level 3 use of force cases opened during this period were completed by [Internal Affairs Force Division] IFD or 2%. Neither of the 2 cases were completed within the CASA required 90-day period.

… these failings [are] more than notable, given the amount of time the monitoring team spent with APD in the last reporting periods specifically focused on process improvement processes at [the Internal Affairs Force Division] IAFD.

Of the 12 cases reviewed for compliance concerning discipline, only 58% met the requirements for adherence to progressive discipline as outlined in the CASA.
A second backlog of 667 uninvestigated use of force cases … was reported. This second backlog is more than double the initial backlog APD dealt with from 2018-2020 and does not include any of the contemporary cases left uninvestigated by IAFD.

Approximately 83% of these cases are already time-barred for discipline in accordance with the [union contract], should misconduct be found. Since its discovery, this backlog has been reduced from 667 cases to 660 cases (as of October 25, 2021).

At this rate of case productivity, we project that it will take APD 94 months to “clear” this second backlog, which, again, would ensure no disciplinary actions for policy violations in another 667 cases.”

Given the amount of focus on the problems related to [the Internal Affairs Force Division (IAFD) ] investigations in previous monitor’s reports, and the exceptional amounts of technical assistance provided by the monitoring team relating to IAFD processes, we can only conclude that this new backlog was intentional, and yet another canard designed to ensure that officers are not disciplined for known policy violations. We consider this another example of deliberate non-compliance exhibited by APD.

Leadership and supervision, especially in the critical areas of reform listed above, are simply lacking—or in some cases not extant. As such, these findings require direct action by the City and APD leadership to identify the causes of, and to take corrective actions responding to, what can only be described as deliberate failures to comply with existing APD policy and with CASA requirements.

Given the extensive amounts of technical assistance provided by the monitoring team related to misconduct investigations and to workload management, we can only conclude that these jarring failures are deliberate.”

CITY REPONDS TO 14TH FEDERAL MONITOR’S REPORT

On November 14 after the 14th Federal monitors report release, City Attorney Estaban Agular, APD Chief Medina and the Police Union took issue with the accusation that the backlog was “deliberate non compliance.”

City Attorney Esteban Aguilar, Jr. had this to say:

“Using … inflammatory hyperbolic language is improper editorializing in a whole lot of areas. … It improperly ascribes intent to the work of our officers, the women and men who are on the ground, trying to not only keep us safe, but trying to implement all of the provisions of constitutional community-based policing.”

… I think it does a disservice to the work of the department, but also the work of the community members who have been engaged in this process, and who have been actually asking for meaningful change as well, because we’ve been walking with them step by step throughout this process.”

APD Chief Medina condemned the 14th Federal Monitor report saying it’s easy for someone who is “thousands of miles away” to point at APD’s problems and saying it’s intentional. Medina claims that everyone is working to comply in the best way they can and he had this to say:

“It’s a matter that we don’t know how to do stuff to their liking, or to their standards. … I think that’s been a problem from the very beginning is that instantly when APD fails, they’re tagged by the monitoring team, DOJ, as ‘Oh, APD is resisting this.’ No, you guys are all here because APD sometimes doesn’t know how to do this stuff. And that’s what we should be doing is if we’re doing it wrong, correct us more quickly, and give us the lag time to put the fixes in place.”

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/apd-chief-disappointed-with-latest-doj-monitor-report/6306468/?cat=500

Shaun Willoughby, President of the Albuquerque Police Officer’s Association, had this to say about the 14th Federal Monitor’s Report:

“Dr. Ginger is pointing the finger at APD, saying that they’re doing this intentionally. That’s an absolute absurd joke. It’s a lie. … The monitor was supposed to be here in Albuquerque, helping with technical assistance. He’s doing that over Zoom and over phone calls from a different state.”

MOVING FORWARD TO ADDRESS BACKLOG

During the December 16 hearing, DOJ attorneys told Judge Browning that in moving forward they would not be content with a “sampling” of the backlogged cases being reviewed. What the DOJ is demanding is that instead sampling, it wants each and every one of the cases to be investigated in order to see if officers violated policies.

The settlement requires all uses of force cases be referred for investigation and not just those where someone makes a complaint. Because the cases haven’t been investigated, the DOJ is saying it’s impossible to say how many violated policies. The newly created External Force Investigation Team (EFIT) found that 10% of the more recent cases were out of policy.

According to the DOJ attorneys, the newest backlog comprises 667 cases and adding that to a 2019 backlog of more than 300 cases, there are almost 1,000 instances where force was used, but APD officers who violated policy cannot be disciplined. US Attorney Paul Killebrew was sharply critical of APD over the backlog and its failure to deal with it and told Judge Browning:

“As this backlog developed, we did not see the sense of urgency, we did not see [APD] … adapt, we did not see them owning the problem. … We saw a lot of focus put elsewhere. We’ve seen a lot of focus on the rhetoric, rather than what’s in the [Federal Monitor’s] reports.”

Assistant United States Attorney Paul Kilebrew told the court the Department of Justice believes that the backlog of cases reflects a “pattern of practice” that is of very serious concern and that it reflects a “failure of leadership and management” at APD. Kilebrew told the court that review and disposal of the back log of cases is considered “very high priority” for the DOJ.

According to the DOJ attorneys, it could take investigators 18 months to work through the cases.

RELEVANT EFIT TIMELINE

The following information was reported to the Court during the December 16 by APD command staff:

The External Force Investigation Team (EFIT) preliminary service contract was fully negotiated by May, 2021.

The EFIT was fully functional by July 16. 2021 and the EFIT professionals services expires May 2, 2022.

All investigator’s hired under the EFIT contract are experienced in Internal Affairs “Use of Force” investigations with many being former commanders or former Chief’s of Police or Tactical K-9 units with many serving in departments under Court approved settlement agreements.

Since July, 2021, EFI and and the APD Internal Affairs Force Division have responded to 198 Use of Force incidents. These investigations have been completed on a average of 54.68 days. In addition, the EFI close 74 Use of Force Investigations averaging a total of 88.35 days until closure.

Eight of the 74 Use of Force cases were found to be out of APD policy (10.81%) and 23 of the 74 inevestigations (32.48%) failed to comply with APD process requirements.

HE SAID, SHE SAID EXCHANGE

Federal Court Monitor Dr. James Ginger in his 14th IME Report and during the hearing made the claim that the severe backlog of cases is “another example of deliberate noncompliance” by APD. In news reports, and during the December 16 hearing, the City, APD and even the union sharply and unequivocally said the backlog is not deliberate and that APD has taken full responsibility for it. Nair emphasized to the court that the city and APD is facing the challenges of rising violent crime and a decrease in ranks within APD and that it is balancing those problems with trying to complete the reform process.

During the December 16 hearing, Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair had this to say:

“During this time [of the monitoring period], the department was coming to grips not just with the pileup of unaddressed cases, but also with the complete inadequacy of the force investigatory processes, and mass departures from the Force Investigation Division at all ranks … We decided to press pause to fix the processes instead of continuing to conduct inadequate investigations. In retrospect, APD leadership recognizes that this was not the right decision.”

“It is a drastic oversimplification and, frankly, the easy way out to say that APD just needs more willingness to achieve reform. … The real challenges are more complex. A lot of times, when we explain the very real choices that the department has made about officers’ time, we’re met with criticism that we’re pushing back against reform. We’re not pushing back on reform. We just know that part of the discussion must be to explain how things actually work and how we can learn from our past.”

The link to quoted source material is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2455105/ignored-use-of-force-cases-dominate-federal-court-hearing.html

BACKLOG STOPPED WITH EXTERNAL FORCE REVIEW TEAM

Earlier in 2021, the City and APD was faced with the real possibility of the DOJ seeking contempt of court and placing APD in receivership after the federal monitor found in 2020 that APD was failing to police itself and failing to investigate excessive use of force cases. It was on February 26, 2021 U.S. District Judge James Browning approved a stipulated order creating the External Force Investigation Team (EFIT) to avoid APD being held in contempt of court and placed into receivership.

EDITORS NOTE: On February 19, 2021, the police union file an “Objection and Motion Opposing” to the EFIT arguing that it was in violation of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and that it affected union rights under the contract. On December 16, the day of the hearing on the 14th report, Judge Browning filed a 65-page Memorandum And Opinion denying the unions Motion and Objection. Before denying the unions motion, the Court first found that the terms and conditions of the Union Contract, which expired on June 31, 2020 is still in full force and affect until a new contract is negotiated. Browning then ruled that the EFIT did not interfere or violate the union contract rights.

The EFIT team is responsible to train APD Internal Affairs (IA) investigators on how to properly investigate uses of force instances by APD police officers. The City agreed that at least 25 force investigators would be assigned to the APD Internal Affairs until APD demonstrates that fewer investigators are necessary to timely investigate uses of force by APD Officers. The city agreed to the creation of the EFIT in lieu of being put into a receivership after the federal monitor found in 2020 that APD was failing to police itself.

During the December 16 hearing, the parties agreed that the EFIT has been beneficial in helping internal investigators and it was reported that the backlog of cases has not continued to accrue since the EFIT team began its work. As a result, the City and the DOJ are in negotiations to extend the EFIT’s contract or hiring another group of civilian investigators to do the force investigations. According to Eric Garcia, the Deputy Superintendent of the Police Reform Bureau, the advantage to hiring civilians include the fact that few sworn officers want to work in Internal Affairs, use of civilians it frees up sworn officers to work in the field, and civilians have a more open mind and are not “tainted by prior experience.” According to Garcia, APD needs to hire staff to clear the use of force case backlog and APD does not have the resources to do so itself.

QUESTIONS FROM THE COURT

During the December 16 Court hearing, after initial remarks, Judge Browning set aside the announced and agreed to agenda by the parties and took control of the proceedings to ask questions and to address a number of issues before the hearing proceeded any further.

PLACING APD INTO RECIEVERSHIP

Judge Browning asked Assistant United States Attorney Paul Kilebrew if the Department of Justice was considering asking the Court to place APD into receivership where the Court would take over the full management and control of APD.

Kilebrew responded that the DOJ was not asking the court to place APD into receivership at the present time, but did emphasize that everything was on the table. It was last year that APD oversight groups and stakeholders, including APD Forward that includes 26 sperate community organization that promote police oversight that have banded together, demanded the appointment of a receiver. The Court made it clear that a receiver would never be appointed unless asked for by the parties.

The fact that Browning asked the question and gave the answer he did no doubt embolden the City to believe that APD will never be placed into receivership.

GINGER’S ASSESSMENT OF APD LEADERSHIP

During his December 16 court presentation, Independent Monitor Ginger predicted that the City was going to deflect blame on what was happening. However Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair said that the monitor’s prediction was wrong, and proceeded to assert that the City “owns the problem”. APD command staff witnesses also said the department has assumed responsibility.

Both Nair and APD Command, including Chief Medina, failed to seriously address the culture within APD. They failed to address to what extent they have failed to implement all the reforms as was promised 4 years ago by Mayor Tim Keller other than giving the excuse that APD does not have enough staffing.

Judge Browning asked Ginger “how deep are the leadership problems at APD” and what can be done to solve those problems. Ginger’s response was far more forthcoming than it has been in the past. Ginger stated that the problems with APD is “failed leadership”. According to Ginger the only thing that is going to change things and stop what is going on at APD is removing the existing leadership. Ginger has made it very clear over the last 7 years, he does not have command and control over APD nor of its personnel. Simply put, Ginger says “It’s not my job”, yet he knows damn well what can and should be done.

Ginger told Judge Browning the leadership problems start from the top executive team and goes down through management to the rank file. Ginger testified that 80% of the issues APD is still faced with in the CASA can be dealt with by a change in leadership.

OUTSIDER NEEDED TO EFFECTUATE CHANGE

It was during an April 15, 2020 hearing when Federal Judge Browning asked Ginger what his thoughts were on the appointment of Chief Harold Medina as the new APD Chief. Dr. Ginger’s response was less than enthusiastic. Dr. Ginger thought then, as now, that APD needs an “external chief” or an “outsider” and in his words someone “nationally” with experience in DOJ reforms. Ginger expressed the opinion that such an outside person was needed to “effectuate real change” within APD.

Federal Monitor Ginger has no management nor control over APD Personnel. He has no authority to hire nor fire. Ginger has repeatedly emphasized that all he can do is make recommendations. Ginger made it clear that Mayor Keller and the City were free to hire whoever they want as Chief, that he could not object, but only offer his opinion that APD needs someone from the outside.

Along with his appointment of Harold Medina as permanent APD Chief, Mayor Keller appointed Sylvester Stanley as “Interim Superintendent of Police Reform” in addition to the position of Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (DCAO). Stanley has a lengthy and distinguished career in law enforcement, but regrettably, has absolutely zero experience in implementing DOJ reforms and constitutional policing practices such as that mandated by the CASA. After a short 8 months on the job, Stanley announced his retirement and will be leaving the city on December 31.

On December 16 when they had an opportunity to speak, CAO Sarita Nair and APD Chief Harold Medina took issue with Ginger saying that an outsider as chief is not what is needed. Nair opined that APD needs a Chief that thoroughly understands the Department, the City and its people. Medina not at all surprising defended his tenure as Chief and said he was the right person at the right time for the job.

CITY CLAIMS PROBLEM “RHETORIC”

During the December 16 hearing, Judge Browning noted news accounts and comments made about the 14th Federal Monitor’s Report and Dr. Ginger by the city and the union and he said he found the rhetoric about Ginger “curious”.

At one point, Judge Browning asked CAO Sarita Nair what were the exact quotes from Ginger that she felt were inflammatory. Nair had difficulty articulating and had trouble and stumbled giving an answer. Eventually, she referred the court to only one statement in the 14th Monitors Report that said:

“Leadership and supervision, especially in the critical areas of reform listed above, are simply lacking —or in some cases not extant. As such, these findings require direct action by the City and APD leadership to identify the causes of, and to take corrective actions responding to, what can only be described as deliberate failures to comply with existing APD policy and with CASA requirements.”

Nair took issue with Ginger’s accusation of “deliberate” and the use of language in organizational development principals designed to “unfreeze”management problems. In what can only be described as a very smug and somewhat bizarre argument by Nair to discredit Dr. Ginger was when she essentially proclaimed the organizational development principals Dr. Ginger relied on are out dated having been developed many decades ago in academia. Dr. Ginger’s doctorate is in the study organizational development while Nair is an attorney. When it comes to an attorney, when the facts are not on your side, you argue the law.

CAO Sarita Nair took issue with Ginger moving towards accusations of deliberate and intentional conduct as opposed to “negligent conduct”. Nair said the reason for city’s focus on Ginger’s “rhetoric” was because of the poor morale it causes within APD amongst sworn officers. Judge Browning responded to Nair that he was not sure just how else Ginger could describe “deliberate” where Ginger has found no negligence by APD. Judge Browning was somewhat dismissive of Nair appearing to give her comments very little or no credence.

FAUX INDIGNATION BY NAIR, AGUILAR AND MEDINA

It is unmistakable that Federal Court Appointed Monitor Dr. James Ginger has changed the tone of his presentations. In the past, he has been like someone watching a lifeboat taking on increasing amounts of water and desperately and loudly sounding the alarm. In his 14th report and during the December 16 hearing, Federal Monitor Ginger seemed to be resigned to the fact that the lifeboat is sinking and he is now saying that the holes in the hull are deliberate.

The language the Federal Monitor used in his 14th report is downright tame to what he has said about APD in the past, yet City Attorney Esteban Aguilar, CAO Sarita Nair and Chief Harold Medina acted indignant over his conclusion that APD is now acting “deliberately and intentionally” not to bring the department into compliance. The blunt truth is that is that “deliberate and intentional” are the only words that accurately describe what has been going on with APD. Nair, Aguilar and Medina ostensibly have forgotten what Ginger has said in past monitor’s reports. Here is a reminder:

11TH FEDERAL MONITOR’S REPORT

In his 11th Monitors report file on May 4, 2020, Ginger wrote:

[“APD personnel are] still failing to adhere to the requirements of the CASA found in past monitoring reports, including some instances moving beyond the epicenter of supervision to mid- and upper management levels of the organization. … some in APD’s command levels continue to exhibit behaviors that “build bulwarks” [or walls] preventing fair and objective discipline, including a process of attempting to delay and in some cases successfully delaying the oversight processes until the timelines for administering discipline had been exceeded. [The] delays prevented an effective remedial response to behavior that is clearly in violation of established policy.”

“… since the beginning of the CASA compliance process that there were a few at APD who were overtly resistant to the CASA. [The Monitor] in the past [has] found evidence of a “counter-CASA effect” among some at the supervisory, mid-management, and command levels at APD. Those who knowingly or subconsciously count themselves in this group are beginning to face pressure to change their assessment of the value of the CASA. In some cases [they] have faced reasonably prompt and appropriate corrective efforts from the current executive levels of the APD for behavior that is not congruent with the CASA. … this as an essential “way forward” if APD is to move into full compliance. The remaining issue is that this pressure is neither uniform nor persistent.”

OCTOBER 6, 2020 HEARING

On October 6, 2020, Federal Monitor Ginger told Judge Browning in open court:

“We are on the brink of a catastrophic failure at APD. … [The department] has failed miserably in its ability to police itself. … If this were simply a question of leadership, I would be less concerned. But it’s not. It’s a question of leadership. It’s a question of command. It’s a question of supervision. And it’s a question of performance on the street. So as a monitor with significant amount of experience – I’ve been doing this since the ’90s – I would have to be candid with the Court and say we’re in more trouble here right now today than I’ve ever seen.”

12TH FEDERAL MONITORS REPORT

In the 12th Federal Monitors Report, Independent Monitor James Ginger wrote a scathing condemnation of APD’s ability to police itself and hold officers accountable when they improperly used force. Ginger found:

“[The federal monitor] identified 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.”

During this reporting period, the monitoring team often found in its reviews of management and oversight practices, a near myopathy at APD when it comes to assessing actions in the field against the requirements of APD policy and the CASA. Supervisors and command level personnel have a deleterious tendency to ignore the requirements of policy and training, and at times to even support processes to hide or circumvent internal systems designed to ensure compliance to established policy. …

[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.

Many of the instances of non-compliance seen in the field are a matter of “will not,” instead of “cannot”! The Monitor reports he see actions that 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.

Most importantly, line officers need to engage in actions as designed by policy, law, and best practice, not past customs.

… [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.

Still evident are systemic failures that allow questionable uses of force and misconduct to survive without being addressed in any meaningful way.”

13TH FEDERAL MONITORS REPORT

In his 13th compliance report of APD filed on May 3, 2021, Federal Monitor had this to say:

“… 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.

… 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.

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.”

The monitoring team views these drops in compliance to be serious and concerning, as they reflect substantial and serious lapses in APD’s command and oversight practices designed to ensure implementation of the CASA. These data indicate that, for the second time since the inception of the CASA implementation process, APD has dropped in period-over-period compliance.

It is clear to the monitor that as of IMR-13, APD is in serious trouble with its ability to generate compliance with the CASA. This should sound alarms at all levels of the Albuquerque City government. It bears repeating that operational compliance rates are lower today than in the IMR-9 reporting period, two years ago.”

REPLACING GINGER

During the December 16 hearing Judge Browning asked the City, the DOJ and Ginger point blank if Ginger should be replaced.

The Department of Justice attorneys told Browning that they had complete confidence in Ginger and were satisfied with his work product.

CAO Sarita Nair for her part said “the city has not at this time asked for a replacement monitor”.

Ginger for his part said that while he’s never quit anything he has started, if the court decided he should move on, he would without hesitation. Ginger also cautioned that he did not think “it will be different with any other monitor.” Ginger said he stood by the work product of his monitoring team, claimed they are the best you can get in the country.

CITIZEN POLICE OVERSIGHT BOARD DISINTEGRATION

Judge Browning was told that the Citizen Police Oversight Board (CPOB) is now down to 5 members, with 4, including the chair, having recently resigned because of overwork and onerous training requirements for members. The resignations come less than 2 months after CPOA Executive Director Ed Harness resigned and less than one month after Superintendent Of Police Reform Sylvester Stanley announced his retirement at the end of December.

City Council has a history of leaving vacancies unfilled for months at a time, even when it has dozens of applications in hand. APD compliance with citizen oversight is one of the areas in which APD has been backsliding. No definitive action was identified as to how the CPOA disintegration can be stopped.

POLICE UNION CONTRACT AND A DENIAL OF UNION OBJECTION TO EFIT

Judge Browning asked the City if the contract between the City and the Albuquerque Police Officers Association (APOA) is still legally in force because the two year contract expired on June 30, 2020. Negotiations on a new contract had began but were suspended not because impasse had been declared by the parties but because of the pandemic.

What complicates matters is the expired union contract did not have a clause that if a new contract was not negotiated before its expiration, the terms of the expired contract would still continue until a new contract was negotiated. Such a clause in labor law is referred to as an “evergreen clause.” It was later revealed by Judge Browning the reason for his question was the Court was filing a ruling and memorandum on the Union’s objection to the City and DOJ agreed order on creating and funding the External Force Review Team. Judge Browning ruled the expired union contract terms remain in force and effect under the New Mexico Collective Bargaining Act.

It was on February 19, 2021, the police union file an “Objection and Motion Opposing the EFIT” arguing that it was in violation of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and that it affected union rights under the contract. On December 16, Judge Browning filed a 65-page Memorandum and Opinion denying the unions Motion and Objection to the EFIT. In his memorandum opinion denying the union’s motion, the Court found that the terms and conditions of the Union Contract, which expired on June 31, 2020, are still in full force and affect until a new contract is negotiated between the city and the police union. The court then ruled that the EFIT did not interfere or violate police union contract rights.

Judge Browning in his ruling does not address the fact that the parties did not declare impasse on union negotiations. The union negotiations were suspended because of the covid pandemic. What is very disappointing is that Browning did not order the parties back to the bargaining table to negotiate a new contract.

UNION ATTORNEY DENIES EXISTENCE OF COUNTER-CASA EFFECT

Police union attorney Frederick Mowrer was the very last person to testify during the December 16 hearing. Mowrer flat-out denied the existence of a Counter-CASA effect. This is the very first time the union has disputed the existence of the Counter Casa Effect and in 7 years the union has never disputed the data the monitor has used to support his conclusions.

https://www.abqjournal.com/2455105/ignored-use-of-force-cases-dominate-federal-court-hearing.html

It was on November 1, 2019, Federal Court Appointed Monitor James Ginger filed his Federal Monitors 10th audit report where the “Counter CASA” effect was fully explained. According to the Federal Monitor’s 10th report:

“Sergeants and lieutenants, at times, go to extreme lengths to excuse officer behaviors that clearly violate established and trained APD policy, using excuses, deflective verbiage, de minimis comments and unsupported assertions to avoid calling out subordinates’ failures to adhere to established policies and expected practice. Supervisors (sergeants) and mid-level managers (lieutenants) routinely ignore serious violations, fail to note minor infractions, and instead, consider a given case “complete”.

Some members of APD continue to resist actively APD’s reform efforts, including using deliberate counter-CASA processes. For example:

• Sergeants assessed during this reporting period were “0 for 5” in some routine aspects of CASA-required field inspections;

• Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) disciplinary timelines, appear at times to be manipulated by supervisory, management and command levels at the area commands, letting known violations lie dormant until timelines for discipline cannot be met. ”

EXPIRED POLICE UNION CONTRACT VIOLATES STATE LAW ALLOWING APD SARGEANTS AND LIEUTENANTS TO JOIN UNION

On December 16 when Judge Browning asked the City if the contract between the City and the Albuquerque Police Officers Association (APOA) is legally in force, Union Attorney Fred Mowrer could not speak up fast enough nor loud enough to offer to brief the issue for Judge Browning. Mowrer without a doubt knows the implication of the question. Mowrer also likely knows that the expired union contract is defective because it does not contain a “evergreen clause” and for that reason the city could argue that there is no union contract. Judge Browning did not confront Mowrer with the question if he was involved with the union contract negotiations on the expired contract and if so, why was there no “evergreen clause”.

Another major problem with the expired union contract is that it likely violates the New Mexico Collective Bargaining Act. Judge Browning is very familiar with the act in that he quotes it extensively in his memorandum opinion denying the union’s objection to the EFIT.

It is well settled federal and state labor laws that management personnel are prohibited from joining unions, yet the expired police union contract defines the collective bargaining unit to include the management positions of APD sergeants and lieutenants.

The 65 page APOA police “Collective Bargaining Agreement” (CBA) can be down loaded as a PDF file at this link:

https://www.cabq.gov/humanresources/documents/apoa-jul-9-2016.pdf/view

It ia Section 1.3.1 of the expired union contract that provides:

“The APOA is recognized as the Exclusive Representative for regular full time, non-probationary police officers through the rank of Lieutenants in the APD … .”

The New Mexico Public Employees Bargaining Act, Sections 10-7E-1 to 10-7E-26 H (NMSA 1978), governs the enforcement of the city’s collective bargaining agreement with the APD police union. The link to the statute is here:

https://www.pelrb.state.nm.us/statute.php

Section 10-7E-5 of the New Mexico Public Employees Bargaining Act makes it clear that management employees cannot join unions and states as follows:

“Public employees, other than management employees and confidential employees, may form, join or assist a labor organization for the purpose of collective bargaining through representatives chosen by public employees without interference, restraint or coercion and shall have the right to refuse any such activities.”

The link to Section 10-7E-5 is here:

https://www.pelrb.state.nm.us/pdf/statutes/10-7E-5_Rights%20of%20public%20employees.pdf

APD STAFFING LEVELS

During the December 16 hearing, APD reported the following staffing levels to Judge Browning :

Full Sworn Officer Count: 917
1 APD Chief
1 Superintendent Of Police Reform (Created 8 months ago)
1 Deputy Superintendent Of Police Reform (Recently created)
6 Deputy Chiefs (3 new Deputy potions created and added)
1 Chief of Staff
12 Commanders
14 Deputy Commanders
44 Lieutenants
113 Sergeants
731 Patrol Officers
2 sworn CSA’s

EDITOR’S NOTE ON APD BUDGET AND STAFFING LEVELS

The Keller Administration and APD command staff attending the December 16 hearing failed to give Judge Browning information on APD’s overall budget as well a breakdown of reported staffing levels.

The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) is the largest budget department in the city. APD’s approved general fund operating 2022 budget is upwards of $222 million, or roughly 4.5% higher than fiscal year 2021 existing levels. Ultimately, the City Council approved nearly all the APD funding the Keller Administration requested in the budget proposal submitted on April 1.

The approved budget contains funding for 1,100 sworn positions and 592 civilian support positions for a total of 1,692 full-time positions. It also includes funding for new positions, including 11 investigators to support internal affairs and the department’s reform obligations under the Federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement, and two communications staffers. Line item funding for APD includes:

$800,000 for the Department of Justice Independent Federal Monitor required under the Court Approved Settlement Agreement that is still pending after 6 years.
$400,000 for the Use of Force Review contract (This is funding for the EFIT)
$2.3 million in funding to annualize funding for 44 additional sworn officer positions added in FY/21.
$90,000 designated for the student loan forgiveness program for APD Officers.
$986,000 thousand for electronic control weapons (TAZER weapons).
$90,000 thousand for the CNM Cadet Academy.

Funding for 1 senior advisor to the Mayor and CAO, 1 internal investigations manager and 1 Superintendent of Police reform position created to provide guidance in reshaping the training, internal affairs and compliance with the Department of Justice and the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) reforms.

https://documents.cabq.gov/budget/fy-22-proposed-budget.pdf

Notwithstanding the approved funding for 1,100 sworn police the number of police officers patrolling the street of Albuquerque is dangerously low. According to an August 2 KOAT news report only 369 are actually patrolling the streets of the city. The 369 filed service officers are divided into 6 area commands and 3 separate shifts. According to the August 2 KOAT TV news report, APD patrol staffing levels are as follows:

369 patrol officers, for six area commands and 3 shifts
59 patrol sergeants
18 lieutenants
18 – 22 bike officers

https://www.koat.com/article/400-apd-patrol-cops-albuquerque-police-department/37203121

POLICE UNION POLL

On October 29, 2021, a mere 4 days before the municipal election for Mayor, the police union released its yearly survey of its membership. The survey was sent to 823 officers with a mere 421 officers responding to the survey. The management positions of APD sergeants and lieutenants are police union members and no doubt participated in the survey.

The highlights of this year’s survey were as follows:

94% do not approve of Police Chief Harold Medina.
98% do not feel supported by Mayor Tim Keller’s administration.
89% do not feel supported by command staff.
42% said Department of Justice reform constraints are the biggest contributor to the crime problem in the city.
24% said it was “justice system problems”, ostensibly meaning the revolving door criminal justice system.
Only 5% said lack of officers is contributing to high crime rates.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

It is important to note that all though the hearing lasted the entire day, the 3 major amici or other stakeholders, including APD Forward that has 26 police oversight organization, were not given the opportunity to speak and provide their input during the December 16 hearing. The Court simply ran out of scheduled time and told the parties to confer and determine if they wanted to schedule more time.

Mayor Keller, the City, the DOJ, the police union and the federal court are not listening or simply could not careless. Dr. Ginger forcefully and emphatically has now said the obvious, not once, but twice, that APD will not change until it gets new leadership that comes from outside the department. Ginger first recommended to the Keller Administration in no uncertain terms to hire a Chief from outside when Mayor Keller terminated former Chief Geier and now he has stated it in open court, not once but twice.

On March 15, 2018 a hearing was held on the Federal Monitor’s 6th Compliance Report. During the hearing Keller revealed he had reached out in December, 2017 to the court and had a confidential meeting with the parties and the federal judge. What Keller told the presiding Judge during the March 15, 2018 hearing was simple enough to understand. Keller said that he campaigned on the DOJ police reforms, he was committed to fully implement all the police reforms, that his appointed APD management was also fully committed to implementation of constitutional policing practices and that he was confident in the management team he appointed to get the job done. Mayor Keller also said “he owned it” when it came to the reforms. Keller also said he would be judged by the progress APD makes or doesn’t make during his term in office.

Fast forward to today. After a full 4 years in office, it can be said there is little reason for hope that things are going to get any better but likely worse. Keller won a second term with a landslide vote even though he and his administration never “owned the police reforms”. Keller was not held accountable nor judged for his failings to implement the reforms. Sadly, Mayor Tim Keller has shown he lacks the insight, the courage nor maturity to do what is needed for change within APD. Keller also knows he has gotten away with it. In politics, it is better to look good than to be good.

In 2017, all the directional indicators were correct that APD needed new leadership from the outside of the Department. Instead of doing what was needed, Mayor Keller conducted essentially a sham “nationwide search” and named APD insider Michael Geier as chief who had retired from APD after 20 years. It was his 3rd retirement from a police agency. (Chicago PD, APD and Rio Rancho)

It took Keller 3 years to realize that Geier was a disaster. Keller fired Geier knowing full well Geier was becoming an election campaign issue. After firing Geier, Keller immediately turned around and appointed yet another APD retread insider as interim Chief, Harold Medina, who as Deputy Chief orchestrated Geier’s firing with CAO Sarita Nair. Keller again announced another national search for a police Chief that also turned out to be a sham.

After serving 3 years as Mayor, Tim Keller should have had wisdom and courage to recognized the need to keep an interim chief in place until after the election, at which time a substantive national search might have attract candidates who might actually be qualified. What hampered applicant numbers is that Keller was running for a second term, his election was not a sure thing, and whoever became Chief could have been out of a job come election day. Only 3 finalists made it through Keller’s second national search and low and behold Harold Medina was selected after the other two finalists essentially withdrew.

Medina has a nefarious past of first killing a 14-year boy banishing a BB gun in a church and years later gave the authorization use deadly force that resulted in APD’s killing of a veteran threatening suicide and having a psychotic episode. A jury verdict of $10 million was awarded in the killing of the veteran with the court finding that the veteran was only a danger to himself and not APD. What was truly amazing is that Medina actually promoted his nefarious past with officer involved shootings as making him qualified to be Chief in that he learned the lesson of the need for constitutional practices.

Simply put, Medina is part of the problem and always has been. Medina helped create, participated in and did not stop the culture of aggression within APD. What is truly amazing is that Medina actually believes he has done a good job as APD Chief as APD continues to disintegrate around him and to spiral out of control and as violent crime hits historic heights. The fact that 94% of sworn police do not approve of Police Chief Harold Medina, 98% do not feel supported by Mayor Tim Keller’s administration and 89% do not feel supported by command staff speaks volumes for failed leadership, yet Medina thinks he has done a good job.

The APD lifeboat is indeed sinking. All the alarm signals are for naught. The DOJ needs realize that things are only going to get worse with APD under the current leadership and it is time to seek the appointment of a receiver.

Judge Browning should be doing more than just asking questions about receivership every 6 months. Judge Browning should order the City and Union back to the negotiating table with instructions that an “evergreen clause” be included and that Sergeants and lieutenants be removed from the police union collective bargaining unit.

For the past 7 years, the police union has done whatever it could to undermine the reform effort including spending $70,000 in an ad campaign saying “You can either have compliance with DOJ reforms or you can have lower crime. You can’t have both.”

With 44 Lieutenants and 113 Sergeants, for a total of 157 management positions in the union out of 917 sworn personnel, it is very easy to figure out that the Police Union is at the epicenter of the failure to implement the reforms.