Dinelli Guest Column In “New Mexico Sun”: APD two step on DOJ reforms justify need to remove sergeants and lieutenants from police union

On June 20, the New Mexico Sun published the following guest column provided by www.PeteDinelli.com:

HEADLINE: “APD two step on DOJ reforms justify need to remove sergeants and lieutenants from police union”

By Pete Dinelli
Jun 20, 2022

“APD is struggling mightily with implementation of 271 mandated reforms to eliminate APD’s “culture of aggression” found by the Department of Justice in 2014. APD has now taken 2 major steps forward and 2 major steps backwards in its continuing 7-year saga to come into compliance with the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA).

On May 11, the Federal Monitor filed his 15th report. It was a dramatic reversal from the past 3 monitor’s reports. At the end of the reporting period, APD’s compliance levels are:

100% Primary Compliance
99% Secondary Compliance
70% Operational Compliance

When APD achieves a 95% compliance rate in the 3 identified compliance levels and maintains compliance for 2 consecutive years, the case can be dismissed.

The Federal Monitor tempered his findings when he wrote:

“The weak points of APD’s compliance efforts remain the same as they were in [the previous reports]: supervisors and mid-level command personnel continue to be the weak link when it comes to holding officers accountable for their in-field behavior. Until that issue is resolved, further increases in APD’s compliance levels will be difficult to attain.”

When the Federal Monitor released his 15th report, APD Police Chief Medina was quick to take credit for the latest improvements. Medina also set the goal for the department to be in full compliance with the settlement agreement in 2 years. Medina’s goal to attain full compliance within two years means the case will not be dismissed for at least 4 years with 2 years to achieve compliance and 2 more years of sustaining compliance.

On May 16, the External Force Investigation Team (EFIT) filed with the Federal Court its third Quarterly Report. EFIT found 102 out of the 229 , or 44.54%, of the APD Use of Force investigations closed by APD were out of compliance. EFIT also reported that as of April 22, 2022, EFIT and the Internal Affairs Force Division responded and opened investigations on 3,674 Use of Force incidents.

The EFIT report states:

“EFIT has serious concerns with the manner in which Internal Affairs Force Division first line supervisors [who are sergeants, lieutenants] are handling daily supervision of the Detectives in the Division. EFIT believes that this is clearly a first line supervisory issue that, if left uncorrected, will continue to render investigations out of compliance with the Process Narrative.”

The Federal Monitor, and now the EFIT, have found that APD sergeants and lieutenants are failing in the use of force investigations or who are resisting the reforms. In the 15th report, the Federal Monitor said:

“What remains to be done is to focus on APD’s sergeants, lieutenants, and commanders to ensure that APD’s major compliance systems are CASA-congruent and reflect department-established oversight of uses of force, oversight of day-to-day delivery of CASA-compliant services to the communities APD serves, and oversight of the compliance functions with respect to uses of force and day-to-day interactions with the public.”

Police sergeants and lieutenants cannot serve two masters of APD management and union that are in conflict when it comes to the reforms. To achieve compliance, sergeants and lieutenants need to be removed from the police union and made at will employees. The removal will allow APD management to take appropriate measures to ensure the reforms are accomplished and hold those who resist the reforms accountable.”

Pete Dinelli is a native of Albuquerque. He is a licensed New Mexico attorney with 27 years of municipal and state government service including as an assistant attorney general, assistant district attorney prosecuting violent crimes, city of Albuquerque deputy city attorney and chief public safety officer, Albuquerque city councilor, and several years in private practice. Dinelli publishes a blog covering politics in New Mexico: www.PeteDinelli.com.



The New Mexico Sun is part of the Sun Publishing group which is a nonprofit. The New Mexico Sun “mission statement” states in part:

“The New Mexico Sun was established to bring fresh light to issues that matter most to New Mexicans. It will cover the people, events, and wonders of our state. … The New Mexico Sun is non-partisan and fact-based, and we don’t maintain paywalls that lead to uneven information sharing. We don’t publish quotes from anonymous sources that lead to skepticism about our intentions, and we don’t bother our readers with annoying ads about products and services from non-locals that they will never buy. … Many New Mexico media outlets minimize or justify problematic issues based on the individuals involved or the power of their positions. Often reporters fail to ask hard questions, avoid making public officials uncomfortable, and then include only one side of a story. This approach doesn’t provide everything readers need to fully understand what is happening, why it matters, and how it will impact them or their families.”

The home page link to the New Mexico Sun is here:


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