Released Video Of Chief Medina’s Car Crash Contradicts Medina’s Version Of Events; Medina And Keller Claim Medina Victim; APD Launches Internal Affairs Investigation And Motor Unit Investigation;  Place Medina On Administrative Leave And Request BCSO Or State Police To Investigate Incident

On Saturday, February 17, Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina and his wife were in an unmarked APD truck when the APD vehicle crashed into a classic, gold color Mustang after Medina ran a red light as he tried to avoid gunfire on East Central.  The driver of the Mustang was taken to a hospital in critical condition but according to reports the driver is expected to make a full recovery.


On February 17, APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos conducted news interviews on the incident.  Gallegos said Medina and his wife were driving to a news conference to be with Mayor Tim Keller sometime before 9:15 a.m. when Medina saw a homeless encampment on Alvarado Street, north of Central.  The planned news conference was scheduled for 10 a.m. outside Adam Food Market convenience store known for crime and homelessness at Central and Pennsylvania.  Medina and Keller were going to talk about addressing crime around the store, which has been the site of several homicides, a police shooting and open-air drug use. The news conference was postponed as Keller and APD officials gathered at the site of the crash.

Gallegos said Medina and his wife were driving to the news conference when Medina saw a homeless encampment on Alvarado, north of Central.   Gallegos said it appeared to Medina that the encampment was blocking the sidewalk.  Gallegos said Medina parked his truck on Alvarado, facing Central, to call and request that officers remove the encampment.

Gallegos reported that Medina said a fight broke out between 2 men on the sidewalk west of Medina’s truck. According APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos, Medina was turning on his radio when Medinas his wife saw the muzzle of a gun being pointed at them and then they heard a shot fired.  Medina reacted by stepping on the gas running a red light to get out of the line of  fire when at the same time a gold Ford Mustang was traveling eastbound on Central. There was a green light at the intersection of Alvarado and as the driver of a gold Ford Mustang drove forward, it was struck on the driver’s side door by Medina’s truck seriously injuring the driver.

The driver of the Mustang was taken to UNM Hospital in critical condition at the time of the incident. The extent of his injuries is unknown but according to APD, he is now in stable condition and expected to make a full recovery. It was reported the chief, his wife, and the target of the shooting were not injured.

APD said Medina took a breathalyzer and drug test after the crash and requested an Internal Affairs investigation be done because he admitted he did not have his lapel camera on.  On Saturday afternoon, February 17, police shared a gunshot detection alert and investigative findings that showed the fight happened on the opposite side of the street and more than 100 feet from the encampment.


On February 17 during a news conference after the crash, Mayor Tim Keller implied that the fight and shooting were tied to encampments. Mayor Tim Keller reacted to the incident by saying this:

“[Getting the call about the crash was] one of those types of calls that I dread. … It always starts with, ‘There’s been an altercation with an officer, there’s been a shooting,’ and then I hear it’s the chief. So that is the worst way I ever want to start the day.  … Fortunately, in this case, I quickly learned he was OK.  … [Chief Medina is] arguably the most important person right now in these times in our city. … [The shooting incident is an example of] why we are never quitting when it comes to trying to make our city safer. … But it’s hard. It is extremely hard. It affects everyone, including our chief of police on a Saturday morning.”

“This is actually him on a Saturday morning, disrupting an altercation, a shooting, trying to do what’s right, trying to make sure that folks are okay after on scene. This is above and beyond what you expect from a chief, and I’m grateful for Harold Medina.  … For us, we need to continue that clarion call for at every single level to do everything we can to make our city safer.  We don’t know any details, but would not be surprised if there was fentanyl, or whatever other illegal substance could have been exchanged. These are the kinds of things that we absolutely have to address. And this is not going to change unless we have major steps that we can take at every level.”

EDITOR’S COMMENTARY:  Keller totally ignored and did not even mention the innocent driver of the Mustang who was hit by Medina. Keller did not even mention Chief Medina’s wife nor express any concern for her as well.  What is downright embarrassing and pathetic is the lengths to which Mayor Tim Keller went to praise Chief Harold Medina for his actions especially when he said “[Chief Medina is] arguably the most important person right now in these times in our city.”

Links to news sources are here:


On Tuesday February 20, APD released the supplemental report from the incident. According to the report, about 9:15 a.m. Medina called over dispatch that he had been in a crash at Central and Alvarado and “there were shots fired.”  Medina told dispatch the man with the gun ran into the Tewa Lodge courtyard, where officers searched to no avail.

The report said Medina told officers he was parked at the intersection when two men began arguing in front of the motel and one pulled out a gun. Medina told police he “could see the barrel of the gun and knew he was in the line of fire so he immediately began driving.”

The APD investigation found Medina drove through a red light and crashed into the driver, who was headed east on Central. The police report said surveillance video showed the shooter ran west and got into a truck that was parked outside Café Da Lat. The person who was shot at did not stay at the scene or talk to police “aside from a short conversation with Chief Medina to tell him he was not shot.”

Hours later, on Saturday afternoon, police shared a gunshot detection alert and investigative findings that showed the fight happened on the opposite side of the street and more than 100 feet from the encampment.


On Tuesday, February 20, Medina did a “Chief’s Corner” video briefing which was sent to all APD personnel where he appeared standing and in full dress uniform. He announced that it was a “special edition” of his Chief’s corner to discuss the February 17 car crash with APD personnel. He spoke directly into the camera and spoke calmly for 6 minutes, 47 seconds and gave a very detailed report on the car crash he and his wife were involved in.

Medina started out by saying this:

“This weekend was a big reminder to me what it was like to be a patrol officer and have to make difficult decisions, and life-and-death decisions, in a split second.”

In the video, Chief Medina mentions he was out of town all the week before on a work conference and came back to town late Friday night. On Saturday, February 17, he said he wanted to take his wife to a morning press conference with the Mayor and they could have a Valentines day “dinner” afterwards.

Medina goes on to say this:

We got ready, and as we went in, we stopped for a cup of coffee and we were talking on the way to the southeast for the press conference when we were driving down Central. And I noticed that there could possibly be a homeless encampment on Alvarado, north of Central. As most area commanders are well aware, I point this out and ask that they get them cleaned up when they can.”

Medina goes on to says this in the video:

“They were two individuals. I do not know if they were homeless, but they were in some type of argument. I reached down to hit my radio and to hit the horn on my control console. When my wife stated “gun, gun”. I looked up and I could hear that a shot had been fired and I saw an individual that was holding a firearm, pointing at another individual who is directly in line with my wife.”

In his Chief’s Corner video statement, Medina said his wife saw the men arguing first and told him, “look, those two homeless individuals are about to get into a fight.”  Medina said I do not know if they were homeless, but they were in some type of argument. Medina said he “stayed there a second [and] evaluated the situation” and said he decided the “best thing” was to get his wife out of harm’s way “and regroup.”   Medina went on to says this:

“I was the victim of this traffic accident, and it’s a direct impact of what gun violence is doing to our community. And we need to continue to work at it. I did call out I did submit to a drug test, as any officer would.”

Medina said on the video he thought the oncoming Mustang, would pass through intersection before he got there.  Medina said in his video statement  “I looked to my left, and the intersection was cleared. … And I thought that the car was going to pass before I got there, and it did not, and unfortunately, I struck a vehicle.”

Medina essentially admitted he ran a red light and that he did not have the right away. Medina also admitted before he did not have his body camera on at the time of the accident.

Chief Medina admitted that his wife has not been certified for police ride along with him. Medina said the SOP on police ride along has been relaxed by Mayor Keller where ride along forms to allow relatives to ride along with patrol officers and for personal use are no longer required.  In the video Medina says this:

“…we are not going to change processes or policies related to take home cars…the mayor fought hard in 2018 to make sure that we could have a life work balance…I’m going to make sure that uh you don’t have to fill out ride-along forms…”

However, APD standard operating procedures do not reflect any changes that unauthorized Patrol Ride-Along are allowed for family members. (See Postscript below “Patrol Ride Along Program, SOP 1-6-4 dealing with Unauthorized Patrol Ride-Along”) 

Medina said he and his wife were in fact examined for injuries with x- rays taken of his wife and they were not seriously injured and have fully recovered.

Medina said he was sorry for the man who was injured and wished him “a speedy recovery.”  Medina said “We did try to reach out to him and he is not ready to speak to us, and that’s not surprising.”

The Chief’s corner statement was posted on Youtube where it could be viewed, but on February 20, it was discovered it had been taken down. However, you can view the video on the on-line news ABQ Raw here:

The link to the video was:

The link to other quoted news sources are here:


On February 21, APD  released a surveillance video that shows Chief Harold Medina running a red light and crashing into the Ford Mustang seriously injuring the driver of the Mustang.  The surveillance video reveals two major falsehoods in Chief Medinas version of events:

  1. That the intersection was clear when Medina ran the red light.
  2. That Medina talked to the victim of the shooting.

The surveillance video starts with the usual Saturday morning traffic on East Central. One man walks into the frame heading east while another man crosses Central, heading west. Within seconds they meet on the corner of Central and Alvarado and then you see the two men start fighting.  The two men can be seen fighting outside the Tewa Lodge motel, swinging their arms as the scuffle moves down the sidewalk. At the same time, Medina’s APD-issued unmarked truck can be seen inching out into Central.

Medina’s  truck drives into oncoming westbound traffic, between two vehicles, one of which appears to stop to avoid a crash. Medina’s truck then accelerates quickly across the two west bound lanes of Central and crashes into the classic Mustang headed east. The man who allegedly fired the gun appeared to watch the crash unfold before running down the sidewalk.

Medina said  in his Chief’s Corner video statement “I looked to my left, and the intersection was cleared. … And I thought that the car was going to pass before I got there, and it did not, and unfortunately, I struck a vehicle.”  Even though Medina said in his Chief’s Corner video that the traffic was clear on the North Lane on Central traveling West, the video shows it was not clear at all and there was oncoming traffic.

The surveillance video shows Medina  cutting  in front of another car before accelerating at a fast rate of speed  through the intersection. The video shows oncoming traffic with Medina first slowly inching between two vehicles traveling West on the North side lanes of Central and Medina then accelerating to cross to the South traveling lanes of Central at a high rate of speed and crashing into the Mustang that was traveling  East  on the South lanes of Central.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s highly likely that Medina could have avoided the entire crash by simply turning right to go West on Central as opposed to flooring his vehicle to go forward goin South and attempting to turn left to go East. This would also had the immediate affect of driving the vehicle out of the line of fire with the motel building  providing an extent of obstruction.

The crash resulted in both vehicles doing a half circle turn in a counterclockwise direction. Medina’s truck came to rest against the southeast corner of the intersection with front end and rear end damage including a collapsed rear wheel reflecting an apparent broken axle. The Mustang was struck on the driver’s side with the door ripped opened and it also struck the south curb just east of the intersection and skid east before coming to rest, facing west, in the eastbound lane.

According to the Supplemental report released by APD, the person who was shot at did not stay at the scene or talk to police “aside from a short conversation with Chief Medina to tell him he was not shot.”  It was Chief Medina who reported that he went to check on the victim who was shot at, however the video provided by APD shows the alleged victim running to Medina’s truck to check on passengers after the crash but once he got to the vehicle and saw who was inside, he did not talk with the passengers,  and he immediately runs away south on Alvarado and he was not seen again.

The links to news sources and video are here:


On Monday, February 19, the Albuquerque Police Department announced the Office of the Superintendent of Police Reform opened and Internal Affairs Investigation to review if Medina violated any APPD policies.  An investigation by APD’s specialized Motors Unit was also announced for a more in-depth investigation of the car crash. The APD Motors Unit is called out to the most severe crashes while minor crashes are investigated by field officers. APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said this:

“As a result of this whole incident, we do have our motors unit out conducting an investigation. We do have our impact detectives who’ve come out to interview the chief, otherwise, he would be here to give information on this, but he wanted to do the interview with the detectives first.”


On February 19, the 3 local TV news outlets began to make serious inquiries as to what happened on February 17 and demanding further information from APD.   Three separate news stories ran where APD essentially attempted to clarify what happened as well at attempt to justify Chief Medina’s actions.

The APD officials acknowledge that Chief Medina did not have his body camera on and did no recording during the crash.  APD officials also said Medina powered on his camera only after the crash, but it’s not clear if it recorded anything.

APD Officials told media outlets they would not expect any officer would have their camera on during an “unanticipated crash.”  Officials also said Medina did not activate it when he exited his car but did power it on at some point. It will be up to the Internal Affairs to determine if Medina violated APD policy on the mandatory use of body cameras.

According to APD’s standard operating procedures, if an officer has a non-sworn passenger with them when they get a felony or emergency call, they have to drop off the passenger first and then respond. APD officials attempted to make it clear Medina was not responding to a call.

According to APD officials, the fact that Medina had his wife was in his unmarked APD car did not violate APD policy. It was disclosed Medina and his wife were planning on having dinner together after the scheduled news conference that was canceled because of the shooting and the crash, yet the accident happened at 9:15 am in the morning and not dinner time.

APD said it would violate APD policy if Medina was responding to a felony or emergency response, but Medina was not responding to a call. The problem is the incident evolved into a call for service involving a felony and the discharge of a  firearm which is a circumstance why ride alongs must be authorized.

APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos explained how quickly everything happened Saturday by saying this:

“It just happened in front of him. So as that was happening, he was actually, he never called for help. He was turning on his radio. And that’s when his wife saw them, the muzzle of the gun pointed at them. That’s what she perceived. And then they heard the shots fired, and he just stepped on the gas to get out of the situation.”

APD says investigators will determine which policies and procedures apply to Medina, who, unlike patrol officers, does not respond to calls for service. Medina will often arrive at scenes, but APD says that’s to support responding officers rather than respond to the call himself. APD also says Medina attends events that are often outside of work hours and his wife might be with him.

APD officials made it clear that they will not hand the investigation to New Mexico State Police or the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office because no one died and the investigation is looking into the department’s own policies.

APD officials said the final investigation will go to the Superintendent of Police Reform, which is overseen by the City Chief Operations Officer (COO) who ultimately reports to the mayor. No timetable on when the investigation will wrap up was given. According to the city’s website, as of February 19, the COO’s position is vacant.


On February 19, APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos issue the following statement to KOAT-TV news:

“The Office of the Superintendent of Police Reform opened an Internal Affairs Review, at Chief Medina’s request, to determine whether appropriate department policies were followed.  Investigators will determine which policies and procedures apply to the Chief of Police, who uses a department-issued vehicle to conduct city business. Unlike patrol officers or detectives, the Chief does not respond to calls for service, nor does he respond to call-outs as part of a critical incident response or investigatory process.

However, Chief Medina does go to crime scenes in his role as Chief to support officers and APD personnel who are working on the front lines. Chief Medina also attends news conferences, meetings with city directors, city councilors, business and neighborhood leaders, crime victims, elected leaders, law enforcement leaders, and countless people throughout the community. Often times, these functions are outside of work hours and his spouse may be with him, either to attend the function with the chief, or in this case, they were going to have breakfast together after Chief Medina returned from work-related trip.

On Saturday, Chief Medina was not responding to a call. He noticed individuals who appeared to be violating city ordinance and he drove around the block to make sure he was correct before he called the Area Commander to ask him to send an officer to address the violation. After stopping at a red light, Chief Medina witnessed an argument that quickly escalated into a physical altercation and a single gunshot. Unfortunately, Chief Medina crashed into a driver who was passing by on Central as the chief attempted to get his wife and himself out of the line of gunfire. Chief Medina and his wife are grateful that the driver is expected to recover from his injuries.”


On February 19, KOAT reached out to Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association President Shaun Willoughby, on APD’s standard operating procedures and Medina’s Saturday’s car crash. Willoughby said this:

“At the end of the day, this kind of stuff happens quick. It unfolds right before your eyes, and before you know it, you’re in almost a police emergency type situation.

Albuquerque Police officers are scrutinized to an unbearable level. If he did not have video recording of the incident from the beginning of his contact until the end, he should be disciplined just like any other Albuquerque Police officer would be.”

To be honest with you, I would be personally shocked. Considering the level of accountability that this police department holds on its officers, if that accountability matrix, did not apply to the chief. Even if he had his camera on him, and it wasn’t recording, that’s a policy violation,


 On February 19, KOAT TV also reached out to private attorney Tom Grover, who often represents APD officers in city personnel disciplinary actions, for comment. Grover is also a retired APD Officer. Grover issued the following statement to KOAT TV:

“… NMSA 1978, Section 29-1-18(A) holds that:

“A law enforcement agency shall require peace officers the agency employs and who routinely interact with the public to wear a body-worn camera while on duty.”

As Chief of the APD, it is undisputed that Chief Medina routinely interacts with the public in a variety of capacities, including in the enforcement of laws. The events this past Saturday exemplify why the legislature passed this statute in the wake of many high-profile police officer encounters with the public: to ensure transparency.

Unfortunately, Chief Medina failed to comply with this statute by not having his OBRD activated to record the encounter he had. Because of Chief Medina’s failure to abide by state law, and APD’s own SOPs, there may be dire consequences. Under the statute, per Section 29-1-18(C), he “may be presumed to have acted in bad faith and may be deemed liable for the independent tort of negligent spoliation of evidence or the independent tort of intentional spoliation of evidence.”

I have represented officers who were disciplined harshly for failing to record encounters with the public and it stands only to be fair that Chief Medina face significant consequences for this failure on Saturday.”


The general public can be thankful that Chief Medina and his wife were not seriously injured. However, the general public should be very concerned about the fate of the injured driver and the extent of personal injuries and property damages caused to the driver by Chief Medina.


It’s downright disgusting and was insulting to police officers that Mayor Keller tried to make Medina out as some sort of a hero when he said this:

“This is actually him on a Saturday morning, disrupting an altercation, a shooting, trying to do what’s right, trying to make sure that folks are okay after on scene. This is above and beyond what you expect from a chief, and I’m grateful for Harold Medina.”

On the same day, APD police officers were shot at and Keller made no mention of the incident.

It was as equally disgusting when Chief Medina said in his Chief’s Corner statement:

“I was the victim of this traffic accident, and it’s a direct impact of what gun violence is doing to our community.”

What about the citizen Chef Medina hit and put in the hospital in critical condition?

Chief Harold Medina’s “Chief Corner” statement is the type of recorded statement that keeps City Attorneys and Defense attorneys up all night and that causes Plaintiff’s trial attorneys to salivate and make plans to buy new cars or homes or both.

In the recording, Chief Medina made more than a few admissions against interest and admitted to personal liability as well as admitted to violating any number of APD standard operating procedures. Medina’s Chief’s Corner Statement alone would likely sustain a motion for a directed verdict against the city. The city might as well give the injured party a blank check to fill out.

It is more likely than not litigation will ensue by the driver of the Mustang against the city for personal injury, medical bills and property damages and perhaps punitive danages. The injured person will recover a significant judgment if the city does not settle out of court. It was reported that the injured driver had a green light which means Medina ran a red light and was at fault. From the looks of the news coverage, significant damage was done to the victims Mustang and it is probably totaled.

It was reported the driver was in “critical condition” and taken to the hospital, yet APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos went out of his way on February 17 to proclaim the injured driver was expected to have a “speedy recovery” without so much as disclosing the actual extent of the victim’s injuries. It’s believed the injured party is still in the hospital and it is unknown what his injuries were and if surgery was required.

Then there is the matter of the extent the significant damage was also done to Medina’s vehicle. Medina’s truck is a department issued vehicle and as such has a high-end value of probably upwards of $75,000 and equipped with law enforcement equipment. Medina’s city vehicle is also likely totaled.

The city is a self-insured entity, meaning any and all damages that resulted from the car crash will have to be paid for out of the city’s general fund and its risk management fund, meaning the taxpayer will foot the bill.


It is somewhat comical that APD announced that the office of Superintendent of Police Reform opened an Internal Affairs investigation on APD Chief Medina in that the the Superintendent is a former Deputy Chief under Medina and its likely he has loyalty to the Chief. The truth is that is not the Superintendent’s responsibility to do such investigations and the responsibility is to only review completed cases.

It is also comical that only now that an investigation with APD’s specialized motors unit is being ordered for a “more in-depth” investigation.  APD  Standard Operating Procedure 2-47  deals withCrashes Involving Department Issued Vehicles” and is provided in the postscript. The SOP mandates an elaborate process and procedures that must be followed  for crashes involving department issued vehicles such as Medina’s  crash.

The procedures that must be used include requesting the Albuquerque Fire Rescue (AFR) to assist with injuries, secure the scene to prevent further damage, preserving of evidence and request that an on-duty supervisor respond to the scene of the crash. The gathering of evidence, taking of photographs and witness statements is also mandated. Standard Operating Procedure 2-47, Section 2-47-4 dealing with “Crashes Involving Department Issued Vehicles” is provided in the postscript.

The specialized unit investigation should have been ordered the very day of the accident as required before the scene was cleared and the vehicles removed.  Ostensibly, that was never done, no statements were taken including that of Chief Medina. Its likely forensic evidence has now been compromised.


Based on all the news accounts and the comments and statement issue by APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos and the admissions against interest and admissions of liability made by Chief Harold Medina, it is clear Medina violated one or more of APD’s Standard Operating Procedures.  The POSTSCRIPT to this blog article outlines all the Standard Operating Procedures likely violated directly or indirectly by Chief Medina.

Medina has admitted he did not have his police radio on in his truck which is a standard operating procedure violation.  Medina also admitted he did not turn his body camera on in a timely manner which is a violation APD Standard Operating procedures. At no point did Medina have any emergency equipment on during or after the event which is another violation.

Medina violated the following APD Standard Operating Procedures:

  1. Chief Medina did not activate his “on body recording device” (OBRD) in a timely manner (Standard  Operating Procedure Section 2-8-4, “Use of On Body Recording Devices” and  2-8-5 “Mandatory Recordings”)
  2. Chief Medina involved his wife in a patrol and enforcement action when he decided to stop and investigate the homeless encampment and it escalated involving a felony resulting in her being placed in harm’s way. Chief Medina’s wife is  not certified for APD ride along. (Standard Operating Procedure 1-6-4 Unauthorized Patrol Ride Along)
  3. Chief Medina  did not take his wife to a safe and convenient location before he attempted to take action and investigate. (Standard Operating Procedure 2-5, 2-5-4)
  4. Chief Medina did not have his vehicles emergency warning equipment engaged when he made the initiate stop to investigate nor when he took off to flee from the scene. (Standard Operating procedure 2-6, 2-6-4)
  5. Chief Medina did not drive his vehicle with due regard for the safety of others and drove with reckless disregard for the safety of others by running a red light and driving his vehicle without the vehicle’s emergency equipment on and when he ran the red light. (Standard Operating Procedure 2-6, 2-6-4)
  6. Chief Medina did not follow Standard Operating Procedures dealing with the investigation of “Crashes Involving Department Issued Vehicles. (Standard Operating Procedure 2-47 deals with “Crashes Involving Department Issued Vehicles”)
  7. Upon information and belief, Chief Medina has not prepared a Uniform Incident Report as required by Standard Operating Procedure. (Standard Operating Procedure 2-7, 2-7-4)


No sworn law enforcement officer, including APD Chief Harold Medina is above enforcement of police standard operating procedures. A chief must follow standard operating procedures and be held accountable for any violations just like he holds all those officers of lesser rank he manages and even disciplines.

The APD policy for responding to calls says when officers are responding to a call they must “exercise due regard for the safety of all persons and property.” It adds that they have right of way while responding to a call, but it does not relieve them from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all others.

It’s more likely than not that Chief Medina will not  face  any discipline, given he is a command level and Mayor Keller has called Medina arguably the most important person right now in these times in our city.”  If this was a patrol officer making these same mistakes and violating Standard Operating Procedures, Chief Medina would most likely give them hours of suspension without pay or even flat out terminate them.  That is exactly what happened when a few years ago an APD officer ran a red light traveling at a high rate of speed and crashed into another vehicle seriously injuring  himself  and critically injuring  a mother and her two children,  The case resulted in a multimillion dollar judgement against city.

This whole car crash incident and how it has been handled further erodes the credibility of Chief Medina and Mayor Tim Keller whose reputations have already been damaged to a great extent by the ongoing Federal Investigation of the entire DWI Unit that has been implicated in a bribery and conspiracy scheme involving a prominent DWI defense attorney to dismiss cases.


Chief Medina had no business discussing the case in a “Chief’s Corner” statement and he should have kept his big mouth shut. That would have been accomplished had Mayor Keller placed APD Chief Harold Medina on Administrative Leave until a complete investigation of the crash and an incident report is prepared.

Mayor Keller should also ask the Bernalillo County Sheriff or State Police to investigate and prepare final reports on the car crash to ensure complete objectivity and avoid any conflicts of interest that will arise with APD personnel investigating their own Chief of Police.

If Mayor Keller does not act against Medina, the City Council should step in and seek to terminate Chief Medina.



EDITOR’S NOTE: The Albuquerque Police Department’s Standard Operating Procedures Manual (SOP) is available online. The manual contains three specific areas: General Orders, Procedural Orders and Administrative Orders. For a complete list of SOP’s click here:


Below are the Standard Operating Procedures that were likely violated by APD Chief Harold Medina:

It is Standard Operating Procedure 1-6 the deals with the APD “Patrol Ride Along Program”

1-6-4 entitled Rules outlines ride along with police.

Eligibility for Participation in the Patrol Ride-Along Program

  1. The Patrol Ride-Along Program is neither a public relations program nor is it intended to satisfy a community member’s curiosity about police work.
  2. Professional Staff members and community members are permitted to participate in patrol ride-alongs for the purpose of meeting their training and educational needs.
  3. A professional staff member or community member who wants to participate in the Patrol Ride-Along Program must be eligible for the Department’s Volunteer Program or Internship Program, consistent with SOP Volunteer and internship Programs …

…  .

Unauthorized Patrol Ride-Along

Officers and PSAs shall abide by the Patrol Ride-Along requirements prior to authorizing any community member or professional staff member to ride along on patrol.


It is 2-5 of APD Standard Operating Procedures that deal with use of APD issued department vehicles.  Section 2-5-4 specifically deals with General Procedures For Department-Issue Vehicles and provides in part:

When operating a Department-issued vehicle, sworn personnel shall:

  1. Have their police radio on and tuned to the proper frequency for their location;
  2. While on-call, carry all necessary equipment for a call-out;
  3.  Consistent with SOP Personnel Code of Conduct and SOP Uniforms, have in their possession a jacket or vest that clearly displays the Department insignia, their badge, identification card, handcuffs, body armor, radio, on-body recording device (OBRD), and firearm to effectively perform a police function. …

When responding to a felony call with non-sworn personnel as passenger(s), except for approved ride-along, first drop off the passenger(s) at a convenient and safe location, then respond to the call consistent with Department Standard Operating Procedures (SOP);

… .


It is 2-6  of APD Standard Operating Procedures that deals with Use of Emergency Warning Equipment.

Section 2-6-4 entitled Procedures states as follows:

Authority for Code Response.

When sworn personnel respond to an emergency call, or when in pursuit of an individual who has violated or is suspected of violating a law, sworn personnel shall be authorized to exercise the right-of-way privilege , pursuant to the New Mexico state statute on authorized emergency vehicles, if the officer is driving an authorized emergency vehicle and properly using authorized emergency warning equipment.

This authority does not:

1.Relieve the officer who is driving an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of others; or

2.Protect the officer from the consequences of reckless disregard for the safety of others.


It is 2-7 of APDs Standard Operating procedures that deals with DAMAGE TO CIVILIAN PROPERTY

Section 2-7-2  entitled Policy provides:

It is the policy of the Department to document when Department personnel damage civilian property …  during the course of their official duties.

…  .

Section 2-7-4 entitled  Procedures provides:

  1. Civilian property may include, but is not limited to:



When Department personnel damage civilian property, they shall:

  1. Complete a Uniform Incident Report documenting the damage;
  2. If the primary officer caused the damage, they shall document the information in their Uniform Incident Report. 
  3. If another officer caused the damage, they shall document the information in a Supplemental Report.

…  .


It is 2-8 of APD’s standard operating procedures that deals with  “USE OF ON-BODY RECORDING DEVICES”

Section 2-8-4 entitled Rules provides as follows:

All uniformed and plainclothes sworn personnel, Police Service Aides (PSA), Crime Scene Specialists (CSS), PTU personnel, and all uniformed personnel shall wear a Department-issued OBRD while on-duty. Exceptions to wearing the OBRD include:

  1. Written approval by the Chief of Police, which will be limited to Department personnel who do not routinely interact with the public and only when those personnel are not engaging in law enforcement or investigative encounters with the public, including any mandatory recording events. Notwithstanding this exception, all Department personnel shall record mandatory recording events.
  2. During training, unless required to wear the OBRD for training purposes;
  3. Bomb Squad personnel, while actively working a scene with suspicious or hazardous items; and
  4. Any duty assignment where sworn personnel do not carry a Department-issued badge and firearm, including restricted duty, administrative assignment, or administrative leave.


Section 2-8-5 of APD’s standard operating procedures delineates “Mandatory Recordings” by APD sworn personnel and provides as follows:

  1. Department personnel shall activate their OBRD [ON BODY RECORDING DEVICE] for any call for service that involves a law enforcement encounter, for any other law enforcement encounters that involve contact with community members, and for any investigative encounters involving community members.
  2. For all mandatory recording events, Department personnel shall activate their OBRD prior to contact with individuals, except during emergency situations that require immediate action to preserve life or safety. At the first available opportunity, Department personnel shall activate their OBRD immediately.
  3. Examples of mandatory recording events include, but are not limited to: Law enforcement encounters; Traffic crashes;


Standard Operating Procedure 2-47 deals with “Crashes Involving Department Issued Vehicles”

2-47-4 outlines the following Procedures:

General Procedures for Crashes that Involve Department-Issued Vehicle Department personnel who are Involved in the crash shall:

  1. Request Albuquerque Fire Rescue (AFR) for any injuries;
  2. Secure the scene to prevent further damage;
  3. Preserve evidence;
  4. Request that an on-duty supervisor respond to the scene of the crash;
  5. Request for an available officer or Police Service Aide (PSA) to be dispatched to investigate the crash and to complete a Uniform Crash Report (UCR) to include the vehicle or unit number on the UCR diagram or narrative;
  6. The responding officer or PSA who completes the UCR shall gather sufficient information concerning the cause of the crash to testify at the Crash Review Board (CRB) Hearing, if necessary; and
  7. Request for a supervisor, a Crime Scene Specialist (CSS), or a Police Service Aide (PSA) to photograph the crash.
  8. Photographs shall include close-ups, mid-ranges, and the overall scene.
  9. Photographs shall be tagged into evidence as outlined in SOP Collection, Submission, and Disposition of Evidence and Property (refer to SOP Collection, Submission, and Disposition of Evidence and Property).
  10. Supervisors with Axon training may take the photographs for non-injury crash investigations.

The investigating supervisor shall:

1.Determine whether the crash involves serious personal injury, death, or substantial damage to any involved Department personnel or the Department-issued vehicle before clearing the scene of the crash;

2.Notify the following personnel to respond to the scene of the crash if it involves life-threatening injuries or death:

i.Internal Affairs Professional Standards (IAPS) Division investigative personnel;

ii . An on-duty CSS; and

iii. The on-call Metro Traffic Division Fatal Traffic Team supervisor.

  1. Based on the damage to the Department-issued vehicle and the extent of injuries, determine whether the on-call Metro Traffic Division Fatal Traffic Team will investigate the crash;
  2. Ensure that all crashes involving Department-issued vehicles, no matter how minor, are documented in a UCR;
  3. Submit an Internal Affairs (IA) database web application entry for vehicle crashes, which includes copies of the completed UCR and City of Albuquerque Substance Abuse Program Post-Accident Decision Making Form;
  4. Forward the completed UCR and the City of Albuquerque Substance Abuse Program Post-Accident Decision Making Forms to the lieutenant or division  head within five (5) calendar days;
  5. Examine any damage to Department-issued vehicles and physical evidence present to ensure that there is consistency with the reported circumstances; and
  6. Determine whether the Department-issued vehicle is safe enough to remain in service or if the vehicle should be transported to the City of Albuquerque Fleet Management (Pino Yards) at 5501 Pino Ave NE.
  7. The on-scene supervisor or investigating officer may allow the involved vehicles to be moved if they impede the safe flow of traffic.
  8. The on-scene supervisor or investigating officer may only allow the vehicles to be moved from the scene for non-injury crashes or when moving the vehicles does not significantly impact the investigation.
  9. Operations Review Section personnel shall review the UCR and the IA database web application entry for accuracy and to ensure that all required documents are attached to the IA database web application entry.
  10. After reviewing the UCR and the IA database web application entry, the Operations Review Section Fleet Coordinator shall:

Send the IA database web application entry information to IAPS Division personnel; and

Forward the UCR to the Metro Traffic Division Administrative Assistant.

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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.