www.PeteDinelli.com will be on hiatus until June 4. Please feel free to use the search engine block on the above right hand to search for past articles published on topics of interest or published over the last 6 years. Just type in a topic (ie: homeless, DOJ Fed. Monitors Reports, NM legislature, City Council etc. or names of elected officials) and blog articles written will appear.

Below is a list of  recent blog articles published since January 1, 2024 you might find interesting (NOTE; The list does NOT include 2024 NM legislative updates published):

Conservative City Council Continues With Personal Vendetta Against Mayor Tim Keller And His Progressive Agenda; Council Proposes Sweeping City Charter Amendments To Impact Mayor Keller Re-Election Chances And To Give City Council More Power Over Appointments If He Is Re Elected, Which Is A Big If


New Mexico Supreme Court Again Revises Pre Trial Detention Rules; Court Reflects Sensitivity To Revolving Door Accusations


APD Has Achieved Compliance Levels Mandated By Court Approved Settlement Agreement; City Should Seek Immediate Dismissal Of Case And Not Be Required To Waite 2 More Years


APD’s Performance Base Budget Statistics Reflects APD Falling Short On Its Public Safety Mission; 15 Years of Sworn Personnel Meltdown Under Mayors Berry and Keller; APD Sworn Goes From 1,100 To 856 With Zero Growth; Exploring Reason For Meltdown; Citizens Satisfaction Survey: Public Has Lost Confidence In APD


ABQ Journal Dinelli Guest Opinion Column: “Survey Says Public Has Lost Confidence In APD”; Mayor Tim Keller Should Be Denied A Third Term


Key Takeaways From US Supreme Court Arguments On Trump’s Absolute Immunity Claims; Court Likely To Send Back To Lower Courts; Trump Supreme Court Disciples Give Trump Another Gift Of Delay


Gov. MLG To Call Special Session On July 18; Focus To Be Public Safety; Special Session Should Include Creating State Wide Mental Health Court For Civil Mental Health Commitments To Assist Mentally ILL,  Drug Addicted And Unhoused


ABQ Journal Dinelli Guest Opinion Column: “Lawmakers should set up statewide mental health court”; Related Column: Laws, Statistics, and Resources Needed To Create 14th Judicial District Court For Mental Health Commitment Court


Albuquerque Journal Pete Dinelli Guest Opinion Column “Chief Medina Should Be Fired And Prosecuted In Connection to Crash”


US Supreme Court To Hear Trump’s Claims Of Immunity from Criminal Prosecution; Republican US Supreme Court Trump Disciples Hand Trump “Gift Of Delay”


Trump Sweeps March 5 Super Tuesday Republican Primaries; Supreme Court Rules State’s Can Not Disqualify Trump From Ballot; Update On Trump’s Criminal Charges And Civil Cases; Criminal Convictions Will Likely Not Make Any Difference As Trump Becomes Presumptive Republican Nominee


Gov. MLG Signs 4 Public Safety Measures; Special Session Still Under Consideration; Convene Special Session To Enact “Omnibus Gun Control And Violent Crime Sentencing Act” And Expand Existing Mental Health Court Statewide


APD Releases 2023 Crime Statistics Reflecting 19% Decline In Homicides; Reflects National Trend Not Success Of Mayor Tim Keller’s Programs To Bring Down Crime


Convening Special Session Of NM Legislator For Public Safety Must Include Expanding Existing Mental Health Court; Create New 14th Judicial District Court With 3 Regional Divisions For Mental Health Commitment Hearings; Build Regional Treatment Facilities And Hospitals For Mandatory Treatment Ordered


Governor MLG Considers Calling Special Session To Deal With Public Safety Issues; It’s About Time!


Video Of DWI Arrest Reveals How DWI Dismissal Bribery Corruption Scheme Worked; Hideous Shake Down By One Of Albuquerque’s  Finest Caught On Tape; Fully Investigate, Prosecute And Disbarment Only Beginning To Restore Faith In APD And Criminal Justice System


Mayor Keller Proclaims Critically Injured Driver Involved In Chief’s Accident “Wrong Place At The Wrong Time”; APD Family Ride Policy Under Scrutiny After Chief Medina’s Weekend Crash; Both Keller And Medina Are Embarrassment With Their Words And Actions


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


2024 NM Legislature Update: What Passed, What Signed, What Failed


DWI Defense Attorney Had 88% DWI Dismissal Rate Involving Officers Under Federal Investigation; 40 More Cases Dismissed Bringing Total To 195; APD Investigation Team Announced; Case Dismissal Time Line; APD Had No System To Track Cops Failure To Appear; Medina “Pivots, Deflects, Lays Blame, Takes Credit” And He Should Be Removed As Chief


ABQ Journal Guest Opinion Columns: “Mayor Keller and Chief Medina Must Be Held Accountable For DWI Scandal”; “Lack Of Leadership Has Ruined Moral Within APD”; Will City Council Vote No Confidence In Medina?; Keller Should Terminate And Replace APD Chief Harold Medina


City Council, Public Defender and County Sherriff John Allen Push Back At Chief Medina And Mayor Keller Over Who Responsible For APD Police DWI Bribery Scandal; “Pivot, Deflect And Blame” Is Name Of Game For Keller And Medina; Time  For Mayor Keller To Invite Chief Medina To A “Geier Walk In The Park”


“Dynamic Duo Of Police Reform” Mayor Tim Keller and Chief Harold Medina “Decry APD Corruption” They Allowed To Fester; Both Enter “Spin Cycle” Saying They Are Washing Stain Of Corruption Out Of APD; Both Break Silence  And Pivot, Deflect And Refuse To Admit Management Failures In APD DWI Bribery Scandal; Accuse City Council Of Unethical Conduct


ABQ City Councilors React To APD Bribery Scandal By Complaining Mayor Tim Keller Did Not Communicate With Them; Alarming Disclosure Made That Scandal Problem Goes Back A Decade; Council Fails Leadership Role To Make Demands To Address Scandal Itself; The DWI Unit Should Be Dismantled And Reconstituted With All New Staffing To Restore Credibility  


FBI Agents Raid The Homes of 3 APD Police Officers, 1 Criminal Defense Attorney Ostensibly Over Scheme To Dismiss DWI Cases; DA Forced To Dismiss 152 DWI Cases; Mayor Keller Should Dismantle And Reconstitute Entire DWI Unit;  Scandal Discredits APD’s Professed Values of “Pride, Integrity, Fairness And Respect”


Murders In City Down By 20%; First Decline After 5 Full Years Of Historical Highs; Clearance Rates Up After Historical Lows; Old Fashion Police Work Brought Homicides Down, Not Keller’s “Show And Tell” Programs Of “Trying To Get People Not To Shoot Each Other”; Juveniles Involvement Concerns APD And District Attorney


Despite Democrats Holding 5-4 City Council Majority, Conservative Republican City Councilors Dan Lewis and Renee Grout Elected President and Vice President Of City Council; Progressive Democrat Mayor Tim Keller Now Faced With New Conservative Majority; “Rubber Stamp Trio” Of  Progressive Democrats Joaquin Baca,  Nichole Rogers, Tammy Fiebelkorn Will Likely  Be Marginalized By Conservative Majority


APD Praised In Status Hearing Over Reform Efforts; APD Reports Use Of Force Cases Are Down; Reflection The DOJ Reforms Are Working; Full Compliance Of Court Approved Settlement Expected By 2026; City Should Move To Dismiss Case Sooner Rather Than Later


APD Takes Over Police Use Of Force Cases From External Force Investigations Team; Sharp Turn Around From When DOJ Threatened To Seek Contempt Of Court For APD’s Willful Failure To Investigate 667 Use Of Force Cases; Case Backlog Down To 197 Cases; City Should Move To Dismiss Case Because Of 94% Or Better In Compliance Levels

APD Takes Over Police Use Of Force Cases From External Force Investigations Team; Sharp Turn Around From When DOJ Threatened To Seek Contempt Of Court For APD’s Willful Failure To Investigate 667 Use Of Force Cases; Case Backlog Down To 197 Cases; City Should Move To Dismiss Case Because Of 94% Or Better In Compliance Levels


Conservative City Council Continues With Personal Vendetta Against Mayor Tim Keller And His Progressive Agenda; Council Proposes Sweeping City Charter Amendments To Impact Mayor Keller Re-Election Chances And To Give City Council More Power Over Appointments If He Is Re Elected, Which Is A Big If

Conservative Republican City Council President Dan Lewis is leading the charge with sponsorship of 4  major new city charter amendments proposing sweeping changes to Albuquerque’s City Charter and the way city government is run.  Lewis suggests that the amendments are all about giving city councilors, and by extension voters, a little more power in how the city is governed.

The first charter amendment sponsored by Republican Dan Lewis and co-sponsored by Democrat Councilor Klarissa Pena would lower the minimum vote total to win a mayor or city council race to 40% instead of the current 50%. If no candidate hits 40%, then there would be a runoff.

In 2009, the city  had a 40% threshold for elections, but that was changed by voters to 50% after Mayor Richard Berry was elected defeating 3 term Mayor Marty Chavez.  In 2009 Mayor’s race, Richard Berry received 44% of the vote  with 36,466 votes, Mayor Marty Chavez received 36% of the vote  with 29,140 votes and former State Senator Richard Romero received 20%  of the vote with17,458 votes. Richard Romero divided the Democratic Party vote thereby delivering the race to Richard Berry.

City Councilor Dan Lewis had this to say about the vote change :

“[It’s] been a decade ago and the result of that has been more runoff elections. The city spends an incredible amount of money on runoff elections and voters just have to go to the polls twice to vote.  So, you could say we want people’s vote to count. …  This is an opportunity to be able to [have] full transparent elections where every vote in the city of Albuquerque counts. And so it brings the threshold to where we reduce the amount of run-offs that happen amongst city council races and the mayor’s race, and we give opportunities for people that have a majority vote to be elected.”

Lewis  has failed to acknowledge that in  3 out 4 of the past most recent elections for Mayor, there has been no run off.  It was in  his race in 2017 when Lewis  lost to Mayor Tim Keller  that there was a run off. In the 2009, 2013 and the 2021 elections for Mayor there was no run off.

The second and third charter amendments would give the city council a bigger role in the appointment and removal processes for the key city positions of city attorney, city clerk, fire chief and police chief. The second charter amendment proposal would create a committee to recommend selections for city attorney and city clerk with the council still making the final approval. The Mayor would still have a major say when it comes to picking people to fill those positions, but Lewis says it’s time city councilors get a say too. Lewis said this:

“The city council is closer to the districts, to the people in our city that are affected by these leadership areas. …  It’s important that the council is able to weigh in, have a legitimate role in these incredibly important positions. … They work for us, they work for the entire city, not just the mayor. And so this is, again, it gives a legitimate role to the city council that’s closer to the city of the people, the City of Albuquerque, to have a legitimate role in bringing about some of these key executive leaders in our city.”  

The charter amendment that would be sent to voters if approved by the Council states: 

“The Police Chief and Fire Chief shall have an employment agreement with the City specifying the terms and conditions of employment including a provision for early termination of employment. The Mayor may terminate either employment of the Police Chief or the Fire Chief at any time. The Council may terminate the agreement at any time, with notice to the Mayor and affected Chief, by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the entire membership of the Council.”

The fourth charter amendment centers on the separation of powers ensuring the Conference Committee has enough appointees to resolve issues between the mayor and city council. The sponsors say the changes would streamline and add transparency to city elections and hiring procedures.

All four of the Charter Amendment will have to clear the city council before they  are put  on the November ballot unless the Mayor vetoes the measures and the council does not vote override the vetoes. If the legislation clears city council, it would go directly to voters for their approval.


Mayor Tim Keller said the proposals threaten the efficiency and integrity of city government. Mayor Tim Keller issued the  following statement in response to the proposed charter amendments:

“A group of City Councilors is introducing a slate of charter amendments under the guise of streamlining City government procedures for hiring selection and City elections, but these charter amendments reflect the opposite of transparency and efficiency. It is unfortunate that faced with crime and homelessness, a group of Councilors are wasting time on the politics of power, instead of bringing real solutions to the table” 

“Our community expects, and deserves, us to be focused on tackling crime and finding solutions to curb homelessness, not wasting time on distractions that are ultimately political ploys for power,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “I’m always open to a charter reform task force and community discussion, but over-politicizing police and fire, removing safeguards for patronage and corruption, and ignoring the public’s referendum for ‘majority wins’ elections, is simply out of step with what our city needs.” 

“One proposal would modify the minimum votes required for candidates for Mayor or Councilor from 50% down to 40% of the total number of votes cast. This proposal is not only undemocratic, it reverses an 11 year old public referendum, when voters decided that our elected leaders should be elected with a majority of the votes to hold office. Further, the proposal would not eliminate the need for runoff elections.” 

“They are also suggesting that our City change the procedures to appoint and remove the City Attorney, City Clerk, and Chiefs of Police and Fire. These ‘govern by committee’ proposed changes would erase critical checks and balances that are in place to prevent corruption and patronage. They would essentially make these key city jobs “at-will,” and beholden to the needs of a few council districts, rather than the city as whole – as represented by the Mayor. The additional bureaucracy, creating 10 bosses for most executives, would politicize recruiting and promotion of professionals, create more turnover, and weaken the stability of police and fire leadership that our community relies on.” 

“Given the enormity of the potential impact and the number of changes, the appropriate course of action would be to convene a Charter Review Task Force made up of City Council, the administration, and other representatives.”

Links to quoted and relied upon news sources are here:





On January 1, 2024  the new city council after the November, 2023 election was sworn into office. The philosophical breakdown of the city council  is as follows:


District 1 Conservative Democrat Louie Sanchez
District 2 Progressive Democrat Joaquin Baca
District 3 Moderate Democrat Klarissa Peña
District 6 Progressive Democrat Nichole Rogers
District 7 Progressive Democrat Tammy Fiebelkorn


District 5 Conservative Republican Dan Lewis
District 4 Conservative Republican Brook Bassan
District 8 Conservative Republican Dan Champine
District 9 Conservative Republican Renee Grout

Although the City Council is split with 5 Democrats and 4 Republicans, Conservative Democrat Louie Sanchez has often allied himself with conservative Republicans Dan Lewis, Renee Grout, and Brook Bassan and Dan Champine to approve or kill measures on a 5-4 vote but being unable to override Mayor Tim Keller’s veto’s with the required 6 votes.

The first item of business of the new city council once they were sworn in on January 1, 2024 was the election of a new City Council President and Vice President. It came as no surprise that Conservative Democrat City Councilor Louis Sanchez voted for Republican Dan Lewis as the new City Council President and voted Republican Renee Grout for Vice President with the votes being Sanchez, Lewis, Bassan, Champine and Grout.


Notwithstanding the Democrat majority, the new more conservative city council began to show resistance to Mayor Keller’s progressive agenda as going too far.  In November, Republican City Councilor Dan Lewis sponsored two separate resolutions, one to replace the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board and another to place on hold the boards plans to dramatically change environmental justice regulations by increasing regulations and prohibitions on the issuance of air quality permits. The resolution increased regulations and prohibitions on the issuance of air quality permits and mandated excessive environmental studies. The Air Quality Board was conducting hearings on the environmental justice regulations. Mayor Tim Keller vetoed both resolutions. The City Council voted  to override both vetoes with bi partisan votes, one on a 6 to 3 vote and the other on a 7 to 2 vote.


On April 27, 2023 first term City Councilors Democrat Louie Sanchez and Republican Renee Grout announced legislation proposing a City Charter amendment for a public vote that would have made the Mayor of Albuquerque a member of the City Council.  They wanted to transfer all the mayor’s executive and city management duties to a city manager chosen by the city council. According to the proposed legislation, the mayor would be recognized as the head of the City government for all ceremonial purposes”.  The legislation was never vetted, researched or recommended for approval by the City Charter Review Task Force responsible for making recommendations for charter amendments.

Under the proposed legislation, a “professional city manager would be selected by the City Council to oversee and manage all 27 city departments and directors. The city’s existing Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) already serves this function and presumably would be abolished. The city manager would administer the city’s personnel rules and regulations for the over 7,000 city employees.  The City manager would be responsible to prepare and formulate the city’s annual operating budget for city council review and adoption.


It was in 2017 that there were 8 candidates for Mayor and at the time unless one candidate achieved 50% of the vote, a runoff was required between the two top vote getters.  It was  Tim Keller and Dan Lewis who made it into the runoff and ran against each other for Mayor. Then Democrat State Auditor Tim Keller was a mere one year into his 4-year term as State Auditor. Then Republican District 5 City Councilor Dan Lewis gave up his seat after serving 2 terms on the city council to run for Mayor.

Keller won the 2017 runoff by a decisive landslide with 62.20% by securing 60,219 votes to Lewis 37.8% who secured 36,594 votes. Fast forward to 2021when Mayor Tim Keller ran for a second term and was elected over Democrat Bernalillo County Sherriff Manny Gonzales and radio talk show host Republican Eddy Aragon. Democrat Mayor Keller won his 2021 election to a second 4 year term with 56% of the final vote and beating Democrat  Sheriff Manny Gonzales who secured 26% of the vote and Republican  Radio Shock Jock Eddy Aragon who  secured 18% of the vote.

In 2017, Republican Dan Lewis ran to regain his city council seat and defeated incumbent Cynthia Borrego who later was elected a Westside Side NM State Representative. From day one of being sworn into office as a city councilor for his third term, Dan Lewis  made it known privately that he intended  to run for Mayor again in 2025, perhaps again against Tim Keller. With that in mind, Lewis has carried on a very personal vendetta against all things Mayor Keller and Keller’s progressive agenda with the goal of running for Mayor again in 2025, especially against Keller. Lewis has carried out his plans with the assistance of a more conservative city council.


On January 10, 2022 at the very first meeting of the Alquerque City Council, newly sworn in District 5 Republican Dan Lewis announced the introduction of 4 major resolutions he was sponsoring to undercut Mayor Tim Keller and his  progressive agenda. The resolutions are summarized and how they  fared are as follows:


Early in the COVID-19 pandemic when Democrats had a 6 to 4 majority, the council expanded the Mayor’s authority during a public health crisis. On March 10, 2022, the Albuquerque City Council voted to narrowly reverse the City Councils 2020 action. The Council passed legislation on a 5 to 4 vote, with Republican Councilors, Dan Lewis, Brook Bassan, Renee Grout, Trudy Jones and lone Democrat Louie Sanchez voting in support and all 4 remaining Democrats voting no.

The council voted to revoke Mayor Tim Keller’s power to do such things as ordering closures of streets or places of mass gatherings, canceling city events and reallocating up to $1 million in the city budget. Under the enacted ordinance, the Mayor was relegated only with the ability to merely make “advisories and recommendations.

Councilor Dan Lewis proposed the changes, saying Keller had hardly invoked his powers and mostly deferred to orders issued by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration.  Keller ultimately vetoed the legislation. Overriding a mayoral veto takes 6 votes, but only 5 councilors supported the override during the March 21 city council meeting and they were Republicans Bassan, Grout, Jones, Lewis and Democrat Sanchez.




Lewis initially said the bill answered concerns from police officers and firefighters. It is well settled law that private business can impose vaccine mandates to protect their workforce and the public they interact with. The city is no different. Unvaccinated police and fire officers can easily catch and spread the virus endangering public health, safety and welfare.

Notwithstanding, on March 21, the Council passed legislation on a 5 to 4 vote, with Republican Councilors, Dan Lewis, Brook Bassan, Renee Grout, Trudy Jones and lone Democrat Louie Sanchez voting in support and all 4 remaining Democrats voting no. The resolution would have  barred the city from mandating that employees get vaccinated and from penalizing those who do not.

Lewis himself admitted the city could not control what the federal or state governments might ultimately require, but said the legislation would demonstrate that the local government itself would not impose a vaccine standard and he said:

“Our policy will not be to mandate vaccines on our city employees and would give them the peace of mind (that) they wouldn’t have to make a decision between taking a vaccine they may not want or need and their jobs.”

Democrats City Councilors Pat Davis, Isaac Benton, Tammy Fiebelkorn and Klarissa Peña voted in opposition, and rightly so saying the city should not cede its ability to regulate its workforce because the public relies heavily on services and having “the staff available to them.” Not requiring inoculation of city employees and then allowing those same city employees to deal with the general public no likely creates a liability issue for the city if a member of the public becomes infected with COVID by a city employee.

The link to quoted news source material is here:



On March 10, 2022 the Albuquerque City Council passed a resolution directing city officials “to the extent advisable” to “petition” to reopen and renegotiate the Court Approved Settlement Agreement mandating the reforms of the Albuquerque Police Department. The council resolution passed on an 8-to-1 vote with City Councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn the only councilor to vote against the resolution.

The city council resolution says the “petition” should address recommendations contained in a released by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on September 13, 2021, including putting a cap on how much an independent monitor overseeing court-mandated reforms can be paid and assessing ending the monitorship after 5 years. The problem is the Garland recommendations apply to future consent decrees and have no binding effect on the City’s Court approved settlement agreement.

The resolution enacted by the city council for the city to renegotiate to the extent advisable” the Court Approved Settlement Agreement is a reflection of sure ignorance on the part of the City Council and the reforms mandated. It was the epitome of meaningless fluff. It reflects that the city council did not have a basic understanding of the court process nor the true meaning of a federal court order.

Simply put, there was nothing to negotiate. The city and the DOJ entered into a binding court order settlement agreement on what APD needs to do to come into compliance before the case can be dismissed. Because the settlement is a court approved order, any and all changes, even if agreed to by the Department of Justice and the city, must be approved by the Federal Judge.


Mayor Tim Keller was sworn in for his second term on January 1, 2022. City Councilors Republican Dan Lewis and Democrat Louis Sanchez were also sworn in on January 1st, 2022.

Mayor Keller chose NOT to replace Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair, Chief Operations Officer Lawrence Rael, City Clerk Ethan Watson, City Attorney Esteban Aguilar, APD Chief Harold Medina and Albuquerque Fire and Rescue Chief Gene Gallegos. All 6 of Keller’s top executives continued to do their jobs after Keller was sworn in. The council confirmed all 6 during Keller’s first term and each was approved by a unanimous vote.

Within weeks after Lewis and Sanchez were sworn in, they began to demand that Mayor Tim Keller again nominate Nair, Rael, Watson, Aguilar, Medina and Gallegos so they could hold confirmation hearings and be allowed to vote to reject them for the positions they held. The councilors said  the City Charter requires a fresh confirmation in a mayor’s new term.

The City Charter requires the council’s “advice and consent” for just a few positions the mayor appoints. Those positions are Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) , Deputy CAOs, Police Chief, Fire Chief, City Clerk and City Attorney. The City Charter provides that appointees requiring city council approval “shall be presented to the Council for confirmation within 45 days after the Mayor takes office.” The City Charter contains no provisions mandating that the Mayor nominate his top ranking executives a second time so that a newly elected city councilor can confirm.

Mayor Keller disputed the city council’s right to another confirmation vote, but forwarded City Clerk Ethan Watson and City Attorney Esteban Aguilar Jr., for another vote. Both have held the roles since Keller’s first term and previously went through council confirmation. Keller said the charter differentiates the clerk and attorney from the other positions, specifically stating that the clerk and attorney appointments “shall be for a term that coincides and terminates with the term of the Mayor making the appointment.” It does not use the same language for the other positions.

In the interest of compromise, Mayor Keller forwarded the names of Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair, Chief Operations Officer Lawrence Rael, APD Chief Harold Medina and Albuquerque Fire and Rescue Chief Gene Gallegos in the form of an “executive communication” that required that they all be confirmed with a single vote, not separate votes and as a “package deal”.

On March 11, Mayor Tim Keller announced in a statement that Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Sarita Nair resigned her position. Nair had  been the city’s chief administrative officer since late 2017 when she was confirmed by a unanimous city council vote. No reasons were given for her sudden resignation and the city and Nair declined all requests to interview CAO Nair.  Confidential sources confirmed that Sarita Nair did not have the confidence and support of Democrat City Councilors Isaac Benton and Pat Davis. When you add Republican’s Dan Lewis and Renee Grout and “Democrat In Name Only” Louis Sanchez to the mix, it’s likely that CAO Sarita Nair would not have been confirmed.



It became painfully obvious that the only reason why Republican City Councilor Dan Lewis and Democrat Louie Sanchez demanded Keller’s top executives previously confirmed be re submitted for a second time for confirmation was to try and shame and intimate them and to vote against them.

On March 7, City Clerk Ethan Watson was confirmed on a 7-2 bipartisan vote of the city council. Republican Dan Lewis and Democrat Louie  Sanchez crossed examined Watson over his job performance during the 2021 municipal election. Both Lewis and Sanchez questioned Watson’s impartiality in administering the city’s taxpayer-funded public campaign finance system, ignoring the fact that Watson is license attorney and as such an officer of the court who has taken an oath of office himself.

Lewis focused on Watson’s move to reject mayoral candidate Manuel Gonzales’ application for the money on the grounds he’d submitted fraudulent documentation, questioning if he’d applied the same scrutiny to Keller’s campaign. Lewis ignored that a state judge ultimately upheld Watson’s decision. Lewis at one point became very condensing and mean spirited when he asked Watson “how we can trust you moving forward in future elections?. This coming from Dan Lewis who engaged in smear tactics and lies against his opponent incumbent Democrat Cynthia Borrego to get elected saying she was in favor of “sanctuary city polices” and the releasing of violent criminals. Dan Lewis’ paid Republican Political Operative Jay McClusky to run his campaign.

Not at all surprisingly, Sanchez claimed his own 2021 city council campaign race against incumbent Lan Sena was treated unfairly by Ethan Watson, even though Sanchez won the race. It was Sanchez who proclaimed he was the rightful city councilor to have been elected and demanded that Watson swear him in before the term he was elected began on January 1, 2022. Sanchez wanted to vote against legislation that was pending and sponsored by outgoing City Councilor Lan Sena and his demands were essentially an effort to shame former City Councilor Lan Sena.

The link to quoted news source material is here:



It is common knowledge that Mayor Tim Keller is seeking a third term as Mayor in 2025. Mayor Keller does so despite the fact that an Albuquerque Journal poll found that Keller has a 33% approval rating which in all likelihood is only getting worse.  A 2024 Citizens Satisfaction Survey found that 63% of residence are concerned over the direction the city is going and 61% disagree that City Government is responsive to Community needs with both survey results reflecting poor leadership of city resources by Mayor Keller. The links to review both polls are here:



Albuquerque City Council President Dan Lewis after being elected to return to the City Council in 2021 also made it known to his supporters he has every intent to run for Mayor again in 2025. This explains his full frontal assault on Mayor Tim Keller and his agenda from day one on his return to the City Council.

The relations between Mayor Tim Keller and the more conservative majority city council have deteriorated because of the sure frustration the conservatives on the council have experienced in not being able to stop the Keller progressive agenda with overriding vetoes.  As a result, the city council is once again trying to get city voters to change our basic form of city government with charter amendments in order to carry out a personal vendetta against a Mayor they do not like and who they perceive as ineffective and unpopular.

Links to related blog articles are here:

Sanchez and Grout’s Power Grab Of Striping Mayor Of Executive Powers And Creating Council Appointed City Manager Not Vetted By Charter Review Task Force; A Failure Of Leadership, Not Of Government Continues To Plague City

Dan Lewis and Louie Sanchez Are The New “Twiddle Dee” and the “Twiddle Dum” of Albuquerque City Council; Their Agenda Of Obstruction Has Limited Success; Keller and Medina Push Back; Expect More Antics

New Mexico Supreme Court Again Revises Pre Trial Detention Rules; Court Reflects Sensitivity To Revolving Door Accusations

On May 8, the New Mexico Supreme Court announced changes to the state’s criminal pretrial detention system that will keep more defendants  in jail before their trial.  According to the new order which took effect immediately, defendants awaiting trial will now be held in jail if they are accused of a new crime while out on conditions of release if the charge falls into certain categories. They will remain in jail at least until the judge handling the original case considers whether they should stay in jail pending trial.

Those defendants  already on pretrial release who are charged with a felony, or some misdemeanors, will be held in jail until a court decides whether to revoke or modify the conditions of their release. Chief Justice David K. Thomson made the announcement to promote public safety. The order requires courts to reconsider its release conditions for defendants arrested for a new crime while awaiting trial for a previous charge.

Misdemeanor charges subject the new pretrial detention ruling guidance include:

  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Negligent use of a firearm
  • Aggravated battery
  • Stalking
  • Domestic violence charges, including battery against a household member

Another revision prevents district courts to use results from what is known as the  Public Safety Assessment Tool. That risk assessment instrument looks at the likelihood a person is rearrested or fails to appear in court if released.

Additionally, when someone awaiting trial violates their conditions of release, such as  contacting someone they shouldn’t or having a gun when they shouldn’t, judges must consider changing those release conditions. Karl Reifsteck, deputy director of the Administrative Office of the Courts said this of the changes:

“These rules are aimed at making sure we’re taking a really close look – our judges, and prosecutors and defense attorneys – are taking a close look at those defendants.  … Zoom in on that small portion of folks who are being rearrested and really take a close look at them.” 

Reifsteck said the New Mexico  Supreme Court looked at certain data, including a UNM study that showed 18% of people accused of crimes were arrested again before trial. That was in Bernalillo County over four years. Reifsteck said this:

“There’s this slice of folks we really need to focus on and see how we can really promote public safety in regards to that group. … The Supreme Court feels strongly that in every single instance, this needs a close examination by our judges, by our prosecutors, by our defense attorneys.” 

Reifsteck added there have been instances where people were released a second time after picking up a new charge.

According to the revisions, a judge must also consider whether to modify  a criminal defendant’s pretrial release when they have broken their original conditions, such as missing curfew.  According to a release from the state Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC):

“If a court determines no changes are necessary, it must issue an order explaining the decision. Under previous rules, such a review of pretrial conditions was discretionary.”

The new, revised Supreme Court rule is very similar in scope to Senate Bill 271, which became law this past session.


AOC Deputy Director Karl Reifsteck said the changes will help protect communities “while honoring the constitutional rights of people accused of a crime.”  AOC Director Artie Pepin said the revisions ensure that courts from the smallest towns to metro areas follow the same procedures when someone is arrested while on pretrial release. Pepin said this:

“The rules set short deadlines for hearings and issuing orders after courts consider whether to revoke or change the conditions under which a defendant was initially released to await trial.”

Chief Public Defender Ben Baur, with the Law Offices of the Public Defender, said this in  a statement:

“As with any rule change, like the one announced today, we have to wait to see how it works in the courtroom. We will closely watch for its impact on our clients and our workload.”

UNM researcher Paul Guerin said it’s too early to tell how the Supreme Court rule change will play out and he said this:

“It seems to make sense, on the face of it, as a citizen.”

Guerin said many of the people who would fall under this rule would already be held anyway in the current system. He added, “What we do know is rebuttable presumptions don’t work, so this is a lesser to that.”

Mayor Tim Keller for his part said this in reaction to the new Supreme Court revised rule:

“We all know the challenges we’ve had concerning this revolving door or rearrest problem. Today, I’m grateful for our Supreme Court because they have made a very common sense but specific change. … It’s an elegant, simple, legal solution and it’s something that we’re very, very much appreciative to.”.”

APD  Chief Harold Medina said this about the rule change: .

“It does assist us with our revolving door. … And honestly, it assists our judicial officials in making sure that they’re well in tune, and they get to weigh in on decisions they’ve made in the past.”


Pretrial detention and pretrial release have been a major source of contention since  the passage of a 2016 constitutional amendment passed by voters that  did away with a “money-based”  bail bond system for getting out of jail while awaiting trial. Since passage of the constitutional amendment,  elected officials and candidates running for office and  law enforcement have attributed rising crime rates to a “broken criminal justice system”  and  to the bail bond reform changes.

Attorney General Raúl Torrez, the former Bernalillo County district attorney, has been one of the most outspoken critics.  Since being elected first as District Attorney Torrez has repeatedly said our criminal justice system is broken and has called for New Mexico courts to mirror those at the federal level, which uses  rebuttable presumption where Defendants charged with a serious violent crime must prove they are not a danger to the public and can be released. It shifts the burden of proof from the prosecution to the defense.

A bill adopting rebuttable presumption in the state’s judicial system has failed to pass the New Mexico Legislature during the past 4 legislative sessions. This past session, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham pushed for the bill and, after it and other crime bills failed, she announced a special session, which is now scheduled for July.

Studies conducted by researchers at the University of New Mexico have found that the majority, or 82%, of people on pretrial release do not commit new crimes. No studies have been released publicly that have found otherwise.

Supporters and advocates of rebuttable presumption argue that it prevents  a large amount of crime with minimal impact on civil liberties. However, a 2021 study by UNM researcher Paul Guerin and others at UNM’s Institute for Social Research found that rebuttable presumption requires judges to “regard large classes of defendants as dangerous by default, rather than demanding that prosecutors prove this individually.”

Researchers found that rebuttable presumption and pretrial detentions do not reduce crime  because a small fraction of crime is committed by pretrial defendants  and because presumptions detain many defendants for each crime they prevent.  The researchers emphasized that the findings should not be taken “as an endorsement” of the current system, but in data comparison found that presumptions “would not add accuracy to the system.” “That does not mean that the system could not be reformed in other ways,” according to the findings.

Links to quoted and relied upon news sources are here:





It was almost a year ago on May 22, 2023 that the New Mexico Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion providing guidance to district courts in deciding pretrial detention requests from prosecutors. The justices clarified the analysis that courts should follow in determining whether legal requirements have been met for a person charged with a felony to be held in jail while awaiting trial.

Under state law, a felony defendant may be detained if prosecutors file a written motion and prove to a district court that the charged person is dangerous and that “no release conditions will reasonably protect the safety of any other person or the community.”  The New Mexico  Supreme Court’s opinion provided  the legal reasoning for the  order issued by the justices in February that reversed a  District Court Judge decision denying  of a Motion for Pretrial Detention of Defendant. The justices held that the district court abused its discretion in denying the prosecution’s detention request and that the District Court followed the wrong analytical framework in making its determination.

Justice Briana H. Zamora wrote on behalf of the Supreme Court as follows:

“In this case, ample evidence showed that the Defendant [Anderson] was unlikely to comply with release conditions and that the public would be put at significant risk should he fail to comply with release conditions.  …

District courts must undertake a two-prong analysis in pretrial detention decision-making: The first is determining whether the defendant is dangerous, and the second prong is whether the state has proven there are no conditions or restrictions that can be imposed on a defendant – if released – to reasonably protect the public.

In analyzing both prongs, district courts must consider a range of factors outlined in a rule of criminal procedure governing pretrial detention (Rule 5-409). Those factors include the “nature and circumstances” of the charged crime, the defendant’s history, and the “nature and seriousness of the danger to any person or the community that would be posed by the defendant’s release. … All factors are relevant to both prongs because a defendant’s dangerousness is not an entirely separate consideration from whether release conditions can reasonably protect the safety of the public; rather, the nature of the defendant’s dangerousness informs whether the public can be kept reasonably safe from that danger by the imposition of release conditions.

Thus, if a district court applies the Rule 5-409 factors and determines that a defendant is dangerous, it should not cordon off those facts that it considered in the dangerousness analysis and limit itself solely to the evidence that it did not yet consider in order to rule on release conditions.  District courts should take a “holistic, commonsense approach” in the analysis about possible release conditions.”

This second prong of the pretrial detention analysis, like the first prong of dangerousness, must be proven by clear and convincing evidence. However, the State must only prove that no release conditions can reasonably protect the public, not that no release conditions can possibly protect the public. … As part of its analysis, the district court must consider not only whether a defendant is likely to comply with release conditions but also the likely consequences to any person or the community should a defendant fail to comply”

That additional inquiry is related to, and must be viewed in light of, the magnitude of a defendant’s dangerousness. … For example, a defendant with a history of violent crimes who stands accused of a new violent crime may pose a significant and unjustifiable risk to the safety of any person or the community if the defendant fails to comply with release conditions.”

The Supreme Court made clear and emphasized that District Courts cannot “rely solely on the charged offense to order a defendant’s detention.” A district court “must always conduct a totality of the circumstances analysis in reaching a decision” on a motion for the pretrial detention of a felony defendant.


There has in the past been intense debate over pretrial detention and what is known as the Public Safety Assessment Tool.  When a criminal defendant is arrested and in jail, a prosecutor must file a Motion to Detain the defendant in custody until trial with no bail. After a prosecutor files a Motion to Detain, the Public Safety Assessment Tool assigns a recommended level of monitoring for the court to consider under pretrial services should the court decide to release a defendant pending trial, including house arrest and ankle bracelet monitoring.  An evidentiary hearing is held where the prosecutor has the burden of proof to show that the defendant poses an immediate threat and risk to the public and that there are no reasonable conditions of release to protect the public.

It was in 2023 that the District Court’s reliance the Public Safety Assessment Tool came under severe scrutiny and criticism by prosecutors, law enforcement and elected officials, including Governor Mitchell Lujan Grisham and New Mexico legislators, saying violent criminals were being release pending trial and committing crimes when they should have been in jail. The Public Safety Assessment Tool was attacked by critics when it recommended releasing a defendant charged with a violent crime with critics arguing that its recommendation of release was mandatory and not discretionary by the courts.

Pretrial detention legislation was introduced in the 2023 legislative session that would have mandated that a defendant simply charged with a violent crime be presumed violent and jailed until trial. The legislation failed and did not make it out of a single legislature committee. Critics argued successfully that the presumption of being violent mandating detention until trial is contrary to the constitutional right of due process of law and the presumption of being innocent until proven guilty.

On April 20, 2023  the Second Judicial District Court removed from the Public Safety Assessment Tool the categories of “Detention” and “Released on Own Recognizance” (ROR) which are on the opposite end of the Public Assessment Tool.  Second Judicial Chief Judge Marie Ward said inclusion of the two categories at the far ends of the Public Safety Assessment tool is not viewed as “best practices” but were added as a compromise at the request of one of the stakeholders on the  Bernalillo County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

District Judge Ward said, just like before the changes were made, a judge must consider evidence presented by the prosecutors and the defense attorneys to determine whether someone poses and immediate danger to the public and whether there are any conditions of release that could ensure the safety of the community. If a judge determines the person can be released, then the Public Safety Assessment gives them guidance on what level of supervision the defendant should be on.

Judge Ward described the changes as follows:

“What the [Public Assessment Tool] really tells us is, not this defendant, but a defendant in similarly situated circumstances … how likely were they to re-offend. … More evidence and argument can come in regarding this individual and other risk factors. … These modifications are only intended to clarify the misconceptions that have been out there that the assessment somehow dictates whether someone is released or not. … That’s not the case. It’s always the judge making a decision, and its always been that way.”


A negative perception of the courts is created when judges release violent felons and not holding them for trial without bond and simply not using their common sense.  It’s common knowledge that Judges are concerned about their disqualification rates, appeals and reversals and how they are perceived by the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission.

Repeatedly, and especially during election years, it is very common for elected officials and candidates for office to proclaim that our criminal justice is broken and that the courts have become a revolving door for violent criminals. It’s a ploy that undercuts the very integrity of the courts, with nefarious politicians knowing full well individual judges are strictly prohibited from discussing in public pending cases under penalty of being removed from office.  The criminal justice system in this country and this state has never been perfect, nor will it ever be, but it is not broken. The criminal justice system does have its flaws and a number of inequities, but to say that it is a broken system is just plain ignorance or political opportunism at its worst.

There is little doubt that the New Mexico Supreme Court has become increasingly sensitive to the perceptions and demands of the general public that violent criminals, especially those charge with murder, need to be held in custody pending trial. What is also clear is that the Supreme Court wants the lower courts use their common sense and use a holistic and analytical approach to make their decisions to protect the general public from the most violent offenders. Now the public must wait and see how much common sense the courts in fact have.

The link to a related Dinelli blog article is here:

New Mexico Supreme Court Opinion Provides Guidance About Pretrial Detention; Holistic, Commonsense Approach Called For By Supreme Court

APD Has Achieved Compliance Levels Mandated By Court Approved Settlement Agreement; City Should Seek Immediate Dismissal Of Case And Not Be Required To Waite 2 More Years

On November 14, 2014, the City of Albuquerque, the Albuquerque Police Department and the United State Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into a stipulated Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA). The settlement was the result of an 18-month long investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) that found that the Albuquerque Police Department engaged in a pattern of “excessive use of force” and “deadly force”, especially when dealing with the mentally ill. The DOJ investigation also found a “culture of aggression” existed within the APD. Department of Justice investigators reviewed 20 fatal shootings by Albuquerque Police between 2009 and 2013 and found that in the majority of cases the level of force used was not justified because the person killed did not present a threat to police officers or the public.

The Court Approved Settlement Agreement mandates 271 police reforms, the appointment of a Federal Monitor and the filing of Independent Monitor’s reports (IMRs) on APD’s compliance with the reforms. There are 276 paragraphs in 10 sections within the CASA with measurable requirements that the monitor reports on. The ultimate goal of the settlement was to implement constitutional policing practices  and it was  aimed at making sure police officers follow policy and don’t use excessive force and deadly force.

The link to the 118-page CASA is here:



On May 13, 2024 Federal Court Appointed Monitor James Ginger filed his 19th report. The 19th Independent Monitor’s Report covers the time period of August 1, 2023, through January 31, 2024.  The report is 115-pages long.  It is the shortest report filed to date with the previous reports averaging about 300 pages.  The link to review the entire 19th report is here:


The 19th report finds that APD has reached 100% Primary Compliance,  100% Secondary Compliance and 96% Operational Compliance.   Under the terms and conditions of the CASA, once APD achieves a 95% compliance rate in all 3 identified compliance levels and maintains it for 2 consecutive years, the case can be dismissed. Originally, APD was to have come into compliance within 4 years and the case was to be dismissed in 2018. However, because of delay and obstruction  tactics by both APD management and the police union to implement in full the reforms, a 5 year delay resulted.

The 3 compliance levels are explained as follows:


Primary compliance is the “policy” part of compliance. To attain primary compliance, APD must have in place operational policies and procedures designed to guide officers, supervisors and managers in the performance of the tasks outlined in the CASA. As a matter of course, the policies must be reflective of the requirements of the CASA; must comply with national standards for effective policing policy; and must demonstrate trainable and evaluable policy components.


Secondary compliance is attained by implementing supervisory, managerial and executive practices designed to and be effective in implementing the policy as written, e.g., sergeants routinely enforce the policies among field personnel and are held accountable by managerial and executive levels of the department for doing so. By definition, there should be operational artifacts such as reports, disciplinary records, remands to retraining, follow-up, and even revisions to policies if necessary, indicating that the policies developed in the first stage of compliance are known to, followed by, and important to supervisory and managerial levels of the department.


Operational compliance is attained at the point that the adherence to policies is apparent in the day-to-day operation of the agency e.g., line personnel are routinely held accountable for compliance, not by the monitoring staff, but by their sergeants, and sergeants are routinely held accountable for compliance by their lieutenants and command staff. In other words, the APD “owns” and enforces its policies.


The 19th Federal Monitors report contains the following succinct summary of the 115 page report:

“APD and CPOA  [Civilian Police Oversight Agency] have made significant progress during the IMR-19 reporting period. The monitor acknowledges that progress has taken a significant effort from APD, CPOA, and the City. The number of APD self-monitored paragraphs is at the highest point in the history of the CASA compliance efforts. This is a significant achievement, indicating that APD is now capable of assuming responsibility for oversight of CASA requirements and is not reliant on the monitoring team to do so.

We note that all the CASA paragraphs relating to discipline are compliant. This represents another milestone for APD’s compliance efforts. As of the 19th reporting period, APD is effectively self-monitoring 191 paragraphs.

Perhaps more importantly, we found all force investigation processes compliant during the 19th reporting period. Level 2 and Level 3 use of force incidents were down 16 percent from the last reporting period. We consider this strong evidence that APD’s policies, supervisory oversight, and disciplinary systems are working as designed.

We note that the External Force Investigation Team (EFIT) is no longer providing oversight to the Internal Affairs Force Division (IAFD). Similar progress is evident at CPOA during this reporting period. All the CPOA investigations reviewed by the monitoring team this reporting period were compliant with the CASA requirements. The CPOA Board has been fully reconstituted and are currently working to complete training and other requirements of the CASA.

We would be remiss, however, if we did not note some remaining areas that are still in need of improvement. These include:

  • CPOA issues related to timelines and staffing;
  • Completing the implementation of effective training for the CPOA Board members; and
  • Continuing improvement of supervisory oversight of in-field activities such as use of force.

Frequent readers of the monitor’s reports will note that this “to-do list” is markedly shorter than in the past. This is reflective of the significant progress APD has made over the last six months.”

The link to review the entire 19th report is here:



Mayor Tim Keller inherited the court-approved settlement agreement, known as the CASA, after being elected mayor in 2017. One of his major campaign promises was to fully implement the CASA term and conditions within his first term. Keller said this in a video statement:

The road to get here has not been easy, but we never gave up. … We believed that real reform was possible. We believed that we could support law enforcement and maintain the highest standards of accountability, and we’ve done both.”

APD Chief Harold Medina, who has been charged with ensuring APD compliance over his past three years as chief, said he was proud of the strides made. APD Chief Harold Medina in a video statement:

It has been a long road for us to get to where we are today and it couldn’t have been done without the work of so many people. …  I’d like to thank the officers who stayed with the Albuquerque Police Department and fought through these changes to make sure that we improved the services that we deliver to the citizens of the city of Albuquerque. … Reform shall never end for any police department. We should always be evolving to see how we could become a better police department, more in tune with the community, and always changing to meet the needs of an ever-changing society.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico on Monday emphasized the need for continued vigilance to safeguard community members’ rights and safety. The ACLU said the APD should continue prioritizing de-escalation tactics and minimizing police interactions, especially with vulnerable populations.

ACLU Policing Policy Advocate Daniel Williams for his part said this in a statement:

“The APD has made notable progress in implementing critical changes; however, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the journey towards comprehensive reform does not culminate with the conclusion of the CASA. … Our concerns persist regarding the use of lethal force, particularly in cases involving unarmed individuals experiencing mental health crises. [New Mexico] consistently has one of the highest per-capita rates of people killed by police in the nation; killing by APD officers represent a significant number of these deaths. … Success should be measured not just by technical compliance but by fostering a culture of accountability and respect for human life.”

Shaun Willoughby, the President of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association and a critic of the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA),  said he’s happy the APD is deemed to be in full compliance and said this:

“I think that the whole DOJ process is just a blatant fraud and tax money grab. Hopefully, the monitor is packing up and shipping away from Albuquerque and the DOJ is not far behind him.”

Links to relied on and quoted news sources are here:








There is very little doubt that Mayor Tim Keller and APD Chief Harold Medina gave out a tremendous sigh of relief when the Federal Monitor issued his latest report and not just because of the findings of the APD being found to be in compliance with the settlement. The blunt truth is APD was expected to be found in compliance after the 18th Federal Monitors report  came out saying APD fell 2% short of being in full compliance.

What called into question if APD would finally reach compliance was the Department of Justice and the FBI investigation into allegations that DWI officers took bribes to miss court dates which led to hundreds of pending DWI cases being dismissed by the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office. The APD Officers reportedly worked with  prominent criminal defense attorney Thomas Clear, III,  and his paralegal to get the cases dismissed.  Six of the nine officers implicated in the scandal have resigned from APD declining to be interviewed by APD Internal Affairs.


The announcement that APD,  after over 9 years,  is now in full compliance with the Court Approved Settlement and implementation of the reforms is indeed a historic milestone.  APD is commended for at last getting the job done.  The 19th report from the  monitor essentially  says APD is “effectively self-monitoring” and that APD’s uses of force have decreased. The monitor’s report notes that APD still needs to improve supervisory oversight of in-field activities. The monitor also says the Civilian Police Oversight Agency, which focuses on police accountability, needs to address timeliness and staffing issues.

The resulting settlement agreement with the DOJ led to an overhaul of APD use of force policies, recruitment, training, internal affairs procedures and field supervision of officers.  The implementation of all the reforms took over twice as long as was originally agreed and required the expenditure of millions of dollars and oversight by an outside independent monitor. The Federal Monitor and his team have been paid upwards of $11 Million for their services and reports. The city has also spent over $40 to implement the reforms.

The Court Approved Settlement Agreement requires 95% Operational Compliance by APD. Operational compliance tracks whether officers follow policies and whether they’re corrected when they don’t. According to this latest report  APD is  at 96% Operational Compliance

Since October 2019, APD has been and has remained at 100% Primary Compliance, meaning all required policies and procedures are in place. APD is also at 100% Secondary Compliance regarding the training of officers.

The achievement of 96% of Operational Compliance now allows APD to enter a new phase of implementation directed towards a dismissal of the case. What the 19th report means is that APD can move toward self-monitoring with all of its remaining sections that have not already been dismissed by the court. If compliance can be sustained at 95% or more in all 3 compliance levels for two years, the case can be dismissed.


The Court Approved Settlement Agreement was the result of an 18-month long investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) that found that the Albuquerque Police Department engaged in a pattern of “excessive use of force” and “deadly force”, especially when dealing with the mentally ill and the homeless.  The 19th Federal Monitor’s report states in part as follows:

“[In evaluating APD’s  and the city’s current response to] individuals in crisis and people who are unsheltered, we note that APD has met, and in many cases, far exceeded, the requirements of the CASA as it relates to mental health response planning, crisis intervention, training development and delivery, and services delivery. … We remain highly concerned about the sheer number of officer-involved shooting of people in crisis or people with mental illness. We appreciate the CIU’s efforts to continuously review officer behavior in the field and take appropriate corrective actions when necessary. Still, APD leadership and accountability structures must also effectively address these issues.”


The only fly in the ointment at this point continues to be the Civilian Police Oversight Agency. Issues found with the Civilian Police Oversight Agency include inadequate staffing and late completion of investigations, due to excessive caseloads the report said.

The 19th Federal Monitor’s report put it this way:

“From the monitor’s perspective, CPOA remains in crisis. … The change in compliance levels does not effectively demonstrate the progress made by APD and the CPOA (Civilian Police Oversight Agency) during this reporting period. … In this report, APD has demonstrated its commitment to policies, supervisory oversight, and importantly, a disciplinary process that holds officers accountable when necessary.”

It was the 18th  Federal Monitor’s Report that identified the failures of civilian oversight as  representing  the largest remaining roadblock to the city in ending the consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice.  Twelve of the remaining 15 paragraphs of the Court Approved Settlement Agreement involve failures with the Civilian Police Oversight Agency (CPOA) which is appointed and overseen by the Albuquerque City Council.  The Civilian Police Oversight Advisory Board (CPOA) was formed in January, 2023 after the City Council abolished the previous Civilian Police Oversight Board.

The 18th Federal Monitor’s Report found that the civilian oversight mandated by the CASA is “in crisis” with understaffing and excessive caseloads leading to inadequate investigations by the external board tasked with everything from evaluating civilian complaints to weighing in on police shootings.  The report also showed that 12 of the remaining 15 sections of the settlement that are noncompliant revolve around the operations of the Civilian Police Oversight Advisory Board. The monitor found that since the change made in January, 2023, the CPOA had not been able to properly function.

The 18th Monitor’s  Report states:

“From the monitor’s perspective, CPOA is in crisis. This crisis was birthed by understaffing, the need for the City to fill supervisory and oversight positions, and the need to improve the organizational structure of the agency.”

The CPOA’s problems led the city to fall behind on Secondary Compliance which had reached 100% compliance in the 17th report but dropped by 1% and is  now at 99%  in the 18th IME Report due to a drop in CPOA training.

Then City Council President Pat Davis  said in a letter to Mayor Tim Keller that changes to “key leadership” within the City Council and the administration “slowed things down” over the summer, but they have since interviewed more than a dozen applicants for the vacant board positions.  Davis said the council expected to reach its initial goal of having those positions filled, as well as filling a crucial leadership role, by the end of the year.

Davis said the board was  expected to be fully staffed and hire a contract compliance officer, who would make sure the CPOA abides by the settlement agreement and would be in charge of staffing, by the end of December. Davis said this:

“We’re on track. … This is the last big-ticket item, the administration wants it done fast, the monitor wants it done fast, we want it done well — and fast.”

On January 1, 2024  a new city council was  sworn in.  During a November 8 news conference announcing the 18th Federal Monitors Report, Mayor  Keller emphasized  the CPOA is the responsibility of the City Council, but said his administration is “here to help.”

When asked if the city could reach full compliance without the CPOA portions of the CASA fulfilled, city and police officials replied, “Just barely.”  Keller said if the City Council doesn’t get the CPOA into compliance with the CASA, one option would be to split the CASA into two, calling the CPOA half “a little casita.”


On November 16, 2023, it was  a full 9 years that has expired since the city entered into the CASA with the DOJ. It was originally agreed that implementation of all the settlement terms would be completed within 4 years, but because of previous delay and obstruction tactics  by APD management and the police officers’ union found by the Federal Monitor as well as APD backsliding in implementing the reforms, it has taken another 5 years to get the job done.

After 9 full years, the federal oversight and the CASA have produced results. Reforms achieved under the CASA can be identified and are as follows:

  1. New “use of force” and “use of deadly force” policies have been written, implemented and all APD sworn have received training on the policies.
  2. All sworn police officers have received crisis management intervention training.
  3. APD has created a “Use of Force Review Board” that oversees all internal affairs investigations of use of force and deadly force.
  4. The Internal Affairs Unit has been divided into two sections, one dealing with general complaints and the other dealing with use of force incidents.
  5. Sweeping changes ranging from APD’s SWAT team protocols, to banning choke-holds, to auditing the use of every Taser carried by officers and re-writing and implementation of new use of force and deadly force policies have been completed.
  6. “Constitutional policing” practices and methods, and mandatory crisis intervention techniques an de-escalation tactics with the mentally ill have been implemented at the APD police academy with all sworn police also receiving the training.
  7. APD has adopted a new system to hold officers and supervisors accountable for all use of force incidents with personnel procedures implemented detailing how use of force cases are investigated.
  8. APD has revised and updated its policies on the mandatory use of lapel cameras by all sworn police officers.
  9. The Repeat Offenders Project, known as ROP, has been abolished.
  10. Civilian Police Oversight Agency has been created, funded, fully staffed and a director was hired.
  11. The Community Policing Counsels (CPCs) have been created in all area commands.
  12. The Mental Health Advisory Committee has been implemented.
  13. The External Force Investigation Team (EFIT) was created and is training the Internal Affairs Force Division on how to investigate use-of-force cases, making sure they meet deadlines and follow procedures.
  14. Millions have been spent each year on new programs and training of new cadets and police officers on constitutional policing practices.
  15. APD officers are routinely found using less force than they were before and well documented use of force investigations are now being produced in a timely manner.
  16. APD has assumed the self-monitoring of at least 25% of the CASA reforms and is likely capable of assuming more.
  17. The APD Compliance Bureau has been fully operational and staffed with many positions created dealing directly with all the reform efforts and all the duties and responsibilities that come with self-assessment.
  18. APD has attained a 100% Primary Compliance rate, a 100% Secondary Compliance rate and a 96% Operational Compliance rate.


Over the last 9 years, APD has devoted thousands of manhours and the city has spent millions of dollars on the reform process, creating and staffing entire divisions and roles and rewriting policies and procedures.  APD has implemented oversight outside of the CASA requirements, implementing 6 month reviews of police shootings to identify shortcomings and possible solutions.

Despite the fact that the Court Approved Settlement Agreement mandates 2 years of sustained compliance of all 3 levels, it can be said that the spirit and intent of the CASA have now been fully achieved.  Given the extent of the compliance levels, the work of the Federal Monitor is done. The purpose and intent of the settlement has been achieved.

The city should seek to negotiate a stipulated dismissal of the case with the Department of Justice (DOJ) sooner rather than later.  Should the DOJ refuse, the City Attorney should move to immediately to dismiss the case under the termination and suspension provisions of the CASA by filing a Motion to Dismiss the case and force the issue with an evidentiary hearing and let the assigned federal judge decide the issue of dismissal.


APD’s Performance Base Budget Statistics Reflects APD Falling Short On Its Public Safety Mission; 15 Years of Sworn Personnel Meltdown Under Mayors Berry and Keller; APD Sworn Goes From 1,100 To 856 With Zero Growth; Exploring Reason For Meltdown; Citizens Satisfaction Survey: Public Has Lost Confidence In APD

On April 1, the Mayor Tim Keller Administration released the proposed city operating budget for fiscal 2025 and submitted it to the Albuquerque City Council for final review and approval. The fiscal year begins July 1, 2024 and ends June 30, 2025.The proposed budget is a whopping $1.4 billion budget.  The General Fund Budget, which is funding for the individual city departments, is $845.9 million, an increase of $19.3 million or a 2.3% increase above the 2024 budget. Non-recurring spending will drop from $49.9 million last year to $28.4 million in the proposed budget.  The budget leaves 12% in reserves and a $5 million fund balance. The coming fiscal year’s budget provides funding for 7,015 full time employees.


The entire City of Albuquerque budget is what is referred to as a performance-based budget. The City’s budget is formulated in two parts: 1. A financial plan and 2. Performance plan.

The Financial Plan is organized by department budgets and funds, and program strategy. Funds are groupings of related accounts that are used to maintain control over resources that have been segregated for specific activities.

The Performance Plan is organized by goals, desired community conditions, and program strategy. A goal is a long-term result that is further defined by desired community conditions that would exist if the goal were achieved.


When it comes to the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), statistics are compiled in areas that reflect performance and outcomes aimed at influencing the larger outcomes and goals that APD is striving to achieve. The performance measures capture APD’s ability to perform the services at the highest level achieved from the previous year and the “target” level for the new fiscal year. Target levels and percentages are merely goals that may or may not be achieved.

The performance measures are absolutely critical in order for the City Council to understand fully the shortcomings and strengths of APD and make critical budget decisions. Without such statics, budget review and decisions are done in the dark and in a real sense become useless, become an exercise in futility and the city council is relegated to rubber stamping whatever budget is presented to them.


The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) continues to be the largest funded department budget and it is about a fifth of the total General Fund Operating Budget. The proposed Fiscal Year 2025 General Fund budget for the Albuquerque Police Department is $271.5 million, which represents an increase of 5.2% or $13.4 million above the Fiscal Year 2024 budget.  1,840 full time positions will be funded which includes funding for 1,010 sworn police positions.

The budget includes full funding for 1,010 sworn police officers which is identical to last year. However, the city has yet to hit its goal of 1,000  sworn police.  APD had 856 sworn officers last year and this year the highest number achieved was a 880 sworn police officers in the department and 50 cadets  are currently going through the police academy.

The proposed budget includes the following specific funding:

  • Funding for 1,010 officers positions across the Albuquerque Police Department, including, with an increase in Police Service Aides and civilian support staff, with a targeted total of 1,100 sworn police
  • $22 million for the use of crime-fighting technology through the Real-Time Crime Center and the APD Crime Lab
  • $800,000 is allocated for support for the Office of the Superintendent of Police Reform and the Independent Monitoring Team for federal oversight and consent decree related expenses so that APD can reach reform goals.
  • Funding for the Automated Speed Enforcement program, including hearing officers.


The following performance measures can be gleaned from the 2024-2025 proposed budget. The data reflects how effective APD has been with its budget over the last two years.


Actual Fiscal Year 2022: 894 
Actual Fiscal Year 2023: 877
Mid- Fiscal Year 2024: 856
Target for Fiscal Year 2025: 1,100


Actual Fiscal Year 2022: 95
Actual Fiscal Year 2023:  85
Mid- Fiscal Year 2024: 54
Target for Fiscal Year 2025: 120


Actual Fiscal Year 2022: 459,720
Actual Fiscal Year 2023:  434,083 (Calls down 25,637)
Mid- Fiscal Year 2024: 215,492
Target for Fiscal Year 2025: 400,000


Actual Fiscal Year 2022: 527,472
Actual Fiscal Year 2023:  448,100 (Calls down 79,372)
Mid- Fiscal Year 2024:  247,536
Target for Fiscal Year 2025: 550,000


Actual Fiscal Year 2022: 512,394
Actual Fiscal Year 2023:  537,276   (24,882 INCREASE)
Mid- Fiscal Year 2024: 247,536
Target for Fiscal Year 2025: 550,000

EDITOR’S NOTE: Note the dramatic decline in calls to both emergency 911 calls and 242-COPS, but there was an increase in overall “calls for service” which is where sworn police are dispatched.


Actual Fiscal Year 2022: 2,312
Actual Fiscal Year 2023: 2,646 (334 INCREASE)
Mid- Fiscal Year 2024: 1,120


Actual Fiscal Year 2022: 7,229
Actual Fiscal Year 2023: 7,624 (395 INCREASE)
Mid- Fiscal Year 2024:  3,127

CLEARANCE RATE OF CRIMES AGAINST PERSONS  (e.g. murder, rape, assaults)

Actual Fiscal Year 2022: 44%
Actual Fiscal Year 2023:  40% (Clearance Rate Down 4%)
Mid- Fiscal Year 2024:  44%

CLEARANCE RATE OF CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY  (e.g. robbery, bribery, burglary)

Actual Fiscal Year 2022: 9%
Fiscal Year 2023: 8% (Clearance Rate Down 1%)
Mid- Fiscal Year 2024:  8%

% of stolen vehicles recovered

Actual Fiscal Year 2022: 47%
Fiscal Year 2023: 67%
Mid- Fiscal Year 2024:  57%

CLEARANCE RATE OF CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY  (e.g. gambling, prostitution, drug violations)

Actual Fiscal Year 2022: 57%
Actual Fiscal Year 2023: 44%  (Clearance Rate Down 13%)
Mid- Fiscal Year 2024:  55%


Actual Fiscal Year 2022: 71%
Actual Fiscal Year 2023:  83%  (Up 12%)
Mid- Fiscal Year 2024:  93%


Actual Fiscal Year 2022: 6,122
Actual Fiscal Year 2023:  8,034  (Up 1,912)
Mid- Fiscal Year 2024:  4,633


Actual Fiscal Year 2022: 9,799
Actual Fiscal Year 2023:  11,293 (Up 1,494 arrests)
Mid- Fiscal Year 2024:  5,883


Actual Fiscal Year 2022: 1,287
Actual Fiscal Year 2023:  1,385   (Up 98 arrests)
Mid- Fiscal Year 2024:  674


Actual Fiscal Year 2022: 96%
Actual Fiscal Year 2023:  85% (Down 9%)
Mid- Fiscal Year 2024:  86%


Actual Fiscal Year 2022: 3,025
Actual Fiscal Year 2023: 4,024 (INCREASE BY 1,001)
Mid- Fiscal Year 2024:  3,411


Actual Fiscal Year 2022:  1,219
Actual Fiscal Year 2023:  8,996
Mid- Fiscal Year 2024:  3,411


Actual Fiscal Year 2022:  2,184
Actual Fiscal Year 2023:
Mid- Fiscal Year 2024:


The proposed APD budget of $271.5 million includes proposed funding for 1,100 sworn police officers and 725 civilian employees. APD acknowledges the 1,100 figure for sworn police officers is a goal established by previous administrations.  The last time APD reached the goal of 1,100 police officers was in 2009 under the third term of Mayor Martin Chavez. The Keller Administration now says that the 1,100 figure is an unrealistic goal.  According to the 2024-2025 proposed budget, by mid-fiscal year 2024, APD had 856 sworn officers. The 856 number is fewer than in fiscal year 2023 when there were 877 and in and 2022 when there were 894 officers.

APD Spokesperson Rebecca Atkins said this:

[The 1,100] goal is from the past and is unrealistic. … If the department reaches more than 1,000 officers, there is an administrative plan to request additional resources in order to fund the additional officers.   APD is focused on a [comprehensive approach to public safety] …That includes a multitude of things including civilianizing many areas of the department as well as advancements in technology, which have been a force multiplier for APD.”

City Councilor Dan Champine is a former APD Police Officer. He said  he thinks reaching 1,100 officers  and going  from 875 to 1,100 officers isn’t an unrealistic expectation, but it will  take time to reach that goal.

City Councilor Champine said this:

“You have an academy class that’s six months long and you put 50 people in the class, so you do two of those, that’s 100 people that are going to graduate in a year and put out on the streets. … And during that one year at a time, you lose 60 people because of retirement or moving or life, so now your net gain is 40.” 

APD Spokesperson Rebecca Atkins said in the last year, APD has seen a record number of recruits and some of the largest cadet classes in a decade.  However, 80 officers separated from the department during the last fiscal year with 40 sworn officers resigning, 35 retiring, and 5 terminated.

The city’s targeted number of recruits for next year is 120, although it has not yet broken 100 in previous years. In fiscal year 2023, there were 85 recruits and in 2022 there were 95. By mid-year of fiscal year 2024, APD had 54 recruits.

APD has ramped up its recruiting presence on social media platforms, television and in movie theaters. APD Spokesperson Rebecca Atkins said a plan was put into place in 2022 to ramp up recruiting efforts for the Police Service Aide program because they’re a pipeline to future officers. Police Service Aides are tasked with handling minor traffic crashes, writing reports, managing traffic control and assisting with other administrative duties. Atkins said this:

“There will always be retirements and separations year to year, but, the growing number of cadets in our academy and PSAs who will become future officers continue to add to the department’s growing numbers. … We will continue our recruiting efforts…which have been successful in reaching qualified candidates who want to join the department. Just in the last two years, nearly two dozen PSAs have become police officers at APD. … We also currently have nearly 100 PSAs in the department, which is the highest number in the department’s history.” 

Once PSAs are qualified to become officers which is usually when they turn 21  they can apply to become sworn officers.

https://citydesk.org/2024/mayors-proposed-budget-includes-5-more-funding-for-  police/?utm_medium=email&mc_cid=608fffdc41&mc_eid=001367acf1


When it comes to the Albuquerque Police Department and the performance measure contained in the 2024-2025 it is painfully obvious that APD is falling short in getting its job done in protecting the public despite being the largest of all of the 27 City Departments with a $271.5 million budget.


On December 1, 2009 when Mayor Richard Berry was sworn into office succeeding Mayor Marty Chavez, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) was the best trained, best equipped, best funded police department in its history. In 2009, APD was fully staffed with 1,100 sworn police officers.  APD response times had been brought down below the national average and violent and property crime rates in Albuquerque were hitting historical lows.

During the 8 years Mayor Richard Berry was in office, the city’s violent crime and property crime rates hit historical highs and APD went into a personnel meltdown going from 1,100 sworn police officers to 853 sworn police, a loss of 247 sworn police. Since taking office on December 1, 2017 Mayor Tim Keller has made Public Safety his number one priority over the last 7 years because of the city’s spiking violent crime rates.

Notwithstanding all of Mayor Keller’s efforts to recruit and expand APD, the department is still seriously short staffed despite the millions being spent on salary increases, sign on bonuses and being the best paid law enforcement agency in the state and the region. Today, according to the 2024-2025 proposed budget, by mid-fiscal year 2024, APD had 856 sworn officers which is only 3 more sworn police than the day Keller took office in 2017.  Given the volume of arrests and cases, APD is critically understaffed to complete its mission.

It’s no too difficult to pin point the multiple reasons for the sworn personnel melt down over the last 15 years.

First, APD’s poor reputation has made it difficult to attract a new generation of police officers.  The Department of Justice civil rights investigation in 2013 contributed to APD’s poor reputation when it found that APD engaged in a pattern of “excessive use of force” and “deadly force” and found a “culture of aggression” with numerous judgments entered against the city for civil rights violations. The killing of homeless camper James Boyd in the Sandia Foothills by APD in 2014 expedited the city and APD entering into a consent decree that mandated 271 reforms and constitutional policing practices.  2 APD Officers were charged with murder  of Boyd, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict and the city settled the case for $5 Million. The consent decree was suppose to last only 4 years and be dismissed, but it lasted 9 years after APD management and the police union engaged repeatedly in obstruction tactics and failed to come into compliance with the reforms. On May 13, 3024, it was announced APD has come into compliance and it likely the case will be dismissed after 2 more years of being in full compliance.  A more recent scandal that has now rocked APD is the Bribery and Conspiracy Scandal to dismiss DWI cases where 9 police officers have now been implicated as the investigation expands.

Second, respect for law enforcement deteriorated all over the country as departments came under intensive scrutiny for civil rights violations and repeated killings of African Americans and other minorities. That intense scrutiny culminated with the killing of George Floyd and the conviction of 5 Minneapolis Police  Officers and the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States.

Third, violent crime,  property crime, and  the proliferation of drugs because of the drug cartels has  spiked dramatically all over the country  making it difficult to be a police officer. Murders in the United States reach an all time high, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic and law enforcement agency resources were stretched to historical levels.

Fourth, this countries obsession with guns and resistance to any and all gun control has resulted in even more guns being available to the criminal element in the United States endangering law enforcement.

Fifth, simply put, becoming a police officer has become less and less attractive making it difficult to attract a new generation of police officers. The workloads and pressures of being in law enforcement makes it unattractive profession on many levels.


Despite being severely understaffed, APD’s performance measure reveal that the department’s workload has increased and decreased over the last 4 years.

The number of calls for service increased by 24,882 going from 512,394 in 2022 to 537,276  in 2023 with the projected targeted number at 550,000 for 2025

APD’s felony arrests went up by 1,912 going from 6,122 in 2022 to 8,034 in 2023  with 4,633 felony arrests by midyear 2024.  Notwithstanding felony arrests going up over the last 2 years, APD felony arrest were much higher in 2020 with 10,945 felony arrests and in 2021 with 6,621 felony arrests

APD’s misdemeanor arrests  also went  up 1,494 going from 9,799 in 2022 to 11,293 in 2023 with 5,883 misdemeanor by midyear 2024. Notwithstanding  misdemeanor arrests going up over the past 2 years, misdemeanor arrests were much higher in 2020 with 19,440 misdemeanor arrests and in 2021 with 16,520 misdemeanor arrests.

The number of DWI arrests has increased by a mere 98 arrests going from 1,287 in 2022 to 1,385 in 2023.  DWI arrests were much higher in 2020 with 1,788 DWI arrests and in 2021 with 1,230 DWI arrests.

The percentage of cases submitted to the District Attorney for prosecutions has gone down by 9% with 96% submitted in 2022 and 85% submitted in 2023. The lack of personnel to complete investigations in full contributes to the decline in case submitted.


It is very troubling that 911 calls are down by 25,637 and 242-COPS calls are down by 79,372 from the previous year. The blunt truth is that crime has not gone down that much. The likely reasons for the decline in calls is that victims of crime have lost an extent of faith and are likely frustrated in APD’s failure to respond.


Clearance rates are where the “rubber hits the road” when it comes to law enforcement. The ultimate goal is to solve a case, apprehend a perpetrator and prosecute.  APD uses the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) as required by the FBI and there are 3 major broad categories of crime. The 3 major categories are then broken down into 52 sub-categories.

NIBRS counts virtually all crimes committed during an incident and for that reason alone NIMRS is far more sophisticated than the “most serious incident-based” reporting SRS reporting system which list only 8 major categories of crime.

Over the past 2 years, APD’s clearance rates have gone down in all 3 major categories of crime:

CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY include gambling, prostitution, and drug violations, and represent society’s prohibition against engaging in certain types of activity and are typically victimless crimes. APD’s clearance rate in Crimes Against Society went down 13%, going from 57% in 2022 to 44% in 2023.

CRIMES AGAINST PERSONS include murder, rape, and assault, and are those in which the victims are always individuals. APD’s clearance rate in Crimes Against Persons went down 4% going from 44% in 2022 to 40% in 2023.

CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY include robbery, bribery, and burglary, or to obtain money, property, or some other benefit. APD’s clearance rate in Crimes property went down by 1% going from 9% in 2022 to  8% in 2023.  APD Spokesperson Franchesca Perdue said property crime clearance rates are generally low because there are usually no witnesses or offender information after the crime has been committed.

According to the proposed 2024-205 budget, APD’s goal is to more than double the clearance rate for property crimes setting a goal to clear 20% of property crimes. The department had the same goal last year but fell far short.  Perdue said this about APD’s low clearance rates in property crime:

“The most common way to overcome this is the use of surveillance videos, better lighting, and neighbors working together to report suspicious activity. … There is increased lab personnel to assist in processing evidence such as fingerprints and the number of crime scene specialists is the highest it’s been at the department. …  The hope is that more evidence will be gathered and processed, which will lead to more cases being solved and a higher clearance rate.”

The link to the relied upon and quoted news source is here:



On January 5, 2024, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) released its end-of-year data for homicides.  During the last 6 years, the city’s murder rates rose, dropped one year, and then rose to a historical high and dropped by 20% in 2023. Following is the breakdown of homicides by year:

2017: 72 homicides
2018: 69 homicides.
2019: 82 homicides
2020: 76 homicides
2021: 117 homicides
2022: 120 homicides

2023: 97 homicides




According to the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), murders were down 20% last year. In 2023, APD said there were 97 murders, compared to 121 investigated by APD in 2022.  APD reported that 84 homicides were solved in 2023 with 53 of the cases from 2023 and 31 of the cases are from previous years. APD reported that 117 suspects were arrested, charged or died in 2023  and 12 of the homicide suspects from 2023 were juveniles.

According to APD, there are a few things that may have led to the 20% decrease in homicides. They include officers being more proactive, new and updated technology and arresting people. In 2017, APD only had five homicide detectives who investigated 72 homicides. The homicide unit now has 16 detectives, and roughly 200 officers went through the department’s detective academy.

The raw data breakdown for the 2023 homicides is as follows:

Of the 97 homicides:

  • 84 homicides were solved.
  • 53 of the cases were from 2023.
  • 31 of the cases are from previous years.


APD reported 117 suspects were arrested, charged or died in 2023.

  • 72 of the suspects are from 2023 cases.
  • 64 arrested
  • 5 dead
  • 3 charged or considered wanted.
  • 45 of the suspects are from previous years.
  • 20 suspects are from 2022 cases.
  • 12 suspects are from 2021 cases.
  • 7 suspects are from 2020 cases.
  • 1 suspect is from a 2019 case.
  • 1 suspect is from a 2018 case.
  • 2 suspects are from 2017 cases.
  • 1 suspect is from a 2016 case.
  • 1 suspect is from a 2014 case.


APD’s performance measures reflect that the department’s homicide clearance rate is up by 12% for one year going from 71% in 2022 to 83% in 2023.  Notwithstanding the impressive increase, for the years 2019 to 2021, the city’s homicide clearance percentage rates have been in the 50%-60% range and in fact dropped dramatically to less than 40% one year.

According to APD approved city budgets, following are APD’s homicide clearance rates for the years 2016 to 2024:

  • 2016:APD homicide clearance rate 80%
  • 2017:APD homicide clearance rate 70%.
  • 2018: APD homicide clearance rate 47%.
  • 2019: APD homicide clearance rate 57%
  • 2020: APD’s homicide clearance rate 57%
  • 2021: APD’s homicide clearance rate 53%
  • 2022: APD’s homicide clearance rate 71%
  • 2023: APD’s homicide clearance rate 79%

The link to review all city budgets from Fiscal years 2007 to 2024 is here:



The national nonprofit Mapping Police Violence reported that  APD killed 10.6 people per million residents — more than any other sizable police department in the nation, according to data  the tracked.  In 2022, the department set a record for police shootings with 18, 10 of which were fatal. That year, a Searchlight New Mexico  analysis found, only the police departments in Los Angeles, New York and Houston killed more people than APD.

Law enforcement officials, including police leaders and district attorneys, say such figures are nuanced. They point to the acute dearth of mental health resources in New Mexico and, anecdotally, stories of people who draw guns on police officers as explanations for why the problem of police violence is so outsized locally.”

It is worth comparing Albuquerque’s 10.6 kill rate to the largest cities in the surrounding border states of Texas, Colorado, Arizona and also including Oklahoma and Nevada:

  • Albuquerque, NM: 10.6
  • San Antonio, Texas:  9.8
  • Phoenix, Arizona: 8.7
  • Austin, Texas: 7.3
  • Denver, Colorado: 5.6
  • Tucson, Arizona: 5.5
  • Fort Worth, Texas: 5.4
  • Houston, Texas: 5.2
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado: 4.2
  • Dallas, Texas: 3.1
  • El Paso, Texas: 2.9
  • Las Vegas, Nevada: 2.6
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: 2.0

In the past four years, Albuquerque police repeatedly shot people who were suffering visible mental health crises. They shot 26-year-old Max Mitnik in the head during a “schizoaffective episode” in which he asked officers to fire their weapons at him; they shot and killed 52-year-old Valente Acosta-Bustillos who swung a shovel at officers and told them to shoot him; they shot and killed 33-year-old Collin Neztsosie while he was on his cell phone, pleading for help with a 911 dispatcher.


Each year, the City of Albuquerque commissions a survey to assess residents’ satisfaction with various City services and issues relating to crime, homelessness, and public safety.  The study is required by City ordinance.

On April 16, the results of the annual City of Albuquerque Citizen Perception Survey were released. This year the poll was conducted by Pinion Research.  The findings are from a poll of 400 adults residing within Albuquerque city limits, conducted via landline, cellphone, and text-to-web, from February 26 to February 28, 2024. The margin of error is +/- 4.9% points at the 95% confidence interval.

City Residents are critical of the job the Albuquerque Police Department is doing.

“The majority of city residents DISAGREE that APD is doing a good job addressing violent crime with 39% agreeing it is doing good job and 56% disagreeing they are doing a good job.

The majority of city residents DISAGREE that the APD is doing a good job addressing property crime  with 35% agreeing APD is  doing a good job and 60% disagreeing they are doing a good job.

A slight majority of city residents DISAGREE that “the Albuquerque Police Department is ready to transition away from oversight by the federal government and operate on its own” with 39% agreeing APD is ready to transition away from federal oversight and 51% disagreeing APD is ready to transition away from federal oversight.

In addition to disagreeing with the positive APD statements, most city residents disagree that “The Albuquerque City Government is responsive to our community needs” with 35% agreeing that the Albuquerque City Government is responsive to community needs and 61% disagreeing Albuquerque City Government is responsive to community needs.

Feelings about APD vary by gender.  Men are less likely to agree that the APD is doing a good job addressing violent crime with 32% of men agree versus 46% women agreeing.   Men are less likely to agree that the APD is doing a good job addressing property crime with 24% men agreeing versus  45% women agreeing.  Women are less likely to agree that the APD is ready to operate on its own with 45% men agreeing versus 33% women agreeing.

Speeding and reckless driving is the top issue that affects feelings of safety across demographics. Overall, a whopping 81% of city residents say that speeding and reckless driving affects their feelings of safety at least somewhat, while 43% say it affects their feelings of safety “very much”.

Illegal drug use is the second most significant contributor to safety overall, but edges out speeding and reckless driving in intensity with 45% of city residents saying very much, and a whopping 77% of residents saying very much/somewhat.

The survey reflects the public has lost confidence in APD and is dissatisfied with how APD is dealing with property crime and violent crime.  The ongoing FBI investigation of the entire DWI unit of APD for bribery and conspiracy and dismissal of 197 DWI cases has severely tarnished APD’s reputation. APD’s finding Chief Medina’s car crash critically injuring another was “not preventable” is evidence APD is unable to police itself.  It has been reported APD Ranks #1 in civilian killings out of the 50 largest city police departments in the country.


The Citizens Satisfaction Survey is a reflection of Mayor Keller’s poor job performance as he prepares to run for a third term. Voters want results when it comes to APD and the direction the city is going. Based on APD’s performance measures, and after seven years in office, Mayor Keller and his APD management team have been a failure.

The link to review the entire unedited survey report is here:


Links to related blog articles are here:

FBI Reports City’s Crime Up By Less Than 1%; Statistic Skewed Because Of Changes In FBI Reporting System; Crime Likely Much Higher Given APD’s Reduced Enforcement Efforts And APD’s Past Inaccurate Reporting

Search Light New Mexico Article: “Can The Albuquerque Police Department ever be reformed?”; APD Ranks #1 In Civilian Killings Out Of The 50 Largest City Police Departments In The Country; APD Killing More People Than Ever Despite Implementation Of Reforms

ABQ Journal Dinelli Guest Opinion Column: “Survey Says Public Has Lost Confidence In APD”; Mayor Tim Keller Should Be Denied A Third Term

On Sunday, May 12, the Albuquerque Journal published the following guest opinion column written by Pete Dinelli entitled “Survey says: Public has lost confidence in APD”:

On April 16, the results of the annual city of Albuquerque Citizen Perception Survey were released. The survey is done to determine residents’ satisfaction with city services and issues. The poll of 400 adults was taken Feb. 26-28, with a margin of error of +/- 4.9% points. The results of the survey are as follows:


Financial security deals with “quality of life.” Fifty percent of city residents feel their personal financial situation has largely stayed the same over the last six months. Thirty-seven percent report that their personal financial situation has gotten worse over the last six months, while just 12% feel their financial situation has gotten better. 


Sixty-nine percent of city residents report feeling safe outside in their neighborhoods. Eighty-one percent of city residents say that speeding and reckless driving affects their feelings of safety. Illegal drug use is the second most significant contributor to residents not feeling safe. It edges out speeding and reckless driving in intensity with a whopping 77% of residents saying very much or somewhat.


Sixty-one percent “disagree” and 35% “agree” that “the Albuquerque City Government is responsive to our community needs.”


Twenty-three percent of residents feel panhandling impacts them and their family the most, while 17% feel homeless encampments impacts the most for a combined total of 40% for the two issues. Homeless numbers have spiked dramatically despite the Keller administration spending over $100 million the last two years on assistance and shelter to the homeless.


Sixty-three percent of city residents report feeling concerned about the direction of the city with only 31% say they are hopeful about the direction of the city.


Sixty percent of city residents “disagree” and 35% “agree” that the APD is doing a good job addressing property crime. Fifty-six percent of city residents “disagree” and 39% “agree” that APD is doing a good job addressing violent crime.

Fifty-one percent of city residents “disagree” that “the Albuquerque Police Department is ready to transition away from oversight by the federal government and operate on its own” while only 39% “agree.”

APD’s budget is $271.5 million and is the largest department budget, representing upwards of 33% of the city’s $845.9 million general fund budget. The survey reflects the public has lost confidence in APD and is dissatisfied with how APD is dealing with property crime and violent crime with the resources it has.

The ongoing FBI investigation of the entire DWI unit of APD for bribery and conspiracy and dismissal of hundreds of DWI cases has destroyed APD’s reputation. APD’s finding that Chief Harold Medina’s car crash critically injuring another was “non-preventable” reflects APD is unable to police itself.

It has been reported APD ranks No. 1 in civilian killings out of the 50 largest city police departments in the country.

The city’s annual budget is $1.2 billion and it employs over 7,000 full-time employees, yet residents do not believe city government is responsive to their needs.

It’s alarming that 63% of city residents say they are concerned over the direction the city is going and 61% disagreeing city government is responsive to community needs. These ratings reflect the general public believes Mayor Tim Keller and the City Council are failures managing city resources.

The Citizens Satisfaction Survey is a reflection of Mayor Keller’s poor job performance as he prepares to run for a third term. Voters want results when it comes to APD and the direction the city is going.

After seven years in office, Mayor Keller and his APD management team have failed. Mayor Tim Keller should be denied another term.

Pete Dinelli is a former Albuquerque city councilor, former chief public safety officer and former chief deputy district attorney. You can read his daily news and commentary blog at www.PeteDinelli.com.

The link to the  related blog article is here:

City “Citizens Satisfaction Survey” Gut Punch To Mayor Tim Keller As He Plans to Seek 3rd Term; 63% Concerned Over Direction City Is Going; 61% Disagree City Government Is Responsive To Community Needs; 60% Disagree APD Doing Good Job Addressing Property Crime; 56% Disagree APD Doing Good Job Addressing Violent Crime