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

For over the last 6 years, the City of Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) have been struggling under a Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) to implement 271 reforms. The CASA was entered into after the Department Of Justice file suit alleging the APD had engaged in a pattern and course of conduct of excessive use of force and deadly force and a finding of a “culture of aggression” within APD.

On Friday, December 4, 2020 during an all-day status conference hearing on the 12th Compliance Audit Report of the APD reforms mandated by the CASA, it was revealed publicly for the first time that the City and the DOJ were negotiating a “stipulated order” for court approval that would create and External Force Investigations Team (EFIT).

STIPULATED ORDER APPROVED

On Friday, February 26, U.S. District Judge James Browning held a hearing and approved the Stipulated Order between the city and the DOJ to create the EFIT. According to the approved order, the city will hire a team of upwards 25 outside investigators and an Administrator. An EFIT investigator will accompany internal affairs detectives to all scenes where an APD officer uses force on a person that causes injury, hospitalization or death. The external investigators will be privy to all evidence, documents and investigative notes and will evaluate the quality of the internal investigator’s work and notify APD and attorneys if there are any deficiencies.

During the February 26 hearing, Paul Killebrew told the court the FISIT was necessary because after 6 years the police department is still not holding officers accountable for using force that is out of policy. Killebrew told Judge Browning:

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

When we read [the Independent Monitor’s 12th report], we believed that there were likely grounds for contempt, and that we could probably make a good case for a receivership, at least as it regards serious force investigations. This is essentially something short of a receivership, but far more extensive than what is occurring now. What we’re talking about is having external folks assisting Albuquerque investigators in each investigation to ensure that those investigations identify out-of-policy force and to ensure that there is a strong factual record available so that policy violations can be identified and that officers can be held accountable. That is simply a nonnegotiable term of the consent decree. We must have officers held accountable for out-of-policy force, and after six years, we cannot wait for that to happen any longer.”

COURT EXPLORES AUTHORITY TO DISMISS CASE

During the February 26 hearing, Judge Browning asked Assistant United States Attorney Paul Killebrew if the court had authority to dismiss the case if he wanted to in the following manner:

JUDGE BROWING:

“All right. The other question I have is that you have probably seen some of the calls from people to vacate this order. They want me to just toss this out because it’s such a bad idea, the consent decree. Two questions. Probably answer them at the same time. One is: Do I have any power to do that once the consent decree, the settlement, was entered in this case? And then B, even if it’s something that some people wanted, what are the chances of this consent decree being tossed out by me or anybody else in this case?”

MR. KILLEBREW:

“Good question, Your Honor. I think on the first question, of whether you have the authority to terminate the consent decree sua sponte [on its own], I think you do, because you have an ongoing obligation to ensure that this consent decree is fair, reasonable, adequate, and not the product of collusion. And I think if evidence came to light that this consent decree failed to meet those criteria, it would be reasonable for the Court at least to request briefing from the parties on those issues that you could make a considered ruling on it. I will say I don’t believe those grounds are present, and I believe the arguments that we made at the outset of this litigation for why the consent decree is fair, reasonable, and adequate and not the product of collusion still stand. So I would say that the chances of the Court terminating the consent decree on that basis should be low and are low. The other opportunity that the Court will have to terminate this consent decree will be once the City has met the terms of the decree, which requires coming into compliance with its requirements, and sustaining that compliance for two years, at which point the parties may seek termination.”

CASA REFORM COMPLIANCE PLACED INTO CONTEXT

The DOJ Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) was negotiated over a 6-month period after the DOJ released its investigation report finding that APD engaged in a “pattern and practice” of unconstitutional “use of force” and “deadly force.” It was on November 10, 2014 the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) was filed. The link to the full 106-page CASA containing 276 mandated reforms can be read here:

https://www.cabq.gov/mental-health-response-advisory-committee/documents/court-approved-settlement-agreement-final.pdf

The CASA was negotiated to be fully implemented over a 4-year period. It has now been over 6 full years. Under the CASA there are 3 compliance levels that must achieve a 95% compliance level and then maintained for a full 2 years before the case can be dismissed.

For the purposes of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) monitoring process, “compliance” consists of three levels: primary, secondary, and operational compliance levels.

The 3 compliance levels can be explained as follows:

1. PRIMARY COMPLIANCE: 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.

2. SECONDARY COMPLIANCE: 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.

3. OPERATIONAL COMPLIANCE: 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.

Under the terms and conditions of the CASA, once APD achieves a 95% compliance rate in all 3 of the compliance areas, and maintains compliance for 2 years, the case can be dismissed.

OPERATION COMPLIANCE DECLINES IN TWO AREAS

On November 2, 2020, the Federal Monitor filed his 12th Federal Monitor’s Report that covered the time period of February 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020.

In the 12th audit reporting period that ended on July 31, 2020 the Federal Monitor found the following compliance levels:

PRIMARY COMPLIANCE: 100% with no change from 11 th report. APD continued to make progress overall, having achieved primary compliance in 100% of the applicable paragraphs of the CASA. Primary Compliance relates mostly to development and implementation of acceptable policies conforming to national practices.

SECONDARY COMPLIANCE: 91%, with a loss of -2.2% from the 11th report. APD is in 91% Secondary Compliance as of this reporting period. Secondary Compliance means that effective follow-up mechanisms have been taken to ensure that APD personnel understand the requirements of promulgated policies, e.g., training, supervising, coaching, and implementing disciplinary processes to ensure APD personnel understand the policies as promulgated and are capable of implementing them in the field.

OPERATIONAL COMPLIANCE: 64%, with a loss of -3.0%. APD is in 64% Operational Compliance with the requirements of the CASA, which means that 64% of the time, field personnel either perform tasks as required by the CASA, or that, when they fail, supervisory personnel note and correct in-field behavior that is not compliant with the requirements of the CASA

SUSPENSION AND TERMINATION PROVISIONS OF THE CASA

The CASA contains the following suspension and termination provisions:

“Termination of the Agreement

342. The City will endeavor to reach full and effective compliance with this Agreement within four years of its Effective Date. The Parties agree to jointly ask the Court to terminate this Agreement after this date, provided that the City has been in full and effective compliance with this Agreement for two years. “Full and Effective Compliance” shall be defined to require sustained compliance with all material requirements of this Agreement or sustained and continuing improvement in constitutional policing, as demonstrated pursuant to the Agreement’s outcome measures.

343. If after six years from the Effective Date the Parties disagree whether the City has been in full and effective compliance for two years, either Party may seek to terminate this Agreement. In the case of termination sought by the City, prior to filing a motion to terminate, the City agrees to notify DOJ in writing when the City has determined that it is in full and effective compliance with this Agreement and that such compliance has been maintained for no less than two years.”

The CASA does have a provision that allows suspension of the monitoring. Specifically, Paragraph 302 of the CASA provides:

“302. Where the Parties agree, the Monitor shall refrain from conducting a compliance review of a requirement previously found by the Monitor to be in sustained compliance for at least two years pursuant to audits or reviews, or where outcome assessments or other information indicate that the outcome intended by the requirement has been achieved.”

REFORMS UNDER THE CASA

As of November, 2020, over 6 years has expired since the city entered into the CASA with the DOJ. From all appearances and practical purposes, and from review of the Federal Monitor’s reports, the City and APD have completed the following mandated reforms under the Court Approved Settlement Agreement:

1. After a full year of negotiations, 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 having received 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 hired.
11. The Community Policing Counsels (CPCs) have been created in all area commands and the CPCs meet monthly.
12. The Mental Health Advisory Committee has been implemented.
13. The CASA identified that APD was understaffed. The City and APD are in the process of spending $88 million dollars, over a four-year period, with 32 million dollars of recurring expenditures, to hire 322 sworn officers and grow the department to 1,200 officers. As of January 1, 2020, APD has 949 full time police officers, up from 878 sworn police. The expansion thus far is attributed primarily to hiring from other departments and returning to work APD retirees.
14. In November, 2018 APD achieved 99.6% compliance with primary tasks, 75.4% secondary compliance and 59.5% operational compliance with APD making significant progress in overall compliance.
15. According to the Use of Force Report for the years 2017 and 2018, APD’s “use of force” and “deadly force” is down dramatically , which was one of the primary objectives of the CASA reforms.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Operational Compliance under the settlement is attained at the point that the adherence to policies is apparent in the day-to-day operation of the agency. Operational Compliance is achieved when 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.

After review of the 12 Independent Monitors Reports, the 276 CASA mandates, and the reforms implemented, the biggest failure is implementation and training on the new policy and enforcement by APD management to achieve “Operational Compliance”. This is where the “rubber hits the road.”

COUNTER CASA EFFECT PREVENTS OPERATIONAL COMPLIANCE

“Operational Compliance” will never be fully achieved until there is a 100% elimination of the “Counter CASA” effect as identified by the Federal Monitor.

In Federal Monitor’s 10th and 11th audit reports, the “Counter CASA” effect was fully explained. According to the Federal Monitor’s 10th report:

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

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

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

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

In the 11th audit report, the Federal Monitor made it clear that there are many within APD that are overtly resistant to reforms. The Monitor found evidence of a “counter-CASA effect” among some at the supervisory, mid-management, and command levels at APD. Notwithstanding, both Mayor Keller and CAO Nair have refused to take aggressive action and remove those in the chain of command that are resistant to police reforms.

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

APD police sergeants and lieutenants are on the front line to enforce personnel rules and regulations, standard operating procedures, approve and review work performed and assist in implementing DOJ reforms and standard operating procedures policies. They are where the “rubber meets the road” when it comes to Operational Compliance.

The point that has been repeatedly made by the Federal Monitor is that “until the sergeants are in harness and pulling in the same direction as the chief, things won’t get done as quickly”. In other words, without the 100% support of the sergeants and lieutenants to the CASA mandated reforms, there will be little or no progress made with Operational Compliance.

Sergeants and lieutenants need to be made at will employees and removed from the police union bargaining unit in order to get a real buy in to management’s goals of police reform and the CASA. APD Police sergeants and lieutenants cannot serve two masters of Administration Management and Union priorities. Until sergeants and lieutenants are removed from the union and made at will employees, do not expect the CASA reforms or “Operational Compliance” to be achieved any time soon.

OPERATIONAL COMPLIANCE MAY NEVER BE ACHIEVED

The biggest complaint of all the DOJ consent decrees in the country is implementation and enforcement “go on and on” for years, costing millions in taxpayer dollars.

With the implementation of the EFIT team, a 95% to 100% compliance with all the CASA primary, secondary and operational compliance goals should be achieved. But no one should expect that, especially the DOJ and when Assistant United State Attorney Paul Killebrew says in open court:

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

“…[W]hat we have is a city that has failed to comply with that court order over and over and over again. … When we read [the Independent Monitor’s 12th report], we believed that there were likely grounds for contempt, and that we could probably make a good case for a receivership, at least as it regards serious force investigations. ”

NEW LEADERSHIP SAME IS OLD LEADERSHIP

When Keller ran for Mayor In 2017, he promised to implement the DOJ reforms and changed bring a new approach to APD”s management. So much for promises. From the very day Tim Keller became Mayor, he has relied upon former, long term APD Management . Keller first selected former Rio Rancho Police Chief Michael Geier as “Interim Chief” of the Albuquerque Police Department. Chief Geier retired from APD after 20 years and has extensive knowledge of APD. Mayor Keller also appointed retired APD Roger Banez, and retired APD Harold Medina, and current Deputy Eric Perez as Deputy Chief’s and each have extensive years of service with APD.

On Monday, March 8, Mayor Keller announced Harold Medina as the new APD Chief of Police. Medina had been serving as interim APD Chief since Mayor Keller fired APD Chief Michael Geier. Over 3 years, Keller’s promised implementation of the DOJ reforms until they stalled so much that he fired his first Chief Michael Geier. It was APD’s excessive use of force and deadly force against the mentally ill that was at the center of the DOJ’s finding of a culture of aggression.

Chief Harold Medina has a nefarious past with the use of deadly force against two people suffering from psychotic episodes. The first was when Medina shot and killed a 14 year old child who was having a psychotic episode, went to a westside church for help and armed with a BB gun. Medina had been dispatched to the scene and when the child brandished the BB gun, Medina shot him dead. The second shooting happened years later when then Lieutenant Medina authorized the use of deadly force against a 26-year-old veteran suffering from service connected post traumatic stress disorder who held a gun to his head, with APD shooting and killing him. A jury found that the veteran was a danger only to himself and awarded a $10.5 million judgement against the city.

During his January 23 webinar interview, Interim Chief Harold Medina said he has the “hindsight” to take the department forward. He said “How can you change a culture if you had not lived and been a part of that culture?” With these words, Medina essentially admitted he was part of the “culture of aggression” that brought the DOJ here in the first place. Anyone who helped create, knew about or did not stop the “culture of aggression” has absolutely no business being Chief of Police. Chief Medina has also blamed the DOJ consent decree for APD’s inability to concentrate on crime.

Along with his appointment of Harold Medina as permanent APD Chief, Mayor Keller also appointed Sylvester Stanley as “Interim Superintendent of Police Reform” in addition to the position of Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (DCAO). In 1982, Sylvester Stanley began his career with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department (BCSO) where he began his career as a patrolman. Over the years, he advanced through the ranks serving as a Detective, Sergeant, and Lieutenant retiring, in 2002, with the rank of Captain. Sylvester Stanley served as Police Chief for the Isleta Police Department from 2018 to 2021.

Stanley’s extensive law enforcement background and experience, although impressive as it is, is void of any work or dealing with federal consent decrees and void of any background in constitutional policing practices which are the center piece of the DOJ reforms. Two major shortcomings to the Stanly appointment is that he is “interim” meaning temporary and his background and experience is as traditional law enforcement as it gets. Lacking of experience with implementation of Federal Court Approved Settlement Agreements dealing with excessive use of force and deadly force cases is a cause of concern. Superintendent Stanley has also been given authority over disciplining police officers ostensibly for violations of the DOJ reforms. The police union has objected to Stanley having any authority to discipline asserting that the union contract gives that authority exclusively to the Chief.

APD Chief Harold Medina will not be reporting to Stanley nor Stanley to Medina, but both will be reporting to Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair who will likely be forced to resolve any disputes between the two. Medina and Stanley will essentially be acting like a “CASA Reform Tag Team” who will be reporting to political operative Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Given the 15 major accomplishment and reforms achieved, one conclusion that can be reached is the “spirit and intent of the” CASA has been accomplished. Sooner rather than later there must come a time and realization the failure to achieve Operational Compliance is a failure of APD’s management and is based on personality and attitudes of the sworn police who resist civilian oversight. Engrained attitudes and the culture of aggression found by the DOJ will never be changed until such time there is a complete turn over within APD and all of its personnel. The turnover will happen through retirements, police officers quitting, transfers to other departments or even terminations resulting in a new generation of APD personnel.

If APD management, the union and rank and file continue with their efforts of “noncompliance”, not overtly, but in a manner to avoid detection and once again using “agility to avoid the requirements of the CASA”, the Federal Court should say enough is enough and hold them accountable and hold the city in contempt of court and order the Department of Justice receiver to take over APD’s Internal Affairs Unit and the use of force investigations.

Another option is for the court to dismiss the case on its own and declare that the spirit and intent of the CASA have been achieved. The dismissal would effectively force the Mayor, APD management, the “Use of Force Review Board, the Civilian Police Oversight Agency, the Mental Health Advisory Committee and the Community Policing Counsels to finally do their jobs as envisioned. Sweeping management changes and personnel changes could be implemented. Once the case is dismissed, the city will be free to propose necessary changes to the Union contract, including the removal of sergeants and lieutenants from the union making them at will and authorize the Chief to terminate at will officers. With the dismissal of the case, it would make it clear that no one could point to the CASA as being the reason for lack of progress or the cause of the city’s high violent crime rates.

Sooner rather than later the case must be dismissed to allow APD to get back to the basics of public safety.

All documents related to APD’s settlement agreement can be downloaded and reviewed at this city web site link:

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

The documents include:
The Settlement Agreement between City and the DOJ
APD Progress Reports
Independent Monitor’s Reports
Compliance Reports
Use of Force Annual Reports
Use of Force Reports
Studies
Audits

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

On Friday, December 4, 2020 a status conference hearing was held on the 12th Compliance Audit Report on APD reforms mandated by the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA). One failure identified by the Federal Monitor was that APD’s Internal Affairs (IA) was not properly investigating serious use of force instances by APD police officers. During the hearing, it was revealed that the City and the Department of Justice (DO) were negotiating a “stipulated order” to create and External Force Investigations Team (EFIT).

Paul Killebrew, special counsel for the DOJ’s civil rights division, said that after the 12th Federal Monitor’s report was released on November 2, the DOJ and the City realized that something had to be done. If not agreed to by the city, the DOJ would have to take very aggressive action. Killebrew told Federal Judge Browning:

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

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

EXTERNAL FORCE INVESTIGATION TEAM

On February 26, U.S. District Judge James Browning approved a stipulated order creating the EFIT. The EFIT team will train APD Internal Affairs (IA) investigators on how to properly investigate uses of force instances by APD police officers. The City agreed that at least 25 force investigators would be assigned to the APD Internal Affairs until APD demonstrates that fewer investigators are necessary to timely investigate uses of force by APD Officers.

GROUNDS FOR CONTEMPT

Assistant United States Attorney Paul Killebrew had this to say about EFIT:

“… [W]hat we have is a city that has failed to comply with that court order over and over and over again. It’s not an option right now to do nothing. If we sit back and wait, using all the tools that we have already been using, I don’t know why we would expect things to change on their own. The sense of the United States when we received the monitor’s report was that additional interventions were required. …
When we read [the Independent Monitor’s 12th report], we believed that there were likely grounds for contempt, and that we could probably make a good case for a receivership, at least as it regards serious force investigations.

This is essentially something short of a receivership, but far more extensive than what is occurring now. What we’re talking about is having external folks assisting Albuquerque investigators in each investigation to ensure that those investigations identify out-of-policy force and to ensure that there is a strong factual record available so that policy violations can be identified and that officers can be held accountable. That is simply a nonnegotiable term of the consent decree. We must have officers held accountable for out-of-policy force, and after six years, we cannot wait for that to happen any longer.”

THE MEDINA AND STANLEY TAG TEAM

On Monday, March 8, Mayor Keller announced Harold Medina as the new APD Chief of Police. Medina had been serving as interim APD Chief since Mayor Keller fired APD Chief Michael Geier. For over 3 years, Keller promised implementation of the DOJ reforms until they stalled so much that he fired his first Chief Michael Geier. It was APD’s excessive use of force and deadly force against the mentally ill that was at the center of the DOJ’s finding of a culture of aggression. Chief Harold Medina has a nefarious past with the use of deadly force against two people suffering from psychotic episodes. The first was when Medina shot and killed a 14 year old child who was having a psychotic episode, went to a westside church for help and armed with a BB gun. Medina had been dispatched to the scene and when the child brandished the BB gun, Medina shot him dead. The second shooting happened years later when then Lieutenant Medina authorized the use of deadly force against a 26 year old veteran suffering from service connected post traumatic stress disorder who held a gun to his head, with APD shooting and killing him. A jury found that the veteran was a danger only to himself and awarded a $10.5 million judgement against the city. During his January 23 webinar interview, Interim chief Harold Medina said he has the “hindsight” to take the department forward. He said “How can you change a culture if you had not lived and been a part of that culture?” With these words, Medina essentially said he was part of the “culture of aggression” that brought the DOJ here in the first place. Anyone who helped create, knew about or did not stop the “culture of aggression” has absolutely no business being Chief of Police. Chief Medina has also blamed the DOJ consent decree for APD’s inability to concentrate on crime.

Along with his appointment of Harold Medina as permanent APD Chief, Mayor Keller also appointed Sylvester Stanley as “Interim Superintendent of Police Reform” in addition to the position of Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (DCAO). In 1982, Sylvester Stanley began his career with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department (BCSO) where he began his career as a patrolman. Over the years, he advanced through the ranks serving as a Detective, Sergeant, and Lieutenant retiring, in 2002, with the rank of Captain. Sylvester Stanley served as Police Chief for the Isleta Police Department from 2018 to 2021. Stanley’s extensive law enforcement background and experience, although impressive as it is, is void of any work or dealing with federal consent decrees and void of any background in constitutional policing practices which are the center piece of the DOJ reforms. Superintendent Stanley has also been given authority over disciplining police officers ostensibly for violations of the DOJ reforms. The police union has objected to Stanley having any authority to discipline asserting that the union contract gives that authority exclusively to the Chief.

APD Chief Harold Medina will not be reporting to Stanley nor Stanley to Medina, but both will be reporting to Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair who will likely be forced to resolve any disputes between the two. Medina and Stanley will essentially be acting like a “CASA Reform Tag Team” who will be reporting to political operative Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Two comments made by Paul Killebrew, Special Counsel for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, are worth repeating because of how revealing they are and just how bad APD has become:

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

“…[W]hat we have is a city that has failed to comply with that court order over and over and over again.”

With these comments, Assistant United States Attorney Paul Killebrew confirmed what many knew what the City, APD and the Police Union have been doing for the last 6 years under 2 Mayors and 3 Police Chiefs. One can only wonder what the Department of Justice (DOJ) has really done over the 6 years with the city spending upwards of $35 million a year on the reform efforts. The DOJ knew what was going on, it was warned repeatedly by the Federal Monitor, and yet the DOJ did absolutely nothing.

Where there is a will to obstruct the CASA reforms, APD and the Police Union always find a way, something now admitted to by the DOJ. By approving the agreed Order to create the EFIT, Federal Judge Browning has given the City and APD one more opportunity to get their act together and get the job done on implementing the reforms. It should be the very last chance.

The very real risk is the parties will continue to flop around like fish out of water accomplishing very little, another year will pass, perhaps a new Mayor will be elected, and the engrained APD culture of resistance to the reforms will continue unabated.

It’s as if APD and its management are once again attempting to run out the clock on another Mayor, this time Mayor Tim Keller and his administration, knowing full well the municipal election is on November 2, 2021 and Keller could be out of office. The EFIT gives incumbent Mayor Tim Keller plausible deniability against the accusation that he has not taken action to implement all the DOJ reforms as he promised 4 years ago when he ran for Mayor.

Truth is Mayor Tim Keller for 3 years has allowed a sore to simply fester when it came to APD’s deliberate attempts to undermine the reform efforts while at the same time trying to lay claim that he has done a great job with APD and all the reforms. Keller has failed to make the sweeping changes to the Albuquerque Police Department, and his promised implementation of the DOJ reforms stalled so much that he fired his first chief. Keller has appointed Harold Medina, who has a nefarious past with the use of deadly force against two people suffering from psychotic episodes, permanent chief.

Keller has also appointed Sylvester Stanley “Interim Superintendent Of Police Reform” to oversee the CASA reform with little disclosure what authority he has over APD. The police union has objected to the announcement that Stanley will be imposing discipline as opposed to the APD Chief asserting that it violates the union contract with the City.

Things have only gotten worse under Keller as has crime in the city. Keller’s smile on his face and grin in his voice is a sharp contrast to the truth of what is happening with APD.

The EFIT must be the very last chance for the city and APD to make the DOJ reforms to work. If APD management, the union and rank and file continue with their efforts of “noncompliance”, not overtly, but in a manner to avoid detection and once again using “agility to avoid the requirements of the CASA”, the Federal Court should say enough is enough and hold the city in contempt of court.

Federal Judge James Browning has scheduled a “status conference” on the case for April 15. It will be the very first hearing since Mayor Tim Keller appointed Harold Medina as the permanent APD Chief and Sylvester Stanly as “Interim Superintendent Of Police Reform”.

The April 15 status conference will be held via Zoom Video/Web Conferencing. The December, 2020 status conference hearing had upwards of 150 attendees. It is hoped that during the April 15 Status Conference, the public will learn how much progress has been made in creating the EFIT and if and when it will begin to train APD and commence investigating use of force cases by APD officers. The extent of authority and control Interim Superintendent of Police Reform Sylvester Stanly will have over the EFIT should be elaborated on and discussed.

If the EFIT is not successful, the Court should order the Federal Monitor to take over APD’s Internal Affairs Unit and the use of force investigations. In the event that the EFIT fails, which is more likely than not, Federal Monitor James Ginger needs to be given full authority over Internal Affairs personnel to the extent of being given direct management and control to issue orders and commands as to how use of force investigations are to be conducted.

Then and only then will full compliance with the reforms be achieved.

Governor Lujan Grisham Signs Legalization Of Cannabis Act Making NM 18th State Legalizing; Details On Permits, License Fees, Taxation And A New Industry

On April 12, Governor Michell Lujan Grisham signed into law Special Session House Bill 2 enacted during the 2 day Special Session making New Mexico the 18 state to legalized marijuana. The law will go into effect in April 2022. Until then licensing and regulations will be formulated. House Bill 2 is a 178-page bill. It creates a Cannabis Control Division under the New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department that will license, regulate and tax the new industry.

A link to the entire bill is here:

https://www.nmlegis.gov/Sessions/21%20Special/bills/house/HB0002.pdf

KRQE NEWS 13 REPORT

On April 13, KRQE News 13 posted a detailed summation story written by reporter Curtis Segarra on its web page. The report is entitled “Recreational Marijuana: What you need to know in 10 numbers”.

Following is the report along with the link:

“21 Years

The legal age to purchase, possess, and use cannabis under the new law is 21. Additionally, to work in the emerging cannabis industry, you must be 21 or older. But lawmakers are aware that younger adults may try to acquire and use marijuana. So, the bill includes guidelines for restricting access to children and underage adults.

2 Ounces

The maximum amount of cannabis you can purchase at one time is two ounces (57 grams) of cannabis, 16 grams of extract, and 800 milligrams (mg) of edible cannabis, according to the law. How many joints can you get out of two ounces? It depends on who you ask, but a 2010 study estimated the average joint had about 0.66 grams of marijuana, meaning two ounces could make about 80 joints.

These same purchase limits act as the maximum amount you can possess outside your home. The bill does let you keep more than that inside your home, but it has to be hidden from public view. Violating the rules can bring either a misdemeanor or fourth-degree felony charge, depending on how much cannabis you possess over the legal limit.

Zero-tolerance

Workplaces are still allowed to prohibit cannabis use and have the right to maintain a zero-tolerance policy in the workplace. Additionally, private property owners can prohibit you from smoking on their property.

9-1-2021

The law requires that the “Cannabis Regulatory Advisory Committee” comes into existence no later than September 1, 2021. This committee will help create rules related to cannabis. The committee is also supposed to promote “economic and cultural diversity,” meaning that lawmakers want to ensure that all communities across New Mexico have a chance to participate in the growing cannabis industry.

“We are ensuring that people from all walks of life, without having to have access to a lot of capital, can enter this new industry,” Rep. Javier Martínez said during a March 31 senate meeting. Martínez helped introduce the bill.

12 Sectors

The law outlines 12 key parts of the cannabis supply chain that will need a permit to conduct business. They are: 1. Cannabis consumption areas (think: smoking lounges); 2. Couriers and transporters; 3. Manufacturers; 4. Microbusinesses; 5. Producers (growers or wholesalers); 6. Research Labs; 7. Retailers; 8. Servers; 9. Testing labs; 10. Cannabis training and education programs; 11. Cannabis microbusinesses with multiple roles (such as growing and serving); 12. Vertically integrated businesses (with multiple roles, such as manufacture, transport, and retail).

6 Plants FOR HOME

Beginning 90 days after the Governor signs the bill, adults age 21 and over can keep up to six mature and six immature plants in their home, according to the law. This is a per-person maximum. So if you live with other people, you can have more plants. But the maximum number of plants allowed in a home — no matter how many people live there — is 12 mature plants. Violate that and you can be slapped with a fourth degree felony. And yes, if you move, you can take your plants with you.

$50 CIVIL PENALTY

You can’t smoke marijuana in public, except in licensed cannabis consumption areas. A first offense will likely set you back $50 as a civil penalty. But if you’re under 18 and caught smoking marijuana illegally, you aren’t required to pay a fine, according to the law.

4 Hours OF DRUG EDUCATION

Individuals under the age of 18 caught intentionally producing cannabis are subject to either a 4-hour drug education and legal rights program or four hours of community service. Adults over 18 but under 21 who grow marijuana plants may be subject to anywhere from a $50 fine up to a fourth degree felony, depending on how many plants they produce.

10%-25% of Cultivation

Lawmakers included measures to prevent the growing recreational industry from causing a shortage of medical marijuana. The law allows the cannabis control division of the NM Regulation & Licensing Department to force all cannabis establishments to reserve at least 10% of their cannabis for sale to medical users if necessary. But the bill states that the cannabis control division can’t require businesses to keep more than 25% of their stock as medical-only reserves
.
12% Tax

Under the law, cannabis retailers are subject to a “cannabis excise tax” that starts at 12% and will eventually increase to 18% by 2030. This is applied to the price paid for the product. But this tax doesn’t apply to medical marijuana sales.”

The link to the KRQE News report is here:

https://www.krqe.com/news/marijuana/recreational-marijuana-what-you-need-to-know-in-10-numbers/

A link to a related KOAT-TV news article is here:

https://www.koat.com/article/new-mexico-becomes-latest-state-to-legalize-recreational-marijuana/36098536

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

Other major highlights of the new law include:

People who have been convicted of possessing it for personal use will have their criminal record expunged.

Cannabis establishments could also offer on-site consumption in certain circumstances.

Households would be permitted to grow up to 12 mature plants for personal use.

Local jurisdictions, city and counties, cannot opt out of commercial sales, but can establish restrictions on operating hours and locations. The legislation give local governments some authority to determine where cannabis dispensaries can be located.

The state’s counties will not have the authority to be able to prohibit cannabis sales nor prohibit the licensing of stores. In other words, local zoning rules would have been able to be used to control the number of stores in an area where they the stores could be located. This is identical to zoning restrictions placed on retail stores that sell pornography.

The sponsors of the legislation are Rep. Javier Martinez, Rep. Andrea Romero, Rep. Debbie Armstrong, Sen. Linda Lopez, Sen. Katy Duhigg and Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino.

CANNABIS CONTROL DIVISION

On April 13, KRQE News 13 published a seperate report on the Cannabis Control Division of New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department. The report was written by reporter Curtis Segarra and posted on the KRQE web page. Following is an edited version of the article with the link at the end:

“The Cannabis Control Division falls under the New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department and will be in charge of regulating and licensing cannabis across the state.

The divisions website lays out the timeline and fees New Mexicans can expect if they wish to apply for cannabis-related permits. These range from $35 cannabis server permits up to $7,500-per-year licenses for cannabis establishments that hope to engage in multiple roles, such as growing, transporting, and selling.

Link to Cannabis Control Division website is here:

http://rld.state.nm.us/Default.aspx?aspxerrorpath=/cannabis-control-division.aspx

Link to timeline is here:

http://rld.state.nm.us/important-dates.aspx

The website is now live, but the Cannabis Control Division is not fully operational yet.

[Even though] … Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham [ signed the act on April 12] … it won’t go into effect until June 29, according to the Regulation and Licensing Department. After that date, it’s not clear when the division will begin accepting cannabis license applications.

The Cannabis Regulation Act requires that the Cannabis Control Division begins processing permits for cannabis producers, microbusinesses, and licensed medical cannabis producers no later than September 1, 2021.

New Mexicans interested in obtaining a cannabis server permit may have to wait even longer. The Cannabis Control Division has until January of 2022 to issue server permits and begin accepting all application types.

Permit or License Type

Cannabis Server, Up to $35 for 3-year permit fee for First Permit

Plant Cultivation, Up to $50 per plant
(does not apply to microbusinesses) Up to $1,000 per year for First Permit

Cannabis Producer Microbusiness, $1,500 per year, for first permit
Cannabis Courier, Up to $2,500 per year, for first permit
Cannabis Consumption Area, Up to $2,500 per year for first permit
Integrated Cannabis Microbusiness, $2,500 per year for first permit
Cannabis Manufacturer or Producer, $2,500 per year for first permit
Cannabis Research Lab, $2,500 per year for first permit
Cannabis Retailer, $2,500 per year for first permit
Cannabis Testing Lab, $2,500 per year for first permit
Vertically Integrated Cannabis Establishment, $7,500 per year for first permit

Cannabis Training and Education Program, fees to be announced.”

https://www.krqe.com/news/marijuana/who-will-regulate-marijuana-in-new-mexico/?ipid=related-trending

EXPUNGEMENT OF MARIJUANA CONVICTIONS

The Governor also signed Special Session Senate Bill 2 that will wipe certain cannabis-related convictions off New Mexicans’ criminal records. The Senate voted 23-13 along party lines to pass the legislation with majority Democrats voting in favor and Republican’s casting “no” votes. Senate Bill 2 also cleared the House on a 41-28 vote.

The expungement of records legislation is a companion measure to separate legislation that would legalize possession of up to 2 ounces of cannabis outside the home. The approved legislation orders the expungement of criminal records for marijuana-related offenses that would fall under the separately proposed cannabis legalization law. It also authorizes the release of New Mexicans jailed for minor cannabis-related offenses, though it is unclear exactly how many inmates might be freed.

The burden for reviewing criminal records for expungement eligibility will fall largely under the Department of Public Safety and the state’s court system. Department of Corrections spokesman Eric Harrison said that just 50 inmates at state prisons were incarcerated on charges that included marijuana possession, but none of them was in custody solely because of pot possession.

https://www.abqjournal.com/2375454/cannabis-expungement-bill-gets-senate-approval.html

NEW INDUSTRY BENEFTING ECONOMY

New Mexico already has a marijuana decriminalization law on its books. Last year, Governor Lujan Grisham signed into law a bill that made possession of up to a half-ounce of cannabis a civil offense punishable with a $50 fine. The governor and other supporters say legalization is still necessary, arguing it would generate tax dollars that could be used on public safety programs.

There are 17 other states that have now legalized recreational marijuana. The states of Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota approved cannabis legalization measures in the November 3 general Presidential election. On March 31, the state of New York legalized recreational cannabis. Mississippi has approved the creation of a medical marijuana program.

The Arizona passage gave urgency to the passing similar legislation in New Mexico to take advantage of the emerging market and demand. Governor Lujan Grisham and other supporters say legalization is still necessary, arguing it would generate tax dollars that could be used on public safety programs.

Duke Rodriguez, president and CEO of Ultra Health, New Mexico’s largest medical marijuana company told lawmakers during legislative committee hearings that they need to think broadly about the future of New Mexico’s marijuana industry. According to Rodriquez, New Mexico will be “a production juggernaut” and a magnet for tourists and cannabis patients from Texas, despite federal prohibitions against transporting cannabis across state lines.

Advocates of recreational legalization argue it will generate at least 13,000 jobs and millions of dollars for the economy. Rodriguez, also told lawmakers that legalizing recreational marijuana will generate up to $800 million a year, a $200 million increase from the last years estimate of $600 million. Rodriguez had this to say:

“It’s going to change New Mexico and ways we can’t imagine. … I think we will be a powerhouse, not only within the state, but we have the potential of being a powerhouse not only in this country, but you’d be surprised, we have the ability to also compete internationally.”

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/recreational-marijuana-could-generate-up-to-800-million-a-year-according-to-new-estimates/5921047/?utm_medium=onsite&utm_campaign=thumbnails&utm_source=zetaglobal

EMERGING INDUSTRY

For the last five years, a firm known as “SeedCrest” has been developing the software and tools to help educate people on the intricacies of the medical cannabis industry. They have what’s called Core Compliance Training with a developed core curriculum. The training covers topics like policy, ethics, and HIPPA, and will soon expand past the medical industry into recreational use.

SeedCrest has been working with the business community on what to expect now that adult use will be legal. It offers a course called “A Guide to Preparing Employers for Legalization in New Mexico.” One of the biggest concerns about the new law is figuring out how to ensure a drug-free workplace.

SeedCrest CEO and founder Shanon Jaramillo had this to say:

“We know that cannabis metabolizes in our fat cells and so it really, if we could test through saliva and blood— that is the best way. Real-time testing has not come to the surface yet. It’s going to be an issue that the Department of Public Safety will have to tackle through training and guidance, so this is where education about the plant and how it affects the mind and body comes in the most. Because if we can understand that, we can create non-discriminatory practices around that and still mitigate the risks.”

Links to source material quoted are here:

https://seedcrest.io/

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/seedcrest-launches-course-to-prepare-new-mexico-businesses-for-recreational-marijuana-/6073308/?cat=500

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

The United States “war on drugs” dates all the way back to President Richard Nixon in the 1970’s and billions spent on law enforcement, many imprisoned and lives taken. Truth is, the war aon drugs when it comes to marijuana has been a total failure. With state after state legalizing recreational use of marijuana, it is long overdue for the federal government to remove it as a schedule one drug and legalize its use on a national level.

After many years of debate and past efforts to legalize recreational marijuana, its passage was long overdue in New Mexico. The enacted legislation was well thought out and takes the approach of legalize, regulate and tax.

The sale of medical cannabis has been an emerging industry for at least 6 years in New Mexico. There is little doubt that recreational cannabus will add to the industry

Links to related stories are here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2379394/governor-signs-special-session-cannabis-legalization-bill.html

Neighborhood Protests Erupt After Mayor Keller Announces Gibson Medical Facility For Gateway Homeless Shelter; Area Residents Say Keller Gave Them “Middle Finger” When They Asked To Give Input After $15 Million Purchase

On Tuesday, April 6, Mayor Tim Keller held a press conference in front of the Gibson Medical Center to officially announce the city has bought the massive complex and will transform it into a Gateway Center for the homeless. In making the announcement, Keller had this to say:

“The City of Albuquerque has officially bought the Gibson Medical Center, the cornerstone of our Gateway Center network. In total, this represents the largest capital investment that Albuquerque has ever made for the unhoused. We have roughly 5,000 homeless people.

This challenge [of homelessness] is huge. And we know this challenge has gotten way worse during the pandemic. For us, this is about actually doing something. Not just talking about it, not just discussing it, not just harping about the details. This is about action. … This is never meant to be permanent. It’s meant to be a gateway to services that can then lead to people enabling and changing their lives.

It depends how you count them, it depends what you call them, unhoused, homeless, unsheltered, folks in need. At the end of the day, we know we need at least 500 more beds and that’s even more than this whole facility can handle. … .”

We also know that our administration believes in experimenting … We’re going to experiment and find out what works best over time.

“And so really what we’re looking at here is to move past this question of where … No matter how you feel about it, we’ve answered that question.”

Keller was asked about funding and had this to say:

“So we’re going to work with our partners, so the Healthcare for the Homeless, HopeWorks, Heading Home and others, Barrett House, and also a lot of the faith based community … Out of that $21 million, you just subtract the $15 million for the purchase price, and that’s what’s on the table for everything that you mentioned, including community supports and services, fencing, all of the different things that we may need. And that’s really the goal of the summer and the fall.

When asked for a breakdown of the funding sources, Keller said:

“That’s a good , there’s a lot of [sources]. A million from the County, $14 million from the voters and city council, the state totals we’re still totaling up. So we’ll say probably a hair under a million, I think when we add it all up from the state. We also got some money from the Governor, I think it was $900,000 two years ago in that session, and so those are roughly the streams that we’re looking at. But I would mention there’s also flexible stimulus money that we got at the city and county level, so that’s another thing we may use that may be more for programming. And then there’s also half a million from those companies I mentioned, PNM and New Mexico Mutual and others.

Yes and of course for operating remember, from a budget perspective we have to fully fund operations, and so we put in $4.7 million to operate the facility. But what you don’t see in the budget is that’s offset by the revenue we get. So there’s about $1.9 million in revenue. So again, we’ll look at this as a facility to eventually, we hope, to almost break even, once we get all the leases out. So that’s what this has the potential for, which is awesome. But those are different accounts, so you have to sort of budget for it, and then that gets reimbursed with the lease income.

The link to the Keller April 6 press conference is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RvhP7JPZEU

During the April 6 news conference, Keller said the facility is already home to some behavioral health services, will be an “experiment” in how best to help hundreds of Albuquerque’s homeless population.

The Homeless Coordinating Council, which has representation from city, county and behavioral health representatives has said it is necessary to move forward with the project. For the past 6 months, a working group has been meeting regularly with the goal to reach a collective decision on how best to tackle both the city and county’s homeless problem. According to Keller, the City, Bernalillo County Commission, the University of New Mexico Hospital along with homeless service providers are pursuing other strategies to serve the upwards of 5,000 persons a year who are homeless in the city and county each year.

According to city officials, Gibson complex will be a new place to stay for the homeless in the area. Currently, the city uses the old West Side jail as a Homeless Shelter and issues vouchers to use area hotels for some homeless. The city intends to use the Gibson complex for homeless in other areas of the city such as downtown and Nob Hill and plan to use the Community Support Shuttle to transport them.

On Tuesday, April 13, the Bernalillo County Commission will be voting on contributing $1 million to the purchase and renovations for the Gateway Center. The mayor did not give an exact date when the Gateway Center would open. In the 2021-2022 proposed budget, it will cost nearly $5 million per year to run.

The State of New Mexico has been leasing the Gibson Medical Facility for $8.6 million a year as an overflow hospital for COVID-19 patients. Keller’s decision to transition the Gibson Medical Center Complex into homeless housing comes nearly 2 years after Keller campaigned for and voters approved $14 million for a 24/7 homeless center.

https://www.krqe.com/news/albuquerque-metro/albuquerque-leaders-to-provide-update-on-gibson-medical-center/

OPPOSITION EMERGES

After his April 6 press conference, Mayor Keller came under severe criticism for his failure to reach a consensus and take community input before the Gibson Medical Center was purchased. Keller said he plans to confer with residents in the future. However, Keller made it clear either way, like it or not, the site has now been selected and the Gibson Medical facility will be used to service the homeless population as a Gateway Center.

Residents who live in the area say it will only cause more problems for them. in the area. Tony Lopez, a resident of nearby Siesta Hills neighborhood had this to say:

“I just don’t think it was fair that it was thrown onto us without getting any input or allowing us to hear about it or allowing us to say something about it. It’s really frustrating for us because we already have an issue here at the present moment and they’ve got to find a better place which is away from neighborhoods.”

Other residents think the facility should be used on a smaller scale to service a few dozen women and children, rather than a few hundred people. The biggest worry is that the Gibson facility will in fact be converted to “mega-shelter” as was originally proposed by Keller and that it will impact the neighborhood.

Tamaya Toulouse, who also lives in the Siesta Hills neighborhood had this to say:

“There’s a lot of people that say, ‘not in my backyard’ but can say, ‘yes we need homeless help.’ The problem comes when the mayor put out the survey asking residents where should this go, what are the services we need, what are the qualifications. … If we’re going to house and train and help the homeless, it has to be in a responsible way with an actual plan and that’s what we’re asking for. A plan that has community input that they actually have to take into account.”

PROTESTS ERRUPT AFTER KELLER GIVES NEIGHBORHOODS “MIDDLE FINGER”

City representatives said community engagement is key to the success of the project. However, Mayor Keller and the city reached out to every neighborhood association in the area only after securing the Gibson Medical Facility. One result of the after the fact purchase outreach was protests.

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/protesters-upset-with-citys-plan-to-move-forward-with-gateway-center-in-se-albuquerque/6069693/?cat=500

On Friday, April 9, neighbors who feel they have been ignored and overlooked in the planning process and being asked to shoulder too big of a burden protested near the site. Some held signs with the messages:

“NO INPUT, NO INFO, NO FAITH IN GATEWAY”
“KELLER LIES ABOUT SIZE”
“I VOTED FOR A SUBSTATION AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY MEGA SHELTER”
“KELLER NEVER ASKED US”
“GATEWAY = KELLER’S ART”
“KELLER NEVER ASKED US”
“MAYOR KELLER, NO MORE DISRESPECT”

Some of the protesters said they’re okay with services to help the homeless and housing families and children. They want far more communication and input with the city to find a way to work together and in particular want a smaller shelter.

Area resident Dee Whitefield put it this way:

“I thought that’s what Mayor Keller was going to do. He said there’s going to be small shelters, and I thought ‘great, that’ll be manageable, we’ll have services here.”

Those who live nearby said they had been ignored for years and felt the need to speak out. Those who live in the neighborhoods nearby agree they want to help the homeless, but not like this.

Tony Johnson, who lives near the Gibson complex said he’s experienced homelessness himself, and had this to say:

“You’re not going to do that in our backyard, the way you wanna do it. … You need to talk to us first. I know what it is, but you’re not going to do something over here 24/7 and continue to affect our children and our schools and our community”.

Area resident Ivan Wiener, who participated in the protest said:

“I think there’s definitely middle ground, we have already told the city that we agree with people needing services, but it can’t be more than 50 to 70 beds in this place.”

Tamaya Toulouse who also lives near the Gibson complex, said she supports the city offering housing. However, she, and others, don’t trust the city to keep its promises, especially after spending decades revitalizing their neighborhoods.

She had this to say:

“If we’ve got 300 behavioral health folks here all day long – during the daytime spilling out into the streets with nowhere to go will further disenfranchise the southeast heights and that’s been going on for four decades too long already.”

Raven Green, who lives in the Elder Homestead Neighborhood had this to say:

“Over the last five or six years, [our area] has declined. It’s become unsafe. The crime is rampant.”

Toulouse and Green both say the Gibson Medical Center does not fit the certain criteria announced for the Gateway project, including walkability, access to employment, and a central location. Toulouse said:

“What does it need to have to be effective? Good transportation lines that Gibson line for buses is not anywhere in the middle of the city. “

Raven Green added:

“It’s concerning for everyone and people that live here, and the people that are going to be putting themselves in a vulnerable position going to the city, to try and get help.”

Vera Watson, a resident of nearby Parkland Hills neighborhood, said the city has too big of a concentration of social services in Southeast Albuquerque. Watson believes it contributes to crime. Watson said she voted for the bond question that generated $14 million for the Gateway Center and that she supports additional services for people who are homeless. However, she feels the city has neglected the surrounding neighborhoods while advancing the project. Watson said bluntly:

“I just think the mayor gave us his middle finger”.

According to one city official, the city has only now invited citizen input and will engage Gibson-area residents specifically. The city has already begun trying to schedule neighborhood meetings for late April.

CONDITIONAL USE APPLICATION REQUIRED

The zoning for the Gibson Medical Center facility does allow an overnight shelter but only as a “conditional use,” something the city can, and probability will need to pursue by application. The City could decide to unilaterally fill the facility with the original 300 beds as proposed for the original 24 – 7 homeless shelter facility and make the application. The facility has a 201-bed capacity, but remodeling could likely increase capacity significantly to at least 300 beds as was originally envisioned for the Gateway center.

It is the City of Albuquerque Planning and Zoning Department that enforces the City’s Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO). The Planning Department has within it a Zoning Hearing Examiner (ZHE) filing and adjudication process. The Zoning Hearing Examiner conducts monthly quasi-judicial public hearings regarding special exceptions to the Integrated Development Ordinance. Once application for a zone change or special use is made, the city must give notice to all surrounding neighborhood associations, residents and business owners and conduct hearings.

The Zoning Hearing Officer makes the decision to approve or disapprove the conditional use. The decision of the Zoning Officer can be appealed to “Land Use Planning, and Zoning Committee” (LUPZ). The LUPZ is a committee of 5 made up of city residents appointed by the Mayor who volunteer their time. Their decisions are subject to appeal to the City Council.

A “special exception” allows a property to be developed and used in a way that is different from what the zoning of the property allows. Special exceptions include variances, conditional uses, and expansions of nonconforming uses or structures. After a special exception application is filed, all interested parties, surrounding neighborhoods and businesses must be given the opportunity to participate in a public hearing. All requests are given formal hearings. The Zoning Hearing Examiner will render a determination of approval, approval with conditions, or denial within 15 days after the close of the public hearing. Determinations can be appealed to City Council through the Land Use Hearing Officer.

The City’s “Comprehensive City Zoning Code defines CONDITIONAL USE as follows:

“One of those uses enumerated as conditional uses in a given zone. Such uses require individual approval on a given lot.

It is the burden of the applicant to ensure that there is such evidence in the record. The city can approve a conditional use only if the evidence presented to the record shows that the proposed use meets the following criteria:

(a) Will not be injurious to the adjacent property, the neighborhood, or the community;

(b) Will not be significantly damaged by surrounding structures or activities.”

https://www.cabq.gov/planning/documents/ZHEConditionalUse.pdf

“Conditional use” zoning often generates controversy and oppositions and require a public hearing. Conditional uses are granted only if there are no significant adverse impacts to surrounding areas, but immediate and irreparable harm is difficult to prove before a development or zone change is adopted.

KELLER ABANDONS SINGLE GATEWAY CENTER CONCEPT

It was on Wednesday, May 7, 2020, Mayor Tim Keller said that the city was abandoning the development concept of a single, 300-bed homeless shelter. The city owned shelter was intended to assist an estimated 300 homeless residents and connect them to other services intended to help secure permanent housing. The new facility would have served all populations of men, women, and families. Further, the city wanted to provide a place anyone could go regardless of gender, religious affiliation, sobriety, addictions, psychotic condition or other factors.

In his May 7 announcement, Keller said the city would be proceeding with a “multi-site approach” to the city’s homelessness crisis. Mayor Tim Keller went so far as to state that the 300 bed Gateway Center was “off the table”. Keller said the corona virus crisis has highlighted the need for an alternative to the city’s existing shelter, which is the former jail 20 miles from downtown. :

The link to the press conference is here:

https://www.facebook.com/MayorKeller/videos/290814465247439/UzpfSTEwNTQ4MTY4OTY6MTAyMjAwNDA5NDYxMDgwMTQ/

MULTI-SITE APPROACH

When the city abandoned plans to build one large homeless shelter, city officials said the new multi-site approach could mean a series of “smaller facilities” throughout the community. Ostensibly, there would be no single resource hub in one large facility as was originally proposed with the 300 bed Gateway Center.

City Family and Community Services Director Carol Pierce offered insight into what the city means when it refers to small shelters and had this to say:

“We’re often talking 100 to 150 beds of emergency shelter that could be defined as a smaller shelter.”

City officials have also said the tentative strategy includes 150 to 175 standard shelter beds to accommodate men, women and families, plus 25 to 50 medical recovery beds.
Critics are saying 150-175 beds is way too big.

Siesta Hills neighborhood resident Anne White said she’s also concerned about making Gibson a 24/7 operation and the activity that could generate. She said she is hopeful the city will reconsider putting such a large operation in Southeast Albuquerque and said:

“We feel there are plenty of other spaces [available to do this]”

CITY BUYS LOVELACE HOSPITAL COMPLEX ON GIBSON

In an attempt to buy the first Gateway location, the city made an offer to buy the former Lovelace hospital on Gibson Boulevard in Southeast Albuquerque for $13 million. On February 18, 2021 it was reported that the Keller Administration agreed to pay another $2 million to buy the former Lovelace hospital for its long-awaited Gateway Center. The settlement raised the total purchase price to $15 million and resolved the city’s involvement with the litigation over the property’s ownership.

The link to the news story reporting on the settlement is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2360797/city-settles-lawsuit-over-old-lovelace-hospital.html

MASSIVE COMPLEX NOW KNOW AS GIBSON MEDICAL CENTER

It was in 2007 Lovelace Medical Center closed down. It was later purchased by local private investors . The complex was renamed the Gibson Medical Center. The facility is a 529,000-square-foot building and upwards of 50% of it is said to be vacant. According to one news report, an estimated $10 million in upgrades in the Hospital Complex, including remodeling for specific tenants, improving common areas and the parking lot and installing a 540-ton cooling unit out back were made by investor owners. Parts of the building date back to 1950 and as a result the need for any asbestos remediation is subject to speculation and has not been reported on by the news media.

https://www.abqjournal.com/774956/medical-center-at-old-lovelace-hospital-might-expand-to-other-uses.html

Current tenants include 5 drug rehabilitation and counseling services and 1 kidney dialysis firm. The 6 tenants are:

TURQUOISE LODGE HOSPITAL (New Mexico Health Department)

Turquoise Lodge hospital provides substance abuse treatment services to New Mexico residents. It specializes in medical detoxification, social rehabilitation services, and Intensive Outpatient services. Priority patients for services include pregnant injecting drug users, pregnant substance abusers, other injecting drug users, women with dependent children, and women and men seeking to regain custody of their children.

https://www.nmhealth.org/about/ofm/ltcf/tlh/

SHADOW MOUNTAIN RECOVERY CENTER

Shadow Mountain Intensive Outpatient Treatment Center is an addiction treatment program. Patients participate in a 12-Step Alternative program with additional psychotherapy, depending on their personal needs. Each individual’s treatment is tailored to promote long-lasting recovery. It provides safe, effective treatment solutions for those struggling with addiction, prescription pill dependency, and substance abuse; with and without co-occurring mental health disorders. It provides tools that build a foundation of lifelong sobriety. Its programs are built utilizing evidence-based treatment modalities and compassionate professionals who are invested in their patients.

https://www.shadowmountainrecovery.com/albuquerque/

HAVEN OF ALBUQUERQUE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH HOSPITAL

Haven Behavioral Hospital of Albuquerque is an inpatient program designed to provide intensive, highly structured treatment for mental illness, mood disorders and substance abuse issues in a safe, controlled environment. It treat adults age 18 and over who are struggling with issues such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, personality disorders and many other illnesses. Our addiction treatment services include alcohol abuse, illegal drug addiction and prescription drug abuse. Patients admitted to Haven Behavioral Hospital of Albuquerque receive 24-hour supervised treatment and support for mental health conditions and substance abuse. Mental illness and addiction often go hand in hand, so it offers treatment for dual diagnosis and co-occurring conditions simultaneously.

https://www.havenalbuquerque.com/programs/inpatient/

AMG SPECIALTY HOSPITAL

AMG Specialty Hospital is a 25 Bed Long Term Acute Care hospital that specializes in the management of complex medical needs. AMG Specialty Hospital specializes in acute care for complex patients that require extended hospital stays for full recovery. Some of the medical conditions treated include: ventilator weaning, respiratory failure, chronic non-healing wounds, complicated infections, surgical complications, cardiac complications, nutritional management, closed-head injury, rehabilitation with complications, and other medically complex patients.

https://www.facebook.com/AMG-Specialty-Hospital-Albuquerque-409481249088670/

STATE OF NEW MEXICO DIVISION OF VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION (NMDVR)

The purpose of the NMDVR is to help people with disabilities achieve a suitable employment outcome aimed at helping individuals over age 16 with disabilities secure and retain employment that is in line with their abilities and interests. . Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a State and Federally funded program designed to help eligible individuals with documented disabilities find suitable employment. VR is a voluntary program, and services persons who want to work. With a long history of success and proven methodology for making the best fits, time and again, DVR is committed to helping out clients succeed. In addition, we partner with companies and agencies seeking opportunities to enhance and diversify their workforce.

https://sharenm.org/nm-division-of-vocational-rehabilitation-dvr

FRESENIUS KINDNEY CARE

Fresenius Kidney Care offers dialysis treatment, resources, recipes and support for individuals living with chronic kidney disease.
https://www.freseniuskidneycare.com/

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

When it comes to city projects and programs, the term “NIMBY” stands for “Not In My Back Yard”. It describes opposition to proposed projects by home owners, property owners, and business owners. Three of the biggest issues that generate public outcry are the location of methadone clinics, homeless shelters and adult amusement businesses. Mayor Keller’s desire to build a 24-hour, 7 day a week city built and run homeless shelter is a case of NIMBY, but it is a problem he actually created and brought upon himself.

The Gibson Medical Center is a massive complex of well over half a million square feet. It not only includes a hospital bed capacity of 200 beds but has operating rooms, waiting areas, lab areas, treatment area and offices that can be easily converted into more bed capacity. The facility also has a lecture auditorium.

Many who reside in the surrounding neighborhoods of the Gibson Medical Center have said they supported and voted for the $15 million bonds to build the Gateway center and fully agree that the city should provide more services to the homeless. The biggest worry is that the Gibson facility will in fact be converted to “mega-shelter” as was originally proposed by Keller and what he wanted and it will impact the neighborhood if that happens.

THERE ARE 3 OPTIONS

Neighborhood residents now feel betrayed by Mayor Tim Keller. Had Keller reached out to the neighborhoods before the city bought the property, its likely things could have been worked out with them. Area residents have every right to think the facility should be used on a smaller scale to service a few dozen women and children, rather than a few hundred people and it’s a concession the city should make.

Area residents are now faced with 3 options:

1. Aggressively oppose any attempt by the Keller Administration to secure a conditional use for the Gibson complex from the Zoning Hearing Officer, appeal the decision approving the conditional use by the hearing officer to “Land Use Planning, and Zoning Committee” (LUPZ) and appeal that decision to the Albuquerque City Council if need be to stop the conditional use.

2. Go to court and seek injunctive relief or try to have the facility declared a nuisance that poises and immediate threat to health and safety and reduces property values.

3. Seek mediation and negotiate a stipulated written agreement on long term use of the Gibson facility. With this third option, Keller could conceivably salvage what’s left of his credibility with the surrounding neighborhoods. Mediation would require Keller to meet with the neighborhood stake holders in a binding mediation conference to discuss what concessions he and the city are willing to make to satisfy their legitimate concerns in exchange for their agreement to approve and support the project. The City and the neighborhood representatives would enter into a formal stipulated written agreement to avoid litigation.

Such stipulated agreements at one time were very common when the Safe City Strike Force existed to deal with nuisance properties that were magnets for crime and abatement actions taken against property owners by the city.

CONCLUSION

Mayor Tim Keller is now perceived as mishandling the site selection process for the shelter, especially with his press conference where he essentially gloats and says the location has been decided upon, end of discussion, to bad, so sad, so get over it. Keller failed to build true consensus on what the city should do and where the shelter should go. It was sure arrogance and his penchant for news coverage on the part of Mayor Keller when he said “[We are] past this question of where … No matter how you feel about it, we’ve answered that question.” It was arrogance not to seek out and listen to those who will have to deal with his legacy project long after he is gone. Keller may be gone in 8 months if he loses his reelection bid or maybe in 4 years if he wins another term assuming he does not leave mid term as he has done twice before as a State Senator and then as State Auditor.

Many issues are beginning to come into focus for the 2021 Mayor’s race where Tim Keller has already made it known that he is running for a second term. Those issues include increased high violent high crime rates, failure to increase APD sworn to 1,200 as promised, failure to implement community policing, failure to implement Department of Justice consent decree reforms, increasing taxes without voter approval, reduced city services, the Mayor’s managing of the city’s response to corona virus and the city’s nonexistent economic development efforts.

Mayor Tim Keller has now added the location of the 24-7 city homeless shelter to the list of the many other issues that will divide large segments of the city and that may deprive him of a second term. Too bad. The Gateway Center is very much needed project, but Keller’s failure to listen has now jeopardize a worthwhile project.

Links to all quoted news reports and source material are here:

https://www.krqe.com/news/protests/neighbors-protest-proposed-gateway-center-on-gibson/

https://www.koat.com/article/youre-not-going-to-do-that-in-our-backyard-community-members-protest-gibson-medical-center-as-new-homeless-shelter/36082242

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/protesters-upset-with-citys-plan-to-move-forward-with-gateway-center-in-se-albuquerque/6069693/?cat=500

https://www.abqjournal.com/2378746/neighbors-object-to-gateway-space-for-homeless-people.html

https://www.abqjournal.com/1527950/city-official-smaller-shelter-means-100-150-beds.html

https://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/news/2021/04/07/gibson-medical-center-sold-abq.html#:~:text=Albuquerque%20Mayor%20Tim%20Keller%20announced,5%2C000%20homeless%20people%20in%20Albuquerque.

https://www.cabq.gov/mayor/news/city-of-albuquerque-acquires-gibson-medical-center-cornerstone-of-gateway-shelter-network

Abq Journal Guest Column: “Abq Needs Choices for Mayor, Not lesser of 2 Evils”

On April 9, the Albuquerque Journal published the following guest column:

“Abq Needs Choices for Mayor, Not lesser of 2 Evils”

BY PETE DINELLI / FORMER PROSECUTOR, ALBUQUERQUE CITY COUNCILOR AND CHIEF PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICER
Friday, April 9th, 2021 at 12:02am

Mayor Tim Keller and Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales have said they are running for mayor. Both are seeking public financing and will likely make the ballot. Voters need at least four more viable candidates for mayor, and time still remains for others.

Mayor Keller

Keller is the front runner because of incumbency. His accomplishments have been less than stellar. The city’s high murder rate is rising even further. There will be more violent crime during the hot summer as people break out of quarantine as things return to normal. Keller has not come close to the change he promised in 2017. After being elected, Keller signed a tax increase after promising not to raise taxes without a public vote. Keller failed to make the sweeping changes to the Albuquerque Police Department, and his promised implementation of the DOJ reforms stalled so much that he fired his first chief. Keller has appointed Harold Medina – who has a nefarious past with the use of deadly force against two people suffering from psychotic episodes – permanent chief. Keller is not even close to reaching the 1,200 sworn police officers promised nor to community-based policing. Keller’s promise to bring down violent crime never materialized and four programs to bring down violent crime have failed. For three years, murders have hit an all-time record, with many still unsolved.

Sheriff Gonzales

Gonzales brings to the table his law enforcement credentials, but that’s it. He is well-known for his opposition to civilian oversight and inability to work with other elected officials, often being at odds with the County Commission and the District Attorney’s Office. As mayor, Manny Gonzales will not listen to nor work with the City Council, let alone respect the Police Oversight Board and the Community Policing Councils. Gonzales is a throwback to the way law enforcement was many years ago before the Black Lives movement. He failed to keep up with the times by implementing constitutional policing practices within BCSO. He opposes many of the DOJ reforms. When Gonzales says, “I answer to the people who voted me into office,” he is saying he answers only to those who support him.

Conclusion

The city is facing any number of problems that are bringing it to its knees. Those problems include the coronavirus pandemic, business closures, high unemployment rates, exceptionally high violent crime and murder rates, continuing mismanagement of the Albuquerque Police Department, failed implementation of the Department of Justice reforms after a full six years and millions spent, declining revenues and gross receipts tax, high unemployment rates, increasing homeless numbers, lack of mental health programs and little economic development.

The city cannot afford another mayor who makes promises and offers only eternal hope for better times that result in broken campaign promises. What is needed is a mayor who actually knows what they are doing, who will make the hard decisions without an eye on the next election, not make decisions only to placate their base and please only those who voted for them. What’s needed is a healthy debate on solutions and new ideas to solve our mutual problems, a debate that can happen only with a contested election. A highly contested race for mayor will reveal solutions to our problems. With Keller and Gonzales, we are faced with voting for the lesser of two evils, or not voting.”

The link to the guest column is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2378302/abq-needs-choices-for-mayor-not-the-lesser-of-two-evils-ex-we-need-healthy-debate-on-solutions-and-new-ideas-to-solve-our-problems.html

Sheriff Gonzales And BCSO Are Just As Hapless As Mayor Keller And APD Handling Crime And Making Disclosures

On January 16, Bernalillo County Sheriff (BCSO) deputies were dispatched to a “down and out” in the Pajarito Mesa, a sprawling area southwest of the city. The deputies found 30-year-old Yahaira Rodriguez dead and a murder victim.

On Sunday, February 21, at approximately 3 a.m. in the morning, 3 vehicles pulled into an empty Albertsons parking lot in the South Valley. Four men got out of the vehicles and began talking. Gunfire soon erupted, leaving Jose Garcia dead and another man shot in the head and arm. Although BCSO did not notify the media or public about Garcia’s homicide more than six weeks ago, it did issue a news release announcing the arrest and booking of Kristopher Gonzalez, 27, on an open count of murder for the killing of Garcia.

On April 8, the Albuquerque Journal reported that BCSO waited until the week of April 5 to report on the 2 homicides that occurred in the county and being investigated by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. Further, the BCSO waited until April to report that the December 2020 death of Francine Gonzales, 36, on the West Side was ruled a homicide after an autopsy in late March.

The link to the full report is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2377985/sheriffs-office-was-mum-on-2021-homicides.html

According to the Journal report, in previous years, including 2020, BCSO regularly sent out email and Twitter alerts when BCSO detectives opened a homicide investigation. BCSO usually gave details on the incident and solicited tips from the public. Until April 7, BCSO had been silent on the 2021 cases, yet increased email and Twitter notifications for warrant roundup operations and “repeat offender” arrests often criticizing the actions of courts for previously releasing the suspects.

BCSO Transparency and Public Information Coordinator Jayme Fuller explained the delay in reporting on the 2 homicides as not always told about homicides, or other incidents, until reporters ask about them and they confirm them with supervisors.

The most troubling fact in the Journal report was glossed over. Buried in the article is the statement:

“Last year, BCSO’s crime statistics were not included in the annual FBI report because the agency didn’t meet the March deadline to report them, and they couldn’t be certified in time.”

The problem is that the yearly FBI statistics are the best measure as to performance measures of BCSO. Further, Bernalillo County and BCSO rely upon those statistics to secure federal grant funding.

MAYOR TIM KELLER AND APD REDACT PERFORMANCE MEASURES

BCSO and Sheriff Manny Gonzales are not the only elected official and law enforcement agency that has failed recently to be transparent when it comes to statistics used to gauge performance. On April 1, 2021, the Keller administration released the 2021-2022 Proposed Operating Budget for the fiscal year that will begin on July 1, 2021 and end June 31, 2022.

When it comes to the Albuquerque Police Department’s (APD), budget, 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.

For purposes of the proposed 2021-2022 budget, the Keller Administration made the decision to “reimagine how the City looks at performance and progress measures for services to the Albuquerque community. To kick off this work, APD is one of six departments piloting this new approach. As such, the performance measures section will look different from the rest of the departments in this document.”

(2022 Proposed APD Budget, page 149, INNOVATION introduction)

The result of the “reimagining” is a total absence of many statics from the previous fiscal years of 2019, 2020 and 2021. Because of the so called “reimagining”, actual performance statistics from previous years are deleted in the proposed budget and only “targeted statistics” for the 2022 fiscal year are provided. “Targeted” statistics or goals are provided but may never materialize.

When you look at the performance measures contained in APD’s budget, what appears is an actual “redacting” of critical statistics that renders the other statistics meaningless. APD is the one city department that is under a Department of Justice Consent decree with a Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) mandating 271 reforms. The CASA mandates 3 performance measures to be audited by a Federal Monitor.

The link to a related blog article entitled “Keller Administration “Redacts” APD’s Performance Measures In 2022 Budget; Gives Lame Excuse Of “Reimagining”; Failure To Disclose Material Facts Is Fraud” is here:

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/04/06/keller-administration-redacts-apds-performance-measures-in-2022-budget-gives-lame-excuse-of-reimagining-failure-to-disclose-material-facts-is-fraud/

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

The April 8 Albuquerque Journal article essentially calls out Sheriff Manny Gonzales for his office’s failure in transparency. To quote the report:

“In a May 2018 Journal candidate questionnaire for his reelection, Sheriff Manuel Gonzales said “providing high level transparency and accountability” was first on his list of “most important action(s)” in his career with BCSO.

“Empowering deputies has enhanced our community outreach and improved communication with citizens,” he said.

Since his reelection, Gonzales – who is contemplating a run for mayor of Albuquerque this year – has regularly emphasized a tough on crime approach in news releases, briefings and interviews but doesn’t often talk about transparency.

“Our community is living in fear as violent crime rises. We need to reform our justice system to keep our streets safe and protect the law-abiding majority,” Gonzales said in a statement in a March email spotlighting the release of a repeat offender”

BCSO’s crime statistics not being included in the annual FBI report was likely no mistake. BCSO Sheriff Manny Gonzales has notified the City Clerk that he is running for Mayor. No doubt Gonzales wants to hide the statistics that show our out-of-control high crime rates are just as bad in the county as in the city.

Sheriff Gonzales and his BCSO are just as hapless in dealing with spiking crime rates as Mayor Keller and APD.