“I Will Not Enforce The Law” Admission Of Negligence By Law Enforcement

On March 8, 2019, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) enacted by the 2019 Legislature which requires background checks for guns sold privately and at gun shows.

Debate on the legislation was hot and heavy, but SB 8 past the Senate on a 22-20 vote and passed the House 42-27 vote.

With the Governor’s signature Senate Bill 8 has now become law effective July 1, 2019.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham also signed Senate Bill 328 which prohibits gun possession by someone who’s subject to an order of protection under the Family Violence Protection Act which prohibits the possession of firearms by domestic abusers.

BAKGROUND CHECK MANDATES OF NEW STATE LAW

Private gun sales will have to go through a federal firearms licensee to do a federal background check.

https://www.krqe.com/news/politics-government/gov-lujan-grisham-signs-gun-background-check-bill-into-law/1836222192

Licensed gun dealers are already required to do federal background checks on gun sales.

The new state law requires a background check before any gun sale, including between two individuals.

There are two exceptions: sales between two close family members and sales between law enforcement officials.

The new legislation plugs a “loophole” that allows two individuals to arrange a sale on their own to avoid a background check.

Under the law passed, people who want to sell a gun they own must arrange for a licensed dealer to do the background check for them before they make the sale.

Licensed gun dealers charge up to $35 for federal background checks.

Supporters argue the background check law will make it more difficult for criminals or others prohibited from having a weapon and obtain a gun.

Opponents argued criminals will ignore the law arguing background checks are nothing more than a financial burden and annoyance to law-abiding gun owners who are exercising their constitutional rights under the Second Amendment and their right to bear arms

Elected sheriff’s across New Mexico strenuously objected to the legislation and mounted a strong lobbying campaign to defeat passage to the point of appearing before the legislative committees in mass, fully uniformed and armed to make their point of disdain for the legislation.

LAW ENFORCEMENT OPPOSITION

Elected County Sheriffs repeatedly spoke out against the gun legislation during legislative committee hearings.

Some elected sheriffs testified that they simply would not enforce the legislation if it became law.

28 of New Mexico’s counties and municipalities in the state have passed “Second Amendment Sanctuary” ordinances in defiance to enacted legislative gun control measures.

Republican House leadership said the law enforcement outcry showed that lawmakers ignored the will of the people, especially those in rural parts of the state.

The Republican House leadership are pursuing a petition to repeal the background check law by way of the rarely used voter referendum process.

https://bearingarms.com/tom-k/2019/03/22/nm-sec-state-rejects-gop-petition-put-gun-control-ballot/

Governor Lujan Grisham last month accused the sheriffs who opposed the new law of being part of a “national misinformation campaign” driven by the National Rifle Association (NRA).

NEW MEXICO CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL ISSUES WARNING

On April 4, 2019, Democrat Attorney General Hector Balderas sent a strongly worded letter of warning to virtually all sheriffs and police chiefs throughout New Mexico telling them that they risk legal liability if they refuse to enforce the new background checks law for gun sales.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1300209/ag-directs-sheriffs-chiefs-to-enforce-gun-law.html

Balderas advised them of their legal obligation to enforce law an its requirements outlined regardless of whether they agree with the legislation.

In his letter, Balderas acknowledged that sheriffs and police chiefs have discretion over how to run their agencies.

However, Balderas reminded the law enforcement command staff that personal political opinions and law enforcement discretion:

“do not absolve us of our duty to enforce validly enacted laws. … As law enforcement officials we do not have the freedom to pick and choose which state laws we enforce. … In short, the taxpayers of your city or county assume the financial risk of your decision to impose your personal views over the law. … [Discretion] cannot subvert the rule of law. All New Mexicans, including public [law enforcement] officials, are equally subject to the law.”

Balderas said a police chief or sheriff who refuses to enforce the law could be held liable if a gun sale results in a prohibited person obtaining a firearm and doing harm.

On April 5, 2019, Democrat Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace, who is also president of the New Mexico Sheriffs’ Association, objected to Attorney General Balderas letter on two grounds:

1. Sherriff Mace felt the letter was premature because the law does not go into effect until July 1, 2019

2. Law enforcement officers have the discretion in how they enforce the law and Deputy Sheriff’s can issue a warning citation without charging.

Sherriff Mace is quoted as saying:

“[Sherriff’s are] elected by the people in our communities and that’s what we’re looking at – what do the people in our communities want?”

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Attorney General Hector Balderas is the chief law enforcement official for the state of New Mexico and the Attorney General chairs the law enforcement board that issues law enforcement certifications to virtually every law enforcement sworn officer in the state.

Attorney General Hector Balderas’ strongly worded letter to all of New Mexico’s law enforcement agencies is a major wake up call and the agencies would be damn fools to ignore it, especially the warning of potential civil liability.

When attorney General Balderas says “the taxpayers of your city or county assume the financial risk of your decision to impose your personal views over the law” what he is referring to is the real possibility of the family’s of victims of crime who have been killed suing a law enforcement agency for negligence or wrongful death when the victim is killed with the use of gun by a person who obtained a gun without a background check.

By law, law enforcement must take reasonable steps to enforce the background checks or run the very real risk of being accused of negligence that contributed to a person being killed.

Any elected Sheriff who proclaims they will not enforce the law will be basically making an “admission against interest” that will no doubt be used in a court of law in a civil action for wrongful death.

The letter sent was in no way “premature” like Sheriff Mace would like everyone to believe.

July 1, 2019 is roughly 10 weeks away, and given the law enforcement’s opposition, all will need time to implement policies and procedures to enforce the law and perhaps they may need training and assistance from the State Law Enforcement Academy.

What would be pathetic is if the elected Sheriff’s just ignore the law-making background checks mandatory and make absolutely no effort to enforce it and not set up policies and procedures to enforce it.

Elected Sheriff’s cannot “pick and choose” the laws they like as AG Balderas correctly points out.

It is downright laughable that Sheriff Mace compares mandatory background checks to issuing a warning citation without charging after pulling over a speeding driver.

You cannot instruct law enforcement to use “warning citations” with the intent to subvert the law.

Imagine the scenario if a speeding driver is in fact drunk, given a warning, and then drives off speeding, and gets into an accident killing someone.

Discretionary authority comes into play only with very minor infractions of the law and failure to secure a background check on a weapon of death is far more serious than a speeding ticket.

Elected County Sheriff’s have an ethical obligation to honor their oaths of office and enforce the criminal laws as enacted by the New Mexico legislature as best they can and in good faith.

Sheriff Maes comments “[Sheriff’s are] elected by the people in our communities and that’s what we’re looking at – what do the people in our communities want?” was irresponsible.

Enforcing the laws is not contingent on what the “people in our communities want”, and no doubt there are many laws that people do not want enforced, like laws prohibiting DWI and the sale of marijuana.

The legislation requiring back ground checks on private sales of guns and at gun shows sends a very strong message that the New Mexico gun culture needs to accept a level of responsibility to ensure that they know who they are selling guns to and make sure their weapon is not placed in the wrong hands.

The 28 counties and municipalities in the state that have passed “gun sanctuary resolutions” in defiance to the legislative gun control measures are engaging in “feel good” legislation to merely make a political statement.

“Gun sanctuary resolutions” in all likelihood exceeds their authority that would probably set aside by the courts if ever challenged.

Elected District Attorneys in the State should follow the lead of Attorney General Balderas and send the sheriff’s a similar letter.

Court challenges to the “gun sanctuary resolutions” could and should be mounted by the elected District Attorneys or appointed county attorneys for the courts to pronounce the resolutions null and void.

District Court Orders should be sought mandating the Sheriff’s to not only follow the law but to promulgate policies and programs to get the background checks implemented.

The opposing counties and municipalities would better serve their residents and constituencies if they were to promulgate and implement policy measures and provide funding to help the Sheriffs and Police enforce the law regarding background checks and perhaps fund such services free of charge for their constituents.

On a more personal note, all too often elected officials who are seeking higher office while in office avoid making hard decisions in order not to offend their constituencies forgetting the importance of their current jobs.

Attorney General Hector Balderas is commended for his action of reminding the elected Sheriff’s to do their jobs and place Public Safety above their political beliefs and to enforce the laws they swore to uphold.

Attorney General Balderas has served with distinction as both New Mexico State Auditor and now as Attorney General and he has close to 3 years left in his second term as AG.

Hector Balderas’ with his actions now are evidence that he made the right decision not to seek higher office putting public safety first for New Mexico and its citizens.

“Orphan Month” Windfall Of $34.3 Million Used For $1.1 Billion City Budget; What Say You State Auditor Brian Colon?

On April 1, 2019, the Keller Administration submitted its 2019-2020 fiscal year operating city budget to the Albuquerque City Council for review and budget hearings.

You can review the entire proposed budget here:

http://documents.cabq.gov/budget/fy-20-proposed-budget.pdf

The operating budget submitted if approved by the Albuquerque City Council is for $1.1 billion for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2019.

The 2019-2020 budget represents an overall 11% increase in spending over the current year.

The proposed 2019-2020 budget is the first time in city history that the city operating budget will exceed the $1 Billion figure.

You can read Albuquerque Journal coverage here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1299497/abq-budget-could-surpass-1-billion-for-the-first-time.html

Last year, the operating budget was $997 million.

The city council raised the gross receipts tax last year by three-eighths of 1% before the budget was even submitted.

Last years tax increase was implemented in order to deal with a projected deficit of $40 million, a deficit that never materialized.

Last year’s gross receipts tax increase generates $58 million per year.

Mayor Tim Keller signed off on the tax increase breaking his campaign promise not to raise taxes without a public vote.

The 2019-2020 proposed budget does not contain any proposed tax increases but does create new fees to generate revenue.

The new budget also contains a $34.3 million windfall with use of accounting “slide of hand” referred to by a city official as a “orphan month” windfall.

The $34.3 million from the “orphan month” will be used for one time expenditure’s.

Under the proposed budget submitted, the general fund, as opposed to the operating fund, is increased by $65 million to a grand total of $642 million.

2019-2010 CITY DEPARTMENT BUDGETS

The overwhelming majority of city hall government operation and services is funded by the general fund budget.

There are 26 major City Hall Departments.

Following is the 2019-2020 proposed budgets for each department:

Animal Welfare: $12,560,000
Aviation: $79,904,000
Chief Administrative Office: $2,094,000
City Support: $100,353,000
Civilian Police Oversight: $1,027,000
Council Services: $4,933,000
Cultural Services: $44,477,000
Economic Development: $5,938,000
Environmental Health: $8,693,000
Family and Community Services: $79,731,000
Finance and Administrative Svc: $70,145,000
Fire and Rescue: $97,894,000
Human Resources: $90,799,000
Legal: $6,324,000
Mayor’s Office Department: $1,070,000
Municipal Development: $61,687,000
Internal Audit: $976,000
Office of Inspector General: $405,000
Office of the City Clerk: $2,613,000
Parks and Recreation: $43,473,000
Planning Department: $16,772,000
Police: $209,852,000
Senior Affairs: $18,149,000
Solid Waste: $71,658,000
Technology & Innovation: $24,298,000
Transit: $51,551,000
Grand Total: $1,107,376,000

DEPARTMENT BUDGETS WITH THE HIGHEST BUDGET INCREASES

The City Departments that will have the highest increases in their budgets are:

Albuquerque Police Department, $16.5 million, TOTAL BUDGET: $205.4 million.

Albuquerque Fire Rescue, $9.6 million, TOTAL BUDGET: $97.8 million.

Family and Community Services, $7.4 million, TOTAL BUDGET: $79.7 million.

Municipal Development, $6.3 million, TOTAL BUDGET: $61.6 million.

MAJOR BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS

The Keller Administration announced the following major highlights to the budget submitted to the Albuquerque City Council:

PUBLIC SAFETY

47% of the General Fund expenditures fund the Police and Fire departments.

The 47% for public safety should not come as any surprise seeing as Albuquerque Police Department (APD) intends to spend $88 million dollars, over the next four-year period, with 32 million dollars of recurring expenditures, to hire 322 sworn officers and expand APD from 878 sworn police officers to 1,200 officers.

This years budget (2018-2019) had funding for 1,040 sworn police and at mid year APD had 920 sworn police.

The 2019-2020 budget call for funding of 1,050 sworn police.

APD is projecting that it will have 980 officers by this summer by growing the ranks with both new cadets and lateral hires from other departments, including APD retirees.

APD has recruited 59 sworn police officers as “lateral hires” from other law enforcement agencies in the State of New Mexico.

The budget provides for hiring more officers, fighting crime through community policing, enhanced addiction and mental illness services and Department of Justice compliance.

Full funding is provided to increase the Police Department by another 100 officers.

$6 million is budgeted for a public safety vehicle sustaining fund.

$1.7 million is budgeted to increase the number of sergeants to enable community policing.

$125,000 is budgeted for community risk reduction that AFR and APD developed jointly to help schools and businesses recognize weak areas in safety and conduct threat assessments for events like active shooters.

EXPENDITURES FOR SAFE NEIGHBORHOODS

The budget includes funding for streets, parks, transit systems and neighborhoods as follow:

$711,000 for the Addressing Dilapidated and Abandoned Property Team (ADAPT).

(NOTE: The Keller Administration has renamed the Safe City Strike Force as the Addressing Dilapidated and Abandoned Property Team (ADAPT) ).

$11.4 million is budgeted for the Animal Welfare Department, including spay and neuter vouchers and veterinary operations.

$158,995 is budgeted to enhance park security by adding security patrols to the City’s urban parks, in addition to cameras, lighting, fencing and other design features that are aimed at improving safety.

HOMELESSNESS AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Funding for homelessness and behavioral health includes the following:

$3.2 million more is budgeted to pay for year-round operation of the city’s Westside Emergency Housing Shelter West Side which until this year functioned only during the winter months.

$2 million of one-time money is budgeted for housing vouchers and related housing first programs.

$4.2 million is budgeted for affordable housing and $8.2 million for homeless services.

$6.9 million is budgeted for mental health, substance abuse, early intervention and prevention programs, domestic violence shelters and services, sexual assault services, and services for abused youth.

OUT-OF-SCHOOL OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUTH

$1,000,000 is budgeted to fund more than 80,000 youth slots in summer and out-of-school programming.

$172,681 budgeted to keep every outdoor pool open until 8:00 p.m., seven days per week during the summer.

Full general fund support to the Head Start program is also provided for in the budget.

JOBS AND THE ECONOMY

$1 million is budgeted to create an innovative Increment of One Job Training program with CNM.

$2 million is budgeted to replenish the Local Economic Development Act fund.

$7.7 million is budgeted in Lodgers’ Tax funds for tourism and economic development.

NO NEW TAXES BUT NEW FEES

The 2019-2020 proposed budget contains no increases in the gross reciepts tax, but does contain new fees for essential services for those that use them.

The proposed 2019- 2020 budget includes a new emergency incident cost recovery fee.

The Albuquerque Fire and Rescue Department (AFRD) intends to bill a resident’s auto insurance company when it is dispatched to a call for service to the scene of a car crash or vehicle fire.

This will be the first time AFRD will be billing for services to the scene of a car crash or vehicle fire and the billing is expected to yield $1 million and fund 12 new firefighting positions.

The 2019-2019 budget proposal includes increasing the inspection fee AFRD charges as part of the business registration process.

Inspection fees for business registration varies by square footage.

Under the new inspection fee structure, some businesses will see no hike and perhaps even a reduction in the fee.

Businesses between 1,501 and 3,000 square feet would pay $100 compared to $60 now paid.

The proposed budget also increases the fee Solid Waste charges for tire recycling.

“ORPHAN MONTH” WINDFALL CLAIMED

The City’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Sanjay Bhaka revealed that the city is covering some of the budget increases with gross receipts and property tax revenue created by an accounting policy change.

The fiscal year runs July 1 to June 30, but the city has traditionally applied June’s taxes to the following fiscal year because they do not arrive until August.

CFO Bhaka referred to applying June’s revenues to the following year with the revenues received in August as an “orphan month”.

The accounting policy shift will now extend the window in which the city can recognize the revenue and the accounting reset results in an extra $34.3 million in revenues.

According to CFO Bhakta, the accounting policy change is a “correction” of current practices and it aligns the city finances and accounting practices with state government financing and nearly all other governmental entities around the country.

The $34.3 million according CFO Bhakta is a “one-time, lifetime” boost in revenues that the city cannot apply toward recurring costs.

$29 million of the $34.3 million will be applied to numerous one-time investments the Keller Administration feels are important.

One-time investments include:

$6 million for public safety vehicles such as police cars for new police cadets.

$2.3 million for park security.

$2 million for the business recruitment and growth.

$2 million for housing vouchers and related programs.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1299497/abq-budget-could-surpass-1-billion-for-the-first-time.html

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY

Anyone with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a Major in finance, and who has taken college accounting and finances courses, probably cannot ever recall the accounting term “orphan month”.

Notwithstanding the City’s external audit firm giving its blessing in the change in accounting and reporting practices, the Keller Administration is playing “hocus pocus” with city finances proclaiming an “orphan month windfall” of $34.3 million in order to create essentially a “slush fund” to pay for onetime projects the Keller Administration wants to fund.

What the Keller Administration is in fact doing is basing the current City’s proposed budget on 13 months of revenue rather than the traditional 12 months, and it’s a dangerous practice.

The City relies on gross receipts tax revenues that are collected by the state and then distributed to the city.

Gross receipt tax revenues tend to “eb and flow” depending on the overall economy of the state, and when revenues do not come in as projected, deficits occur, as what happened last year that resulted in a tax increase.

Further, last years tax increase generates $58 million more a year, so its difficult to understand why the city now feels the need to rely on an “orphan month” for $34 million in additional revenue and increasing fees to balance the budget.

The $34.3 million according CFO Bhakta is a “one-time, lifetime” boost in revenues that the city cannot apply toward recurring costs.

Instead of being responsible with the “windfall” the Keller Administration decides to just spend the money and not place it into “reserves” for future needs and until the New Mexico State Auditor can render an opinion on the the change in accounting practices.

State Auditor Tim Keller established a reputation of honesty and integrity by uncovering all sorts of “waste, fraud and abuse” in the use of taxpayer money.

When Keller was elected Mayor, he brought with him CFO Sanjay Bhaka as well as now Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair from the State Auditor’s Office, and all three should know better.

The New Mexico State Auditors Office conducts mandatory audits of the City of Albuquerque.

Least anyone forget, New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller was the one who found the backlog of 4,000 rape kits, not to mention the city spending more on civil lawsuit settlements that was considered reasonable all of which got Keller plenty of news coverage as he was running for Mayor.

Absent from the Keller Administration is any announcement if the current State Auditor Brian Colon’s office has given the approval of the city’s new accounting practices and the use of an “orphan month” revenue to free up $34 million in revenues.

The Albuquerque Fire and Rescue Department (AFRD) billing a resident’s auto insurance company when it is dispatched to a call for service to the scene of a car crash or vehicle fires in order to raise $1 million and fund 12 firefighter positions borders on the grotesque.

It is difficult to understand how that $1 million in a $1.1 Billion-dollar budget cannot be found to deliver a basic essential service to a car crash or vehicle fire to assist.

A very large percentage of people do not carry car insurance, and those who do, the insurance carrier may deduct the charge from an insurance claim.

The city maintains a contract with numerous private wrecking companies that are on a rotating schedule, when the city could easily purchase “tow-trucks” and do the job to clean up crash scenes.

And if there is a fatality, and no insurance, the City will probably want to charge the decedent’s family for the call for service which can easily be in the thousands of dollars.

This is not the first time city hall has gotten the “bright idea” to start charging citizens for essential services that they have already paid taxes for, but last time it was police services.

In 2017, Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis lead the charge with the introduction of a city council resolution that would allow the private sector and the businesses community to partner with the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) to create specific crime plans for business areas.

https://www.petedinelli.com/2017/10/16/sorry-for-your-loss-here-is-your-apd-bill-for-services-rendered/

The Davis plan was that if you can afford to pay more for your law enforcement protection services that you have already payed taxes for, the City would divert more law enforcement resources for protection to your area.

AFRD increasing charges as part of the business registration process is also highly questionable as being needed given last years increase in taxes and revenues.

Over the next few weeks, the Albuquerque City Council “Committee of the Whole”, consisting of all 9 city councilors, will hold budget hearings on each department budget and alter or amend the budget as they see fit, vote to approve and the budget will take effect July 1, 2019.

Perhaps the City Council can find responsible custodian to adopt the “orphan month” windfall and reject the change in accounting practices.

CHRIS SCHROEDER: “NM Real Opportunity Is Small Business”

Below is an insightful guest editorial article written by Chris Schroeder and published in the Albuquerque Journal on Sunday, March 31, 2019.

The article is then followed by further “Analysis and Commentary.”

The title of the article is “NM Real Opportunity Is Small Business.”

CHRIS SCHROEDER

Chris is 35 years old, has lived his entire life in Albuquerque and New Mexico, was educated at UNM and has been married to his wife Crystal for 6 years and the couple have a two-and-a-half-year-old child.

Since 2014, Chris Schroeder has been the Chief Operating Officer for the highly successful Real Time Solutions, a web-based software company headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico with its offices in downtown Albuquerque.

With over 15 years of experience of creating high-performing websites and applications for his customers, Chris and his company Real Time Solutions is making a difference for his customers.

Chris is passionate about Albuquerque and New Mexico.

He serves on several boards and is actively engaged in new initiatives that are geared to make Albuquerque and New Mexico stronger.

Two major initiatives that Chris Schroeder is involved with are SOMOS ABQ and WeConnectNM.

SOMOS ABQ is a downtown festival conceived by young professionals to illuminate the beauty and brilliance of Albuquerque. SOMOS ABQ is everything we love about Albuquerque: its food, its music, its art, its community and its sun for days on end.

SOMOS ABQ combines those loves with creative forces, showing instead of telling, and sharing the pride in our beautiful city.

Last year, over 25,000 attended the annual SOMOS event in downtown.

WeConnectNM is an active community group that was formed to support and promote New Mexico as an exceptional place to establish a business, connect to opportunities, raise a family and enjoy a unique quality of life.

The vision of WeConnectNM is to make New Mexico the most “Small Business Friendly State in the Nation.”

ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL GUEST COMMENTARY BY CHRIS SCHROEDER:

“I’m somewhat shocked by what I’ve been reading lately regarding Amazon’s decision to pull out of New York City. It’s hard for me to understand how this is a long-term win for that community. The online giant promised to bring 25,000 new jobs with the average salary north of $100,000 a year. That’s $2.5 billion in payroll alone, annually! I think it’s fair to say that, given the opportunity, New Mexico would roll out the red carpet and welcome Amazon with open arms. I know I would.

While the Amazon deal is an incredible game changer, there is an alternative opportunity facing our state that has the potential to create explosive growth in our economy.

That opportunity is small business.

New Mexico is largely a small-business state. There are over 150,000 businesses, and 99% of them are small businesses that employ 54% of all New Mexicans. The local entrepreneurs that run these companies are the brave souls that ultimately drive this economy. These individuals create the companies that bring new wealth and economic growth to a region in the form of jobs, increased revenues and a thriving business sector. I think it is fair to say that small business is the heartbeat of our economy and certainly the backbone. Since that is the case, we must do everything we can to support our businesses and ensure their success and growth.

Recently, I’ve heard individuals set a vision for New Mexico to become the most business-friendly state in the nation. While that sounds great, truthfully, I think it’s completely unrealistic. We are competing with Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Utah, etc., that all have booming economies, incredibly business-friendly climates, and proven track records. Why would we try to compete with these states at their level? Our strategy for economic growth must be different. Michael Porter, a professor at the Harvard School of Business, wrote, “Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it’s about deliberately choosing to be different.” New Mexico must choose to be different when it comes to our strategy for economic growth. While everyone else is trying to woo the proverbial Amazon, we must choose to invest in our own.

In doing so, New Mexico could become the most small-business-friendly state in the nation. That is a vision that is attainable, sustainable and incredibly beneficial to our communities.

In order to realize this vision, we must become jealous for our local companies and prop up our home-grown firms. We must realize that doing business with them is in the community’s best interest, and that our tax dollars are best spent on local, New Mexico companies that employ the best and the brightest. We must support our local entrepreneurs by connecting them to resources, encouraging the development of essential infrastructure and creating incentives designed to support their growth. If we are able to do this, New Mexico’s economy will dramatically grow from within.

And if we can sustainably grow from within, then perhaps our children can lure the Amazons of their generation to our incredible state. Or better yet, foster the growth of a New Mexico company to become the next global corporate giant right here in the Land of Enchantment.”

https://www.abqjournal.com/1298265/nms-real-opportunity-is-small-business-ex-state-has-a-chance-for-explosive-economic-growth.html

DINELLI COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Chris Schroeder, at age 35, in a real sense represents Albuquerque’s future as being now.

According to US Census figures, in 2010, New Mexico’s median age was 36.7.

In 2017 the most recently released data show it was 37.8.

A major reason for the increase in New Mexico’s higher median age is young people leaving New Mexico in droves, something that has been going on for the last 8 years.

According to the Census Bureau, the nation’s Hispanic population is young, with a median age of 29.3 compared with 38.0 for the country as a whole.

In New Mexico, the median age of the Hispanic population statewide was the same in 2010 and was 30.3 years old and was the same in 2017.

Between 2011 and 2016, 42,000 more people exited the state than entered and there was unprecedented exodus of young people leaving the state with the majority being the college educated.

ECONOMIC BASE JOBS VERSUS SERVICE INDUSTRY JOBS

An “economic base job” is one created or needed by a business or industry that increases economic growth of a region by increasing exports of manufactured products, goods or services from the local economy or region to another region or economy thereby increasing the size of the local economy with profits and cash flow from outside the region.

The corner stone of the “economic base theory” is that an increase in economic growth of a region or economy is dependent on increase in exports, manufactured goods or services from one region or economy to another region or economy and supplying markets outside the local economy.

A service-based industry is one that offers its products, goods or services primarily within a particular region and does not supply markets outside the region nor increase the economic base of a region.

In general, service base industries offer lower paying or minimum wage jobs not requiring much education or technical skills while economic base industries provide jobs requiring higher education and higher trained skills.

SMALL BUSINESS INVESTMENT KEY TO CREATING ECONOMIC BASE JOBS

Current City a State Government officials are damn fools is they do not listen to and take notice to what Chris Schroeder has to say about small business being Albuquerque’s and New Mexico’s opportunity to diversify our economy.

Simply put, small businesses create economic base jobs.

Chris Schroeder accurately points out:

“… New Mexico must choose to be different when it comes to our strategy for economic growth. While everyone else is trying to woo the proverbial Amazon, we must choose to invest in our own … and prop up our home-grown firms. We must realize that doing business with them is in the community’s best interest, and that our tax dollars are best spent on local, New Mexico companies that employ the best and the brightest. We must support our local entrepreneurs by connecting them to resources, encouraging the development of essential infrastructure and creating incentives designed to support their growth. … ”

The City of Albuquerque needs to make a much bigger commitment in helping small business development.

The 2018-2019 approved budget for the city’s Economic Development was a pathetic $3.9 million out of a total operating revenue and approved budget of at almost a billion dollars at $955,300,000 for fiscal year 2018-2019.

Albuquerque can and must expand and find better ways to use financial incentives for small business development.

The City’s Economic Development Department needs to find a better way to help small business.

A good start would be funding a $20 million initial startup fund for new small businesses with claw back provisions and with the program administered by the Economic Development Department.

Our elected officials and the business community, including the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, Albuquerque Economic Development (AED), the Economic Forum, NAIOP and the banking, finance and development industries tend to give lip service to small business development.

The Hispano Chamber of Commerce provides far more help and assistance to developing new, small businesses.

The City, the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, Albuquerque Economic Development (AED), the Economic Forum, NAIOP and the banking, finance and development industries need to think long and hard about finally doing something to help smaller business investment and development instead of just being satisfied with protecting their own financial interests, bottom lines and membership numbers.

City and county government and the business community need to listen more carefully to successful young business people like Chris Schroeder who have a much bigger stake in this city’s and the state’s future because of their age and the ages of their children.

Otherwise, the only jobs for millennial’s will be employment in old age homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals and funeral homes taking care of the needs of the age group of 55 to 90 while Albuquerque becomes just another dying dusty little community in the Southwest.

Below are links to 3 other related blog articles from last year that are on topic:

Where Have All The Young People Gone? Gone For Jobs Elsewhere Everyone!

Investing In Ourselves To Achieve Economic Development

Race And Equity Profile Report Gives Economic Development Roadmap

City And APD Should Commence Negotiations To Terminate CASA

Albuquerque is one of 18 law enforcement agencies throughout the country operating under a federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) brought about by a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation that found systemic problems and a “culture of aggression” within its police department.

In November, 2014, the CASA was entered into between the City of Albuquerque, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), the DOJ and approved by a federal judge.

The CASA provides for termination of the agreement as follows:

“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.” (Page 103 of CASA)

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

After review of the DOJ investigation report, the CASA mandates, and the reforms implemented, a conclusion that can be reached is the spirit and intent of the CASA has been attained and it should be terminated sooner rather than later.

The City and APD need to seek a stipulated and agreed to Order of Compliance with the DOJ from the CASA.

A review of the DOJ investigation and the terms of the CASA are in order.

The DOJ INVESTIGATION REPORT

April 10, 2014, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Civil Rights Division, submitted a scathing 46-page investigation report on an 18-month civil rights investigation of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).

The investigation was conducted jointly by the DOJ’s Washington Office Civil Rights Division and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico.

You can read the entire report here.

https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/crt/legacy/2014/04/10/apd_findings_4-10-14.pdf

The DOJ investigation included a comprehensive review of APD’s operations and the City’s oversight systems of APD.

The DOJ investigation “determined that structural and systemic deficiencies — including insufficient oversight, inadequate training, and ineffective policies — contribute to the use of unreasonable force.”

Based on the investigation and the review of excessive use of force and deadly force cases, the DOJ found “reasonable cause to believe that APD engage[d] in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment … . and [the] investigation included a comprehensive review of APD’s operations and the City’s oversight systems.”

Federal civil rights laws make it unlawful for government entities, such as the City of Albuquerque and APD, to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct by law enforcement officers that deprives individuals of rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

The investigative report found a pattern or practice of use of “deadly force” or “excessive use of force” in 4 major areas:

1. The DOJ reviewed all fatal shootings by officers between 2009 and 2012 and found that officers were not justified under federal law in using deadly force in the majority of those incidents. Albuquerque police officers too often used deadly force in an unconstitutional manner in their use of firearms. Officers used deadly force against people who posed a minimal threat, including individuals who posed a threat only to themselves or who were unarmed. Officers also used deadly force in situations where the conduct of the officers heightened the danger and contributed to the need to use force.

2. Albuquerque police officers often used less lethal force in an unconstitutional manner, often used unreasonable physical force without regard for the subject’s safety or the level of threat encountered. The investigation found APD Officers frequently used take-down procedures in ways that unnecessarily increased the harm to the person. Finally, APD officers escalated situations in which force could have been avoided had they instead used de-escalation measures.

3. A significant number of the use of force cases reviewed involved persons suffering from acute mental illness and who were in crisis. The investigation found APD’s policies, training, and supervision were insufficient to ensure that officers encountering people with mental illness or in distress do so in a manner that respected their rights and in a manner that was safe for all involved.

4. The investigation found the use of excessive force by APD officers was not isolated or sporadic. The pattern or practice of excessive force stemmed from systemic deficiencies in oversight, training, and policy. Chief among these deficiencies was the department’s failure to implement an objective and rigorous internal accountability system. Force incidents were not properly investigated, documented, or addressed with corrective measures by the command staff.

What differentiates the DOJ’s investigation of APD from the other federal investigations of police departments and consent decrees is that the other consent decrees involve in one form or another the finding of “racial profiling” and use of excessive force or deadly force against minorities.

The DOJ’s finding of a “culture of aggression” within APD dealt with APD’s interactions and responses to suspects that were mentally ill and that were having psychotic episodes.

COURT APPROVED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT (CASA)

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.”

The City retained outside counsel paying two individual’s considered national experts $1 Million with the contract not awarded by the customary Request for Proposals (RFP) preocess.

The 106-page negotiated CASA agreement was filed on November 10, 2014.

Under the CASA, the assigned Federal Judge is given the power to enforce terms of the agreement and issue orders for compliance and issue sanctions for noncompliance.

Major reform mandates under the settlement include:

1. 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 implement new use of force and deadly force policies.

2. The CASA mandates the teaching of “constitutional policing” practices and methods as well as mandatory crisis intervention techniques and de-escalation tactics with the mentally ill.

3. The City agreed that APD would overhaul and rewrite all of its “use of force policies” and “deadly force” policies, recruitment procedures, training, internal affairs procedures and implement field supervision of officers.

4. Stricter training and restrictions on the use of nonlethal force is required under the CASA, and it requires more training and controls over the use of Tasers by officers along with quarterly audits of their use.

5. The city agreed to the creation of a Police Oversight Board (POB) as a civilian review agency that independently reviews citizen complaints, serious uses of force and officer-involved shootings by APD. The civilian agency also monitors, reviews and make recommended changes to APD policy on use of force.

6. Under the CASA, the city agreed to the creation of Police Civilian Advisory Councils, one in each of the APD area commands, designed to increase community interaction.

7. The CASA broadens and removes obstacles to the types of civilian complaints Internal Affairs and the civilian oversight agency can review.

8. The CASA provides for the appointment of a Federal Court Monitor selected by agreement of the parties with the City to pay for the auditing services of the federal monitor. The primary duties and responsibilities of the federal monitor is to report directly to the federal judge on APD’s compliance with the mandatory reforms.

9. The agreement mandates that APD adopt a new system to hold officers and supervisors accountable for all use of force incidents with personnel procedures implemented and outlining details how use of force cases would be investigated. It requires far more reporting by officers and field supervisors and also requires detailed reviews of those reports up the chain of command within the department. Sergeants and lieutenants are required to be much more involved in field supervision and review of use of force by officers.

10. Under the agreement, officers who point their firearms at a person, but don’t fire, must fill out a use of force report that will be reviewed by field supervisors. That review is separate from a city civilian police oversight agency that will be independent of the department and will review police use of force incidents as well as civilian complaints.

11. The City agreed to create a new “Use of Force Review Board” to oversee all internal affairs investigations of use of force and deadly force. A new chain of command for the review of Internal Affairs reports of officer-involved shootings was created that reviews the Internal Affairs Reports and makes recommendations on discipline or asks for further investigation of an incident, and the board makes recommendations on discipline to the APD Chief. The Use of Force Board is required to make quarterly reports after reviewing all use of force reports to identify trends and policy changes.

12. APD agreed to revise and update its policies on the mandatory use of lapel cameras by all police officers.

13. Under the CASA, the City agreed to abolish the Repeat Offenders Project, known as ROP, within three months of signing the agreement for the reason that members of the unit were involved in a number of the controversial shootings investigated by the DOJ.

14. The agreement provides that if the city fails to implement the reforms or shows bad faith in the implementation of the CASA, the DOJ has the option of filing a federal lawsuit against the city over the city’s unconstitutional policing practices found by the DOJ investigation.

15. Certain types of hand-to-hand techniques are barred under the CASA unless the officer is in a situation that require the use of lethal force if it were available. Neck holds, sometimes called chokeholds, are explicitly forbidden to be used by officers except in situations where lethal force would be authorized.

16. A major change in the CASA bans APD officers from firing their weapons at moving vehicles in all but life-threatening situations.

The CASA provides that it is “designed to ensure police integrity, protect officer safety, and prevent use of excessive force, including unreasonable use of deadly force, by APD.”

The settlement agreement requires APD to strive and use its best efforts to come in compliance with all requirements within four years, and if that were to occur, the case would be dismissed.

APD REFORMS FOR INTERACTIONS WITH MENTALLY ILL

A major finding of the April 14, 2014 DOJ Investigation report was that too many APD police officers use of force incidents involved people with mental illnesses or with behavioral disorders.

Under the CASA, the city agreed to form a Mental Health Advisory Committee.

The Mental Health Advisory Committee was to have a broad membership coming from within the department, the community and from mental health agencies to review department policies, recommend changes and keep the department abreast of new developments and issues in dealing with the mentally ill.

Under the CASA, all sworn officers received 40 hours of behavioral health and crisis intervention training, and new 911 operators received 20 hours of behavioral health training.

APD was required to increase the number of officers assigned to the Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) and developed policies and procedures designed to clear lines of authority in the field in dealing with people who are mentally ill.

Like other parts of the stipulated agreement, the mental health portions required the department to collect and track data on calls for trained crisis intervention officers and submit the information to the Federal Monitor for the audits.

The CASA mandated APD to beef up its contacts with the chronically homeless and individuals with mental illness who have a history of law enforcement encounters in order to help connect these individuals with mental health service providers.

The department also is required to develop protocols addressing situations involving barricaded, suicidal subjects who are not posing an imminent risk of harm to anyone except themselves.

FEDERAL COURT APPOINTED MONITOR

The CASA mandated the appointment of a Federal Court Monitor agreed to by the parties who would report directly to the Federal Court.

On April 14, 2015 the city entered into a 4-year contract negotiated by the Berry Administration to pay a federal monitor $4.5 million over 4 years and the city agreed to assume all costs for the auditing services of the Monitor.

The contract in fact hired an entire team of experts not just one person.

A misconception is that the Federal Court took over APD and that the Federal Monitor has management and control over APD which is not remotely near the truth.

No “special master” appointed by the court that took over APD nor its management.

Under the settlement, the Federal Court Monitor does not have any management, authority nor control over APD, its employees and is not in the “chain of command”.

The Federal monitor was not given any authority to give orders to APD personnel and has no authority to impose discipline on APD personnel.

Under the CASA, the primary responsibility of the Federal Monitor is to gather statistical data, audit performance of APD and report the Federal Court on APD’s progress on implementing the mandated reforms.

APD CONFLICTS WITH FEDERAL MONITOR

Since selection and appointment, the Federal Monitor has submitted to the Federal Court 8 auditing reports on the status and progress APD has made with the reforms.

Five of the first six federal monitor reports were severely critical of APD’s compliance with the CASA.

In his second report to the federal court, Federal Monitor James Ginger accused the City Attorney of what he called, “delay, do little and deflect” tactics saying his relationship with her was “a little rougher than most” compared with attorneys in other cities where he has overseen police reform.

In the July 1, 2016 third progress report the federal monitor found “Across the board … the components in APD’s system for overseeing and holding officers accountable for the use of force, for the most part, has failed … the serious deficiencies revealed point to a deeply-rooted systemic problem. … The deficiencies, in part, indicate a culture [of] low accountability is at work within APD, particularly in chain-of-command reviews.”

In November 1, 2016 fourth progress report, the federal monitor found that when “excessive use of force” incidents are investigated by the APD Critical Incident Team, it “[deploys] carefully worded excuses, apparently designed not to find fault with officer actions” and “[uses] language and terminology apparently designed to absolve officers and supervisors of their responsibility to follow certain CASA related provisions”.

DRAMATIC REVERSAL WITH CITY COMPLIANCE IMPLEMENTING REFORMS

On March 15, 2018, a little over 3 months after Mayor Tim Keller was sworn into office and appointment a new APD Chief, a status conference was held with the Federal Court on the progress made in implementing the DOJ mandated reforms.

The March 15, 2018 status conference was in very sharp contrast to the one held a few months earlier in November, 2017 where Federal Judge Brack eviscerated and admonished the former Administration and the former City Attorney and Assistant APD Chief for secretly recording the Federal Monitor in order to show bias and have him removed as the monitor.

Three major changes to the DOJ consent decree were reported during the March 15, 2018 hearing:

1. A compliance bureau had been established within APD, something the Federal Monitor had recommended from day one and that was totally opposed to and resisted by the prior administration.

2. The new “use of force” policy was finalized to streamline the investigative process defining 3 separate levels of use of force and the process how they would be investigated.

3. The Federal Monitor suspended preparing six-month reports and the monitor’s consulting firm instead provided “technical assistance” to APD as opposed to performing audits and gathering data.

The Federal Monitor was granted permission not to release a seventh progress report but instead issue two “mini-reports”, one in May and on in August.

EIGHTH FEDERAL MONITORS REPORT

On November 7, 2018, the Federal Monitor’s 8th Report on the compliance levels of APD and the City with Court-Approved Settlement Agreement was filed with the federal court.

You can read the full report here:

https://www.justice.gov/usao-nm/page/file/1107721/download

In the 8th report, the Federal Monitor gave the Keller Administration high marks regarding APD’s compliance with a settlement agreement.

According to the 8th report, APD was in a far different position in the reform project than it was the year before under the previous Mayor and Police administration.

Federal Monitor James Ginger reported:

“Given the scope and nature of issues confronted by APD at this time last year, these results are exceptional.”

In the November 14, 2018 8th monitor’s report, the monitor reported APD was in “Operational Compliance” with the settlement agreement 59.2% of the time meaning officers followed policies outlined in the settlement agreement and when they did not, supervisors identified and corrected the behavior.

Statistics in the report used to track progress showed that APD:

Achieved 99.6% compliance with primary tasks;

A 75.4% secondary compliance and

A 59.5% operational compliance.

According to the report, it was the first time APD achieved above 50% operational compliance.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1232650/judge-gives-high-marks-for-reform-efforts-at-apd.html

To complete the reforms, APD must reach and maintain 95% compliance in all three categories: Primary Tasks, Secondary Task Compliance and Operational Compliance.

APD has achieved compliance in one category and is significantly closing the gap in the other two.

USE OF FORCE REPORTS

Under the CASA, a yearly “Use of Force” Report prepared by APD is mandatory.

APD did not published a Use of Force Annual Report since 2015 with the primary reason being that the previous administration failed to implement adequate data gathering processes and procedures for accurate reporting.

After more than two years, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) released a “Use of Force Report” combining a single report for the years 2016 and 2018.

You can read the entire Use of Force Report here:

https://www.scribd.com/document/402811641/APD-Use-of-Force-Report-2016-2017#from_embed

General findings contained in the report can be summarized as follows:

1. Use of force was low for both years of 2016 and 2017.

2. APD officers were dispatched to approximately 450,000 calls to provide service in 2016 and that number increased to 480,330 in 2017.

3. Individuals involved in uses of force represented less than one tenth of one percent (0.09%) of those dispatched calls which was an increase from 2015. The 2015 report found that .04% of dispatched calls resulted in an officer using force.

4. The 2015 report found .04% of dispatched calls resulted in an officer using force. City officials believe the increase in use of force 2015 over 2016 and 2017 is likely due to more accurate reporting.

5. Fewer than 2% of all APD arrests involved use of force.

6. In 2016, 48.5% , of people involved in use of force cases were unarmed but about 30% were classified as “unknown.”

7. In 2017, 74.8% of people involved in use of force cases were unarmed.

8. In 2016 and 2017, there were three times as many use-of-force incidents as there were “show of force incidents”, defined as an officer pointing a firearm or other impact weapon at a person. (NOTE: The 2015 Use of Force Report, compiled by the previous administration does not track “shows of force” incidents which explains the increase according to the report.)

9. From 2016 to 2017, show of force incidents rose 35% while at the same time use of force incidents remained constant.

10. Firearm discharges made up to 2% of all use of force cases over the two years, but still rose slightly from 2016 to 2017.

11. Empty-hand techniques such as strikes, grabs, kicks, take downs and distraction techniques made up the majority of use of force cases at 70% in 2016 and 60% in 2017.

12. Fewer people were injured in use-of-force cases. In 2016, 68% of the injured needed to be hospitalized while in 2017, 94% needed to be hospitalized.

13. APD Officers were injured in 23% of use of force cases but had to be hospitalized in less than 3% of those cases.

14. Use of electronic control weapons (TAZERS) increased while other types of use of force decreased.

The mental health portions of the CASA, like other parts of the stipulated agreement, requires APD to collect and track data on calls for trained crisis intervention officers and submit the information to the Federal Monitor for the audits.

When you read and review the entire 2017- 2018 consolidated “Use of Force Report”, a major omission in the report is that there are no statistics regarding APD’s crisis intervention incidents and interactions with the mentally ill, including none by the SWAT unit.

The 2018 Use of Force report needs to contain a report regarding APD’s interactions with the mentally ill, the number of times the SWAT unit was deployed over the last three years to deal with “crisis intervention” and well as the training of APD officers in crisis intervention.

https://www.petedinelli.com/2019/03/27/apd-use-of-force-report-fails-to-report-on-crisis-intervention-incidents-involving-mentally-ill/

CASA REFORMS

It will be in November of this year that a full 5 years has expired since the city entered into the CASA with the DOJ.

For nearly 3 years, the previous Republican City Administration and the former APD command staff did whatever it could to undermine the implementation of the DOJ reforms.

During the last 16 months, there has been a dramatic turnaround with the implementation and progress with the reforms.

From all appearances, and from review of the Federal Monitor’s last reports, the City and APD has completed the following mandated reforms under the Court Approved Settlement Agreement:

1. After a full year of negotiations, the 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 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 chokeholds, to auditing the use of every Taser carried by officers and re writing and implement in new use of force and deadly force policies have been completed.

6. “Constitutional policing” practices and methods as well as mandatory crisis intervention techniques an de-escalation tactics with the mentally ill have now been implemented at the APD police academy with all sworn also 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. Police Oversight Board has been created, funded, fully staffed and a director hired.

11. The Community Policing Counsels have been created in all area command and the counsels meet monthly.

12. The Mental Health Advisory Committee has been implemented.

13. The CASA identified that APD was understaffed. The Keller Administration and the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) intends to spend $88 million dollars, over the next four-year period, with 32 million dollars of recurring expenditures, to hire 322 sworn officers and expand APD from 878 sworn police officers to 1,200 officers. APD is projecting that it will have 980 officers by this summer by growing the ranks with both new cadets, lateral hires from other departments, and returning to work APD retirees.

14. In November, APD achieved 99.6% compliance with primary tasks, 75.4% secondary compliance and 59.5% operational compliance with APD making significant progress in compliance.

According to the Use of Force Report for the years 2017 and 2018, APD’s “use of force” and “deadly force” is down, which was one of the primary objectives of the CASA reforms

Based on the statics in the 3 compliance areas, it would appear that within a year APD and the city should achieve a 95% compliance in the three compliance areas that will allow for a dismissal.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

The biggest complaint of all the DOJ consent decrees in the country is that implementation and enforcement “go on and on” for years costing millions in taxpayer money and resources to a city that could be better used for essential service.

The consent decree in Los Angeles has been going on now for about 16 year.

The CASA as negotiated with Albuquerque and APD was negotiated to be fully implemented over a four year period which was achievable.

The delay in full implementation of all the reforms within the 4 years is inexcusable and the result of the previous incompetence of the prior APD command staff and administration.

Further, the Federal Court as well as the Department of Justice contributed to the delay in implementing the reforms by refusing to be aggressive and take action against APD management that engaged in “delay, do little and deflect” tactics as decried by the monitor.

The Federal Monitor also did little to assist APD with implementation of the reforms other that audit and monitor progress proclaiming it was not his job to help APD, his job was to collect data and information, audit and to report to the court on compliance and to collect his $4.5 million in fees.

All other federal consent decrees of city police departments involve in one form or another the finding of “racial profiling” and the use of excessive force or deadly force against targeted groups or minorities.

Consent decrees involving “racial profiling” and racism are far more difficult and complicated to enforce because you cannot “teach” racial equality, eliminate racism in people and it is difficult to identify that a person is a racist when you recruit someone to be a police officer.

The 2013-2014 DOJ investigation of APD “use of force cases” and a finding of a “culture of aggression” within APD dealt with police officers interactions and responses to suspects that were mentally ill and that were having psychotic episodes.

APD Police Officers were found to have escalated encounters with the mentally ill, even calling SWAT out to deal with the conflicts, such as the 2014 killing of mentally ill and homeless camper James Boyd in the Sandia Foot hills

The DOJ found that APD policies, training, and supervision were insufficient to ensure that officers encountering people with mental illness or in distress do so in a manner that respected their rights and in a manner that was safe for all involved.

Crisis intervention an dealing with the mentally ill is “teachable” and “trainbale.”

APD has now trained its police officers to deal with the mentally ill and constitutional policing practices continue to be emphasized at the APD Academy.

APD is making significant progress in becoming fully staffed and returning to “community policing.”

The City has also created the Police Oversight Board to deal with citizens complaints, the Community Policing Counsels and the the Mental Health Advisory Committee.

With the continued implementation of the DOJ reforms, especially those reforms involving the mentally ill, the spirit and intent of the CASA has been realized.

95% to 100% compliance with the CASA should be achievable no more than 12 months, if not sooner, from now.

The roll of the Federal Monitor should now be reduced as well as the continued costs of the monitoring team reduced.

APD and the City should commence negotiations immediately with the Department of Justice for a stipulated “Order of Compliance” from the Federal Court with a dismissal of any and all causes of action the DOJ may have against the city and APD within a year.

Otherwise, the city of Albuquerque will be sucked into “year after year” of expenses and costs associated with a consent decree whose primary objective has been achieved.

________________________________________________________________

POSTCRIPT

Following are links to other related articles and source materials:

https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/crt/legacy/2014/04/10/apd_findings_4-10-14.pdf

https://www.abqjournal.com/489280/city-justice-department-sign-off-on-apd-overhaul.html

https://www.cabq.gov/police/news/settlement-agreement-city-of-albuquerque-justice-department

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

https://www.krqe.com/news/city-of-albuquerque-doj-agree-on-contract-for-federal-monitor/1020298419

https://www.petedinelli.com/2018/03/16/apds-new-theme-song-changes-in-attitude-changes-in-latitude/

https://www.petedinelli.com/2018/06/12/not-sure-who-to-believe-creating-two-problems/

https://www.petedinelli.com/2018/12/19/tracing-the-evolution-of-apds-culture-of-aggression-ends-with-a-warning/

https://www.petedinelli.com/2017/05/16/doj-needs-to-seek-contempt-of-court-against-apd-command-staff/

ABQ’s Crime Rates Continue To Decline; APD Should Target Domestic Violence

On March 30, 2019, the Albuquerque Police Department released the City’s crime statistics for the first quarter of 2019 which runs from January to March of 2019.

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/apd-most-crime-is-down-but-non-fatal-shootings-are-up/5299172/?cat=500

https://www.abqjournal.com/1298419/crime-stats-show-another-drop-in-abq-crime.html

For the second time, APD reported that crime is continuing to drop from 10 years of historic highs in all major categories but nonfatal shootings are up.

https://www.petedinelli.com/2018/12/28/abqs-crime-rates-going-down-but-abq-still-a-violent-city/

Property crimes, robberies, auto thefts and auto burglaries all dropped.

Auto burglary decreased by 28%, auto theft decreased by 29%, and residential burglary decreased by 32% compared to last year’s numbers during the same time period.

Property crimes, like theft and burglaries, have had a 17% drop from 2017 to 2018 for the same time period last year.

The decline represents a dramatic decrease to the numbers reported last year.

The only bad news in the report was that the city saw an increase in nonfatal shootings.

According to the statistics, non-fatal shootings went up 12% and there have been 131 nonfatal shootings the first quarter of the year compared to last year’s number of 114.

The specific highlights in each category of crime are as follows:

Auto Burglary: down 28%
Auto Theft: down 29%
Commercial Burglary: down 2%
Residential Burglary: down 32%
Homicide: down 24%
Rape: down 7%
Robbery: down 22%
Aggravated Assault: down 4%

The Keller Administration and APD intends to announce a new program that will deal with “violent crime” in the context of it being a “mental health issue” and dealing with crimes involving guns in an effort to bring down violent crime in Albuquerque.

According to city officials, APD will announce the creation of a new unit that will track violent crime relying on the same methods used to track auto thefts, weekly reports summarizing shootings, refining policies, and learning from best practices used by other law enforcement agencies.

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY.

This is the second quarter that APD has reported a major decrease in the city’s skyrocketing crime rates.

The fact that it is the second time the statistics show a decline in crime rates indicates a clear downward trend is emerging and that the first quarterly report reflecting a decline was not just a fluke and not a stroke of good luck.

Since this time last year, the number of sworn police has gone from 850 and it is projected that APD will have approximately 980 by July of this year because of an aggressive recruitment program and increases in police pay.

APD is projecting that it will have 980 officers by next summer by growing the ranks with both new cadets, lateral hires from other departments, and returning to work APD retirees.

Police officers patrolling the streets making more traffic stops and APD’s concentrated effort to reduce robberies and auto theft has led to a reduction in robberies, car theft, and burglaries.

Bringing down violent crime involving guns, such as murders and domestic violence, is always more difficult because of issues such as inadequate mental health care and substance abuse problems.

Domestic violence is clearly the most difficult category to bring down when it comes to violent crime because of the “cycle of violence” involved with such crimes.

All too often in domestic violence cases, the abused decline to charge and prosecute and return to their partner or spouse with the “cycle of violence” continuing.

New Mexico has ranked among the top 10 states with the highest rates of women killed by men during the last decade.

On September 16, 2017, according to an annual study published by the Violence Policy Center, it was reported women are more likely to be killed by men in New Mexico than nearly any other state.

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/new-mexico-s-rate-of-women-killed-by-men-among/article_eb7e4a2c-273d-5eb6-8007-e5936639b64f.html

The study found the state has the 10th-highest rate of women killed by men, marking the third straight year New Mexico had appeared toward the top of the list, while New Mexico’s overall homicide rate ranked lower.

Statics in Albuquerque show that after about the 10th or 11th time there is a call out of the Albuquerque Police Department to a home for domestic violence, it is usually to pick a woman up in a body bag.

Albuquerque’s dirty little secret is that domestic violence is the number-one reason why a woman is admitted to the emergency room of the University of New Mexico Hospital.

The 2019 New Mexico Legislature passed Senate Bill 328 which prohibits gun possession by someone who’s subject to an order of protection under the Family Violence Protection Act.

Under the enacted legislation domestic abusers must surrender their firearms to law enforcement.

The gun possession prohibition also applies to people convicted of other crimes such as battery on a household member.

APD should now concentrate on and target domestic violence to bring down violent crime, not to mention to save people’s lives.

Gun Sale Background Checks And Requiring Domestic Abusers To Surrender Firearms Responsible Gun Control

Hector Balderas Made Right Decision

On March 28, 2019, Attorney General Hector Balderas announced that he will not be a candidate for the United States Senate to fill the vacancy the result of Tom Udall’s retirement.

Balderas also announced he will not run for the congressional seat of Congressman Ben Ray Lujan and would complete his second term as New Mexico Attorney General.

Balderas was just elected in November, 2018 a second term as Attorney General.

Attorney General Balderas served two terms before as State Auditor for 8 full years and before that was a NM State Representative from Wagon Mound.

Balderas announced he intends to finish his term as Attorney General which ends January 1, 2022.

There is no doubt that Balderas would probably have been one of the two top-tier candidates in the U.S. Senate race.

Balderas has now run 5 state wide races and has succeeded in winning 4, two as state auditor, two as attorney general and he did not win the Senate race against Senator Martin Heinrich.

During his first term as Attorney General, Balderas has maintained a high profile especially with has filing public corruption charges against several elected officials, including ex-Secretary of State Dianna Duran, a Republican, and former Democratic state senator Phil Griego.

The Attorney General’s office has also filed several lawsuits targeting the policies of President Donald Trump.

Although tempted to run for Unites States Senate, Balderas announced as the main reason for not running was his family.

Balderas, who along with his wife recently became the legal guardian of his 20-year old daughter, Arianna, who has Down Syndrome said:

“Quite frankly, we could not survive the travel schedule of a U.S. senator right now”.

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY

All too often, elected officials after serving a period of time become intoxicated with the power and the attention bestowed upon them not realizing the toll it takes on their personal family life, especially if they have children.

Many a politician forget that running for office is in fact a team effort with their family and all too often politicians sooner or later wind up in divorce and very lonely.

Many elected officials forget that running for office is the life and profession they have chosen, but it is not the profession family members make, especially children.

With the reasons Hector Balderas gave for not running for a job he probably wanted, Balderas showed the true character of a person who knows that family means more in the long run than holding an elected position.

At the age of 45, time is indeed on the side of Hector Balderas and there is always time to run for office in the future.

Balderas made the right decision.