Yesterday, eleven members of the APD Forward coalition met with Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry to introduce the APD Forward campaign and gather information about the city’s negotiations with the Department of Justice. Also attending the meeting were Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry, APD Chief Gordon Eden, and Special Counsel Scott Greenwood, among others.
In response to our questions, the mayor expressed his desire to make sure that the reforms to APD were sustained beyond his administration. He feels that community involvement is key to that sustainability. He wants the consent decree to be negotiated as expeditiously as possible, but not if it means sacrificing the quality of the agreement.
Special Counsel Greenwood reiterated that they were unable to discuss the status of negotiations with APD Forward in order to comply with ground rules that they agreed upon with the DOJ. However he did say that he thought the end of the year was a realistic goal for finalizing the consent decree.
CAO Perry discussed research that they are initiating to improve the existing lapel cam policy. Because the technology of officer-worn cameras is relatively new, the City still has challenging questions to address around the placement of cameras on officers’ uniforms, the uploading and storage of video data and the mechanisms for turning cameras on and off.
APD Forward coalition member Ken Ellis asked if APD was in compliance with a state law requiring CIT training for officers. Chief Eden responded that officers now receive training far in excess of what’s required by state law.
The mayor said they will not be able to estimate the costs of implementing reforms until the consent decree is completed, but he did say that neither the city council nor his administration have balked at any costs. The mayor and Chief are exploring new programs to offer professional development for officers, especially in the area of leadership training. The mayor invited APD Forward to take part in his community collaborative process to reform APD. The first meeting for this series of community discussions will take place in August.
All in all, it was a cordial and productive meeting. It ended with the mayor offering an apology to Steve Torres, Ken Ellis and Mike Gomez, who have all lost sons to officer-involved shootings.
The mayor and we agreed that we should schedule a follow up meeting in another couple of months. We look forward to working with the administration to ensure we get the crucial reforms we need to make APD the responsible, professional, and community-friendly police force our city deserves.