ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Today, in the wake of the second status conference between independent federal monitor Dr. James Ginger and the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), APD Forward expressed concern that the city is still falling short in creating the new policies mandated by the reform agreement and engaging the community in a meaningful way in the process. At the last status conference in December 2015, the public learned that APD’s process for developing new policies wasn’t working. Today, we learned that the process still is not working like it needs to.
“Finalizing APD’s new use of force policy was an important first step in creating adequate training, improved supervision, and effective discipline of APD officers,” said Steven Robert Allen, Director of Public Policy at the ACLU of New Mexico. “However, APD’s process for getting this first step done was laborious, lengthy, and appeared lacking in collaborative spirit. APD Forward finds it extremely concerning that the City Attorney flatly refused Dr. Ginger’s offer to provide a ‘primer’ on the policy development process. The City can’t continue to point fingers when it has purposefully ignored opportunities to be successful. This problem needs to be fixed; otherwise there is a real danger that the settlement agreement will be derailed.”
The status conference also revealed a concerning lack of genuine community engagement in the reform process, which is stipulated under the settlement agreement. The settlement agreement requires that APD create formal and informal mechanisms that facilitate ongoing and constructive communications between APD and Albuquerque communities. One of those mechanisms is the Community Policing Councils that have been created in each of the six area commands.
“This department can’t be successfully reformed without the involvement and buy-in of the community it serves,” said Jenny Metzler, Executive Director at Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless. “As we noted at the first status conference, we have attended several meetings of Community Policing Councils throughout the city, and to our eyes they don’t seem to be fulfilling their purpose as outlined in the settlement agreement. Unfortunately, this still seems to be the case, and we urge the court to address this issue so that we can avoid alienating Albuquerque communities.”
APD Forward will release a full analysis of the federal monitor’s second report within two weeks. It will be available on the campaign’s website at www.apdforward.org.