ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Today, the APD Forward coalition filed an amicus brief with the court in response to the settlement agreement between the City of Albuquerque and the Department of Justice (DOJ) that lays out reforms to the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).
“While we see many positive changes outlined in the current settlement agreement between the City of Albuquerque and the Department of Justice, we can still make it stronger in certain areas,” said Alexandra Freedman Smith, ACLU-NM Legal Director and APD Forward legal team member. “In APD Forward’s amicus brief, we have flagged for the court places where we feel the reforms could go further towards reducing excessive use of force and ensuring police accountability.”
The APD Forward amicus brief addresses the following issues:
General Enforcement of Reforms: The amicus asks for more built-in enforcement of discipline and clear consequences for violation of APD policy. A full discipline matrix should be built into the agreement, providing clear disciplinary guidelines for everyone involved.
Better Reporting Requirements: APD Forward asserts that the current annual reporting requirement in the agreement is inadequate. The amicus suggests more frequent reporting, more self-evaluation, and more opportunity for public scrutiny of progress. APD Forward also believes that APD should be required to collect data on officer discipline and report this data back to the public in an appropriate manner.
Policing of Vulnerable Populations: APD Forward identifies people experiencing homelessness, people living with mental illness, and urban Native American populations as especially vulnerable to police violence in Albuquerque. The brief calls for the development of community resources to support these groups that go beyond law enforcement, reducing the degree of interaction and confrontation these groups experience with police.
SWAT Deployments: The brief calls for the settlement agreement to require clearer standards on specialized unit deployments, restricting their use to imminently dangerous and volatile situations and prohibiting their deployment for routine police work and drug search warrants. APD Forward also asks for data collection and reporting on the justification for each specialized unit deployment.
Officer-Worn Cameras: APD Forward identifies officer-worn cameras as a key component to police reform and calls for mandatory discipline when officers fail to properly utilize these important transparency tools.
APD Forward is a community-based coalition working to help make the Albuquerque Police Department the responsible, professional, and community-friendly police department our city deserves. Learn more at www.APDForward.org.