FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 8, 2016
CONTACT: Micah McCoy, (505) 266-5915 x1003
ALBUQUERQUE, NM—In the wake of horrific violence around the country this week, the APD Forward campaign (www.apdforward.org) urges APD and the communities most impacted by police violence to reinvigorate efforts to engage in constructive dialogue about how best to protect the safety of all Albuquerque residents, including police officers. The violence has exacerbated a divide between officers and impacted communities that needs to be addressed. APD Forward is committed to help identify and implement methods for doing so.
“We need a path forward,” said Jenny Metzler, executive director of Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless and an APD Forward member. “The most important first step is for our police department and the people it serves to come together and figure out genuine, lasting ways to heal the divide between police and impacted communities.”
From the beginning, APD Forward has stressed that most police officers are honorable professionals who were attracted to careers in law enforcement out of a desire to serve the public good. We have also stressed that the excessive use of force exhibited by APD and many other police departments around the country impacts specific communities substantially more than others, including communities of color, people living with mental illness and people who are homeless.
Today, APD announced it has provided directives for its officers to be more vigilant in the wake of the Dallas shootings. We encourage APD to also remain vigilant in its promise to protect the constitutional rights of Albuquerque residents and to continue its work on reforms that ensure excessive force will not be used.
“The safety of all is paramount,” said Adriann Barboa, state director of Strong Families New Mexico, also an APD Forward member. “But we can’t achieve safety for all in an atmosphere of fear and mistrust. Police and the communities they serve must come together to honor one another’s humanity and build trust through dialogue, mutual respect, and compassion.”
To help bridge the gap between APD and the city it serves, APD Forward is sponsoring a series of roundtables between APD and impacted communities. The first roundtable was held last year and involved a facilitated dialogue between youth and police. Upcoming roundtables will feature facilitated dialogues between police and people who are homeless, LGBTQ people, Native Americans and people living with mental illness.
The recent officer-involved killings in Louisiana and Minnesota make it clear that police reform is a national issue that requires immediate and sustained attention. We also stand by officers who were killed and injured as a result of the tragic event in Dallas. In the wake of this violence, we call upon communities to work hand-in-hand with APD to promote public safety for all.