FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 8, 2020
CONTACT: Micah McCoy, (972) 740-6675 or [email protected]
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - Today, APD Forward delivered a petition containing over 1200 signatures to the offices of Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller demanding that the City include critical provisions for police accountability in the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the Albuquerque Police Officers Associate (APOA). The CBA currently under negotiation between the APOA and City of Albuquerque determines, among other things, the mechanisms for disciplining improper and illegal conduct by officers.
“Albuquerque has a long and tragic history of officers avoiding meaningful discipline or consequences when they break the law or violate departmental policy,” said APD Forward spokesperson Paul Haidle, Executive Director for the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. “Over the years, police unions have used collective bargaining agreements to make it virtually impossible to hold officers accountable when they violate people’s rights, use excessive force, or even wrongfully kill people in the community. This creates a culture of impunity that is toxic to good policing and destroys community trust. With this petition, the people of Albuquerque are asking their mayor to take a step towards finding balance between fairness to officers and officer accountability. Going forward, we must also ensure additional accountability measures are enshrined in state law. ”
In the petition, APD Forward asks for the following provisions be included in any new collective bargaining agreement negotiated with the APOA:
Remove the 90-day limit on investigations of police officers
The current CBA requires any administrative investigation of an officer accused of misconduct to be completed within 90 days, subject to a possible extension of up to 30 days if approved by the Chief of Police. Both the Civilian Police Oversight Agency and the Independent Monitor overseeing APD’s reform agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice have singled out this provision as a significant obstacle to officer accountability, resulting in many complaints expiring because the clock runs out on their investigations. The new CBA should increase the limit on administrative investigations to 180 days, the standard for most other police departments around the country.
Release information about officer misconduct to Police Oversight Board
Section 20.1.10 severely limits the information that the Director of the Civilian Police Oversight Agency may share about investigations into officer misconduct with the Police Oversight Board (POB), even though the Board is responsible for approving the findings of the Director and any training or disciplinary recommendations to be made to the Chief of Police. The current CBA even prohibits the POB from knowing the identity of the officer, preventing them from identifying officers who are repeat offenders. This limitation should be struck from the agreement.
Don’t give officers unfair access to information
Though the POB is precluded from knowing the names of officers under investigation, ironically, no such courtesies are extended to people who file complaints. Section 20.1.3 of the CBA requires that the identity of the person or officer making the charge be shared with the officer under investigation, if it is known. People who file complaints against officers therefore must weigh the risks of possible retaliation before reporting misconduct. This requirement should be struck.
A copy of the petition can be found here.