APD Forward Strongly Criticizes APD Website for Clouding the Facts Around Police Reform
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 27, 2017
CONTACT: Micah McCoy, (505) 266-5915 x1003 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ALBUQUERQUE, NM—APD Forward, a coalition of community organizations and individuals seeking to reform the Albuquerque Police Department, expresses deep disappointment that the Albuquerque Police Department has launched a new website designed to distort the department’s record on reform. The website was launched just one week before the federal team charged with monitoring APD’s reform efforts is set to release its sixth progress report. APD Forward has numerous concerns with the new website, www.apdreform.com, but chief among them is that the site provides new evidence that APD leadership is continuing its efforts to undermine the federal monitoring team’s authority to track and ensure reform.
“Back in April, right before the release of the Monitoring Team’s fifth report, APD did a series of presentations around the city aimed at praising itself for all the progress it had made,” said APD Forward spokesperson Adriann Barboa, Field Director for Strong Families New Mexico. “A few weeks later, the monitor’s report was released detailing the ways in which APD leadership was deliberately obstructing important aspects of the reform process. Now here we are, a week before the release of the monitor’s sixth report, and APD is pulling a variation on the same trick with this new website.”
APD Forward believes APD launched the new website to both confuse the public about the department’s reform efforts and to avoid tough questions from the media. To take just one example, a large banner on the website’s homepage praises the department for being in “93 percent primary compliance” with the settlement agreement. This is true, but by refusing to provide any context this assertion makes it seem as if APD is almost done with the reform process. As the five previous federal monitoring reports make starkly clear, this is very far from the truth. As the monitoring team has documented in their fifth report, APD is only in 47 percent operational compliance with the settlement agreement. This is the most relevant measure of compliance, and the most difficult work still lies ahead.
“The website claims to be ‘an outreach program designed to educate the public about changes taking place within the police department that may be overlooked by traditional media,’” said APD Forward spokesperson Natalie Nicotine with the Native American Voters Alliance. “In fact, www.apdreform.com is clearly a tool aimed at misleading the public while undermining the federal monitoring team’s efforts to press the department to implement these crucial reforms.”
Just a few short months ago, APD Forward met with leadership from APD and the City of Albuquerque to express concerns about the police department’s misuse of social media. It was APD Forward’s position then, and it is APD Forward’s position now, that APD is intentionally using the online media platforms that it controls to avoid tough questions, and, ultimately, to avoid accountability for failing to make adequate progress on reform.