July 5, 2016

Latest DOJ monitors report shows need for APD leadership change

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Jordan Meeter

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The July 1, 2016 third progress report of Albuquerque Police Department (APD) Federal Monitor James Ginger states as follows: “Across the board … the components in APD’s system for overseeing and holding officers accountable for the use of force, for the most part, has failed … the serious deficiencies revealed point to a deeply-rooted systemic problem. … The deficiencies, in part, indicate a culture [of] low accountability is at work within APD, particularly in chain-of-command reviews. … [F]ostering the constitutional use of force is the primary goal of this entire effort [of police reform].”

Pete Dinelli is a former Albuquerque City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer in the Martin Chavez administration.

Pete Dinelli

Pete Dinelli

The Federal Monitor’s report reflects that you get failed law enforcement management when you appoint a Chief of Police who has absolutely no prior experience managing a municipal police department and who is considered a “political operative.”

This is what happens when you keep or return people who created participated or did not stop the culture of aggression and the “deeply-rooted systemic problems” found by the Department of Justice.

Mayor Richard Berry and APD Chief Gordon Eden insisted on $6,000 to $12,000 retention bonuses to keep “institutional” knowledge to retain experienced management, yet, according to the Federal Monitors report, the same higher-ranking “experienced” officers required supervisory “investigation training” on how to investigate excessive use of force cases.

It is time for the Mayor and the Albuquerque City Council to stop rewarding the command staff with retention bonuses and instead demand job performance. The Mayor and City Council must start holding APD Chief Eden and his command staff accountable for their failures in implementing the DOJ mandated reforms and stop making excuses for them.

Mayor Berry and the City Council need to recognize that the entire chain of command of APD must be removed and replaced with a new generation of leadership.

The Albuquerque City Council is abdicating its oversight authority over APD. The City Council can implement complete civilian authority and management control over APD with a civilian Police Commissioner, to include a civilianized APD Internal Affairs Department, to investigate police misconduct cases and use of force cases, and to implement the Department of Justice reforms.