July 8, 2016

In wake of Dallas shootings, APD officers to pair up

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Albuquerque Police Department and Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department Photo Credit: Andy Lyman

Albuquerque Police officers will respond to calls in pairs following the shooting of 11 police officers in Dallas, five of whom died.

The Albuquerque Police Department announced some of the new procedures Friday, including the use of two officers for each call. APD will also monitor social media for threatening messages.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry was on hand with APD chief Gorden Eden and other members of the city’s police brass.

Berry expressed his sorrow over the shootings in Dallas and said that Albuquerque stood with Dallas’ police.

ABQ Forward, a coalition of groups pushing for reforms in APD, also weighed in.

We need a path forward,” Jenny Metzler, executive director of Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless and an APD Forward member, said in a statement Friday afternoon. “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.”

The shooting in Dallas came after a protest over two recent high-profile police shootings of black men. As the protest began to disperse, police say a sniper identified as Micah Xavier Johnson shot nearly a dozen officers.

Police eventually killed Johnson, using a bomb disposal robot.

Three officers in Dallas remain in critical condition. Two civilians were also wounded.

Johnson was “upset at white people” according to Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown. Brown also said that Johnson was upset at Black Lives Matter, a loose organization of protesters against the shooting of black people by police officers.

It still is not clear if Johnson, a former Army reservist, had accomplices. Johnson said he was working alone and claimed to have planted bombs around downtown Dallas.

Others were detained or arrested Thursday night, though it’s unclear if they were involved or on what charges they are being held.

APD itself has a settlement agreement with the federal government over a string of shootings and other use-of-force incidents that federal investigators said were a pattern of unconstitutional policing.

Last year, APD officer Daniel Webster was killed while on duty. The trial against Damon Lyman, who is facing charges of shooting Webster, is scheduled to start next month.

Update (3:00 p.m.): Added quote from ABQ Forward member.

Correction: This story originally said APD is under a consent decree with the federal government. The department has a settlement agreement with the federal government. We regret the error.

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