ABQ advisory board calls on city to stop using buses to transport police

An Albuquerque advisory board on Thursday voted to condemn the use of city buses for police during protests. 

Outgoing Albuquerque Transit Advisory Board Chair Israel Chávez introduced the resolution, saying that using city buses to transport police, outfitted with tactical gear, sends the wrong message to residents.  

“How many times have we had folks come in and give us feedback about how horribly implemented [Albuquerque Rapid Transit] was or stops being moved? And I think this contributes to that feeling that transit and transit resources aren’t here for the people but they’re really here for the benefit of something else,” Chávez said. The only board member who voted against it didn’t offer a specific reason, but said he wanted to hear from Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller first. 

Albuquerque police have responded to at least two protests with a team of officers transported by city buses. 

The transit board’s incoming chair Christopher Ramirez agreed that police unloading out of a city bus during times of protests or civil unrest is a bad image for the transit department. 

“I don’t want our community looking at public transit as a part of the problem,” Ramirez said. Albuquerque Paratransit Advisory Board Chair Jacqueline Smith also offered up her support of the resolution. She said the use of transit vehicles for police transportation is in an outdated practice in other parts of the country.