A district attorney received responses after writing a letter to the Albuquerque Police Department and the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy (NMLEA) about concerns with police training. The overall message: Everything is fine here. Second Judicial District Attorney Kari Brandenburg received responses in return to her letter regarding concerns about police training deficiencies, ultimately linked to a current whistleblower lawsuit. The first letter came from APD Chief Gorden Eden. Eden wrote that any allegations of improper police training are unfounded.
The City of Albuquerque and other defendants in a whistleblower lawsuit filed a request for a twelve-person jury on Monday. John Corvino, a former trainer for the Albuquerque Police Department, filed a suit against the city. This week City Attorney Jessica Hernandez filed a response to Corvino’s allegations and subsequent demand for a jury trial. The city’s response contested claims that Corvino faced retaliation by his superiors for bringing to light possible police training deficiencies in the police academy. The allegations date back to 2013 when Corvino, when he was a trainer for APD, notified his superiors that instructors were training officers without proper certifications.
For the second time this year, an Albuquerque Police Academy director is stepping down, according to a report by the Albuquerque Journal. Lt. Michael Archibeque’s last day as acting director of the academy is today, and he will be replaced Monday by Lt. J.J. Griego, the day-shift lieutenant for the Northeast Area Command, said Albuquerque Police Department officer Tanner Tixier, a spokesman. Archibeque replaced former director Joseph Wolf earlier this year and was an acting director of the academy. The Journal reported that Archibeque’s replacement may come from inside the department in order to expedite the hiring process. Tixier said police only immediately considered internal candidates for the position to ensure a director was in place in a timely manner.
An organization of criminal defense attorneys is the most recent group requesting swift action on allegations of training and certification deficiencies within the Albuquerque Police Department. A member of the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (NMCDLA) said the group is in the process of requesting action from both New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas and the Second Judicial District Attorney Kari Brandenburg. NMCDLA Treasurer, Barry Porter told New Mexico Political Report he expects the group will write a letter asking Balderas and Brandenburg to move forward on releasing names of officers who might not be properly certified. Porter said cases of resisting arrest and assault or battery on police officers may come under scrutiny, especially if the officer was not properly trained. “All of those [types of cases] require, as an element of the offense, that the officer be in the lawful discharge of their duties,” he said.
A former Albuquerque police officer filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the Albuquerque Police Department on Friday. John Corvino filed a motion with the Bernalillo County district court asking for damages after he was allegedly the target of retaliation. According to the complaint, Corvino raised concerns about training deficiencies within the department and was subsequently reprimanded for his actions. The suit names the City of Albuquerque, APD chief Gorden Eden and two other employees of APD as defendants. The case dates back to 2013 when Corvino, then a trainer for APD, notified his superiors that instructors were training officers without proper certifications.