With a sometimes-tumultuous working relationship between the retiring Second Judicial District Attorney and the Albuquerque Police Department in recent years, focus will soon turn to how a new DA will work with police. All three candidates for DA are focused on how to build a relationship with APD, a troubled police department subject to reforms under a Department of Justice consent decree. Ed Perea, one of the two Democratic candidates seeking the position, is a former APD commanding officer and recently received an endorsement from the Albuquerque Police Officer’s Association. Perea’s campaign is focused on his experience in practicing law and supervising and working with officers. He said a DA must, first and foremost, be able to work with officers to make the community safer.
The deadline for New Mexico candidates to file has passed which means campaign season is in full swing. It’s not just legislators competing though. Across the state candidates are also running for the position for district attorney in their respective areas. These races may have extra attention this year after a relentless drumbeat of tough-on-crime bills during the legislative session. First Judicial District
The First Judicial District—which covers Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Los Alamos Counties—will see at least a couple of former coworkers going up against each other.
In a crowded conference room in the mayor’s office last November, reporters and police officers gathered to see Republican lawmakers and Mayor Richard Berry discuss their plans for combating repeat criminal behavior.A visibly emotional Rep. Paul Pacheco, R-Albuquerque, told the room of his intention to toughen New Mexico’s three strikes law. “This piece of legislation is very personal to me,” Pacheco said. Pacheco, a former law enforcement officer, told reporters that he was personally affected by a number of violent, high profile crimes committed earlier in the year. In May 2015, Rio Rancho Police officer Gregg Benner was shot and killed while on duty. In October, Albuquerque Police Officer Daniel Webster was shot and later died from his injuries.
Raúl Torrez is a former federal prosecutor running as a Democrat of District Attorney in the Second Judicial District (Bernalillo County). Innovation is the Key to Combating Violent Crime in Our Community
Our community is at a crossroads. The senseless killing of four-year-old Lilly Garcia and the tragic loss of Officer Daniel Webster – one of APD’s very best – are stark reminders of the crisis in our criminal justice system. And once again, we find ourselves united in grief, struggling to comprehend why our community has become so dangerous and asking what, if anything, can be done? As we search for answers, we must be careful not to allow our anger and disappointment in the system to overwhelm our larger objective or obscure the fact that together, we can solve this problem.