ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department will host a news conference Wednesday to talk about reform goals and police recruitment. APD Chief Harold Medina and Chief Administrative Officer Lawrence Rael made comments at 2 p.m. conference.
On Tuesday, APD says the city and the U.S. Department of Justice have agreed to suspend several paragraphs of the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA.) According to APD, the agreement “essentially removes about a quarter of oversight requirements.”
On Wednesday, Chief Administrative Officer with the city, Lawrence Rael, said the change to the CASA is a “turning of the page” on the entire program. “APD achieved its highest levels of compliance to date and that is really an important milestone for this department,” Rael said. He added that the reduced federal oversight will allow APD to focus on remaining challenges in the community.
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APD Chief Medina said at the press conference that, following this year’s State of the City, the department started seeing an increase in lateral applicants to the police force almost immediately. “We know that a lot of these changes do help us with our recruiting efforts…and we’re hoping that we could use this positive momentum to continue to move the department forward,” said Chief Medina.
APD began its reform effort back in October 2014, months after the DOJ found that APD had engaged in a “pattern or practice of use of excessive force.” The suspension of oversight requirements will affect several different areas of the department, including the multi-agency task force used to investigate police shootings; specialized units including the SWAT team, field training and evaluation, and more.
According to a news release, APD said the following areas have maintained operation compliance:
- Multi-Agency Task Force
- Specialized Units, including Specialized Tactical Units and Specialized Investigative Units
- Behavioral Sciences Section
- Field Training and Evaluation Program
- Public Information on Civilian Complaints
- Recruitment and Hiring
- Performance Evaluations and Promotions
- Officer Assistance and Support