ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Step by step, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) has been moving away from federal oversight for years. Now, the city is asking a federal court to let the department create some policies without federal oversight.
As part of the fallout of controversial, deadly police shootings, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigated APD and concluded that the department needed federal oversight to ensure it wasn’t violating locals’ civil rights. The city has been under a settlement agreement since 2014.
Over the last few years, both APD and an independent watchdog have noted the police department has made progress towards reform. Soon, a key provision of the settlement agreement might be temporarily suspended, allowing APD to create their own policies regarding compliance with the DOJ agreement without first getting approval from the feds.
“The fact that the City has met the requirements for self-assessment in certain areas demonstrates that the City is ready to independently promulgate policy in these areas,” the City wrote in a document submitted to federal court. “There is no longer a need for the United States and the [independent] Monitor to preapprove policies related to areas currently in self-assessment.”
Not only is APD backing the request to remove the oversight, but the document also shows that the DOJ, the police officer’s union, and the independent monitor that’s been watching over APD do not object to the proposal. Now, it’s up to the federal judge overseeing the case to make the call.
In the request, the City notes that by easing away from oversight little by little, the police department – and the entire city – can “avoid any concerns generated by an abrupt end to that oversight.”