ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque police union is launching a new campaign, urging the public to tell city leaders to focus on crime, by getting rid of the Department of Justice reforms. The mayor scoffed at the idea. The Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association says with crime and homicide rates at high levels in the city, officers should be able to focus on fighting that crime, rather than worrying about getting in trouble.
This comes after years of DOJ oversight with a focus on use of force cases and reforming the Internal Affairs process.
“We’ve spent over $25 million on this reform effort. Your Albuquerque police officers are handcuffed, they’re overly scrutinized and in trouble for anything and everything they can, and the mission of this campaign is to give city leaders a voice from this community,” said Shaun Willoughby with the APOA. “They’re more afraid of going to Internal Affairs and losing their job than they are of actually the bad guys they’re trying to catch, that’s a serious problem.”
The union campaign — titled ‘Crime Matters More’ — is asking the public to get involved by telling city leaders to direct officers to focus on crime rather than, “Wasting millions of dollars on endless Department of Justice oversight.” The city says it’s important to focus on both the officers and the community they police.
“Just as a citizen for a minute,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “The last thing we need is anyone trying to divide our community.”
“We’re under a court-mandated settlement agreement,” said the Albuquerque Police Department‘s Chief of Police Harold Medina. “No matter who the chief is, who the administration is, you have to work with the Department of Justice and you have to work through this process.”
This comes as Mayor Keller and Chief Medina announced a $4 million expansion of the Southeast Area substation near Louisiana and Zuni. It’s something, they say, will help officers who work in that troubled area.
KRQE News 13 asked the union if this was about the money to give pay raises or help recruit more officers. They said no and even if the city had double the number of officers they do now, they’d still have trouble doing their job if they’re constantly scrutinized. The APOA says they hope for the community to get involved and give their input by texting #CrimeMattersMore to 52866.