ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Police Department (APD) has unveiled a shift in how it deals with fatal car crash investigations. It’s another move to help get officers back on the streets faster. “It’s cut the time in half that it takes to process a scene, and we now have experts who are going to focus on this,” said Albuquerque police chief, Harold Medina.

For years, car crash scenes have taken APD officers hours to investigate and process, but with the addition of new civilian experts, that could change. Those experts have been in operation since June. Their job is to assist officers at crash scenes by taking the lead on time-consuming crash reconstruction. While the officer instead focuses on talking to and interviewing key witnesses.

“My reconstructionist, they’re using technologies such as drones, cameras, all these different things where they can actually plot the mathematical data on a scene to be able to find out speed vectors, all these things that we need to prove exactly what happened,” said Sgt. James Burton with the fatal crash unit.

Story continues below

The ultimate goal is to get officers spending less time on scenes, and more time taking different calls, while civilians do most of the crash investigation work. The newer team was created a year ago but just started work in June after months of training.

“22 street racing operations, and four traffic enforcement tac plans that have resulted in 752 citations, four DWI arrests, and four felony arrests,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “This is in large part due to civilians taking that workload off their shoulders.”

APD said they’ve issued more than 17,000 citations between June and October. That’s nearly double the number issued over that same time span last year.