ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque police officers are bashing the department on YouTube in a series of confessional videos. The first one has been posted of what’s expected to be a series of at least 10 videos from officers who are reportedly looking for jobs elsewhere. It shows what the union is calling “the dark side of policing in Albuquerque.”
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“Most of my life I’ve just said, ‘Hey, do the right thing, work hard, get through it,” a tearful, anonymous APD officer told the police union in the video.
He said he had a goal to work for APD for four years before leaving, but already wants to bolt in just his second year. This comes as he says he’s still being investigated by APD for how he handled a domestic violence case more than a year ago. “[The suspect] proceeded to fight us, we used force on him, got him in custody and we’re in trouble for that, a lot of trouble,” the officer explained.
Police Union President Shaun Willoughby claims this officer, who has already accepted another job out of state, isn’t the only one trying to jump ship. “I know there’s a huge uptick in the department of officers getting their professional documents and training documents and packets so they can send them to jobs,” Willoughby stated.
This is the first video of what the union says will be a series, as an extension of its Crime Matters More campaign. It’s an effort to get the city to re-evaluate the Department of Justice’s reform policies. “There is a more common-sense approach,” Willoughby said.
Willoughby is making the same claim he’s made for years, that APD is going too far with DOJ reforms when the focus should be on tackling crime. “I think there’s a lot of officers frustrated as we work through this process and we learn and it’s unfortunate but we have to meet the requirements of the settlement agreement,” said APD Chief Harold Medina.
APD said it realizes morale is down for police officers locally and nationwide. The chief said the department is working to tweak its disciplinary policies. “So that it’s easier on officers in terms of when a second violation is committed and the amount of discipline that is imposed,” Chief Medina said.
“Not here. It’s just not sustainable,” the anonymous officer stated in the video. “And that’s what other guys have told me too and that’s why most everybody in my squad is quitting.”
In a response to the video series, the mayor’s office stated: “Mayor Keller values the work officers are doing and the challenges they face on a daily basis, which is why he has invested in competitive pay, critical technology, and the hiring of more officers to keep communities safe. At the same time, APD has a responsibility to conduct thorough, appropriate internal investigations when the situation requires. We need to support officers as a community to ensure they are well trained to engage in Constitutional, community-based policing.”
APD said it believes it knows who that anonymous officer is, and they say he isn’t giving a complete account of what he did.