ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Police Department‘s Interim Chief Harold Medina is one of close to 40 applicants for the permanent position of APD’s next chief, as the community weighs in on the kind of chief they want. The city held dozens of community sessions to gather input and received nearly 2,300 responses to its online survey.
“We are incorporating the feedback that we are hearing from community stakeholders as we move through the application process,” said Chief of Staff Mike Puelle in a news release. “We have currently received about 39 applications for the Chief of Police posting, and are identifying the candidates most in sync with the community’s priorities to advance in the process.”
The survey results showed the community wants to see the following in the next APD police chief:
- Communication, leadership by example, and accountability to the community were the attributes most valued by survey respondents.
- The qualifications considered ‘Very important’ by a large majority of respondents included ‘experience with reducing use of force and procedural justice,’ ‘crisis management,’ and ‘knowledge of crime prevention and law enforcement strategies.’
- The three priorities considered ‘Very important’ by over 70 percent of survey respondents included ‘Protecting civil rights,’ ‘Reducing violent crime,’ and ‘Improvements in police training.’
According to the same news release, Wednesday, common themes that emerged from the community input sessions also included:
- Change the narrative from crime-fighting to crime prevention by focusing on behavioral health and public health. Input session participants recommended that the next chief work to address the root causes of crime, in partnership with others to tackle issues such as mental illness, trauma, and substance misuse.
- Prioritize de-escalation to prevent crimes and officer-involved shootings. Input session participants stressed the need for a police chief willing and able to address and resolve the Department’s use of force issues.
- Seek out candidates whose understanding of, and commitment to, racial equity comes from lived experience. Meeting participants recommended that the next police chief have direct experience addressing racial equity concerns and commit to enhancing racial equity training for officers.
- Increase APD’s transparency with regard to decisions that affect the community.
- Engage with the community. Input session participants wanted the next chief to be a visible presence in their communities.
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