ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) -On Monday, Mayor Tim Keller announced the start of the Albuquerque Police Department‘s Rapid Accountability Program (RAD) in an effort to decrease recidivism and allowing those who are qualified to take part in rehabilitative programs. The program is said to be limited to low-level and infrequent offenders such as youth.

The City of Albuquerque describes RAD as a restorative justice program and is said to be focused on reducing the cycle of harm in each individual criminal act. The program will run in collaboration with other APD initiatives such as the VIP Program.

Tonya Covington (courtesy CABQ)

“We know repeat offenders are a big part of the crime problem. When we let low-level crimes lead to isolation, escalation, and eventually violence, we miss a huge opportunity to intervene early and halt that cycle in its tracks. Especially with youth, we want to make sure they have the opportunity to get on the right path and become part of the solution. This is just one part of our effort to break cycles of violence and ultimately reduce crime in lasting ways,” said Mayor Keller in a statement.

Tonya Covington has been appointed by Mayor Keller to run RAD. Covington previously worked as the director of conflict resolution at Outcomes, Inc and has also worked as a mediator with the Thirteen Judicial Court as well as the Metropolitan Court.

Covington has been a community health worker with the New Mexico Shared Strategic Plan Leadership Committee, the African American Health Network, the Native American Partnership, Project HOPE, and the New Mexico Health Equity Working Group as well as a racial justice coordinator with YWCA of the Middle Rio Grande.

“Diversion is instrumental in helping first-time offenders into a rehabilitative program instead of just putting them on a path to career criminality,” said Covington in a statement. “I know addressing the underlying causes of crime is this administration’s top priority, and I’ll bring all my experience in our community to bear to build healthier, safer neighborhoods for all of us.”

In her position as program director, Covington will both develop and manage the RAD Program and will supervise programs and services that will reduce recidivism.