ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Jail records show about 70 to 90 people are arrested on an average weekday in Albuquerque—and a majority of them are repeat offenders. KRQE News 13 uncovered some interesting numbers that show what Albuquerque Police Department officers are dealing with on the streets.
A list of arrests from Dec. 10 shows a common trend. Warrant after warrant after warrant. Some offenders are picked up on warrants alone; others who have outstanding warrants are arrested for new crimes.
Of the 73 people arrested, 60 had warrants, some had multiple. It’s a frustration for Albuquerque Police officers.
In recent weeks, everyone from APD, the District Attorney’s office, the governor and court administrators have talked about the crime problem and what needs to be done.
“This is a situation where essentially just throwing a bunch of officers at something like that in a particular neighborhood isn’t really going to do anything,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said.
There’s been plenty of finger-pointing, with many asking why more of these people aren’t staying locked up.
“The District Attorney hasn’t embraced, publicly anyway, the public safety assessment, and that is a determination the District Attorney can make,” Artie Pepin, Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, said.
It’s not just about violent offenders, who can be locked up if they are deemed such a danger that no amount of oversight or rules can keep them from offending again. It’s also about shoplifters, car thieves, drug addicts and dealers, burglars and people who fail time and time again to show up for court or comply with their probation. People who fail time and time again to show up for court or comply with their probation—and it’s happening at a time when there simply aren’t enough officers to keep up.
“What is frustrating is that you have a bunch of officers out there busting their tails, working extra hours, overtime…[who] care about families, who care about victims trying to bring justice,” Shaun Willoughby, President of the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association, said.
Union President Shaun Willoughby says one answer is some major rebuilding of the department and putting more officers in critical areas.
“And there’s only three detectives in that area command, and each detective carries a caseload of 70-90. You’re triaging cases. You’re not actually making an impact of felony crime, therefore, violent crime is out of control, and that’s the same story with narcotics, and with vice, and with gangs,” he said.
But he’s encouraged by the many different agencies coming together to help.
“We just need to make sure that our elected officials stay focused on what the real priorities of Albuquerque are. It’s crime. It’s this police department,” Willoughby said.
KRQE News 13 did submit a public records request last week to the city asking how many officers are on APD’s force and how many are actually answering calls on the streets, as well as average response time to emergency calls. The city called the request excessively burdensome and broad, and asked for more time to provide those numbers.