ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It has been more than a year since the City of Albuquerque announced new citizen groups to help the Albuquerque Police Department work better with the community.
Since gearing up with meetings that begun at the end of last year, the groups are now starting to make recommendations for changes within APD.
At a meeting for the Community Policing Council on Tuesday night at the North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center in Northeast Albuquerque, members discussed concerns following the shooting death of Steven Gerecke outside his home last month during a rash of break-ins overnight.
Police said Gerecke confronted teens who were breaking into cars and homes.
“If you see a mob of kids, even if it’s nothing, just call us because the nothing may turn into something,” said Det. Christian Baker of APD.
Still, neighbors are left with lots of questions.
“My neighbors are asking the question of how to protect themselves from people entering our houses,” one woman said.
“A lot of them don’t have their lights on anymore,” another said.
“Do you think an alarm would scare them off?” a woman asked police.
The Community Policing Council, the citizen group raising these concerns, is one of six in the city.
The groups meet as part of the city’s agreement with the Department of Justice to help improve the police department.
Since their start, there have been a few changes like APD posting more safety tips on social media.
APD said people in the Foothills Council had concerns over police cars with tinted windows.
“There were officers driving in the neighborhood, and they couldn’t always tell if there was an officer in the car, like if it was idling, maybe an officer is writing a report,” said APD spokeswoman Celina Espinoza of the council’s concern.
APD started checking its cars and said it found that a dozen had illegal dark window tints.
“Those violations were all fixed at the officers’ expense,” Espinoza said.
She said police car windows might have some tint for privacy or to prevent equipment in the car from getting too hot.