ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The latest independent oversight report shows the Albuquerque Police Department are getting closer to completing their multi-year reform process. The department is now at 80% compliance in day-to-day operations according to a newer monitoring report published in November, a big improvement from last year.

Around a decade ago, in 2012, a series of controversial, deadly police shootings and allegations of officers abusing their authority prompted the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to launch an investigation against the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). “APD engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment,” they concluded in 2014.

In response, APD entered into a settlement with the DOJ. Since then the police department has been working on satisfying 276 court-mandated goals to improve APD.

The latest report from the independent monitor tasked with overseeing the reform process, shows that APD is complying with 80% of the settlement goals in their day-to-day practice, a 10-point increase since the last report. To complete the requirements of the settlement, APD must be at 95% compliance.

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The latest report represents the 16th report from the Independent Monitor, James Ginger, and his company Public Management Resources Inc. The report covers APD’s work between February 1, 2022 and July 31, 2022.

It also notes that the “training processes continue to be a bright spot at APD,” and that both the recruiting unit and the Behavioral Science Section at APD have consistently done “high-quality work.” Newly-written policies within the department have also been “well written” and reflective of industry standards, the monitor notes.

The next big test for APD’s progress will come when the team currently helping the department address their backlog of use of force cases hands over all the work to APD. A key component of the settlement is monitoring police officers’ use of force. The city has been paying an external team to help APD evaluate use of force incidents, but eventually that help will go away. When it does, it will “test APD’s ability to sustain the obvious progress that is being made,” according to the latest report.

Despite all the progress, APD still has some issues, according to the report. Some of those issues are in APD’s internal investigations into whether or not officers are following policy. For example, “evidence reveals that APD continued to struggle with completing supervisory force reviews within 72 hours,” the report notes. And “APD supervisory and command personnel still struggle to complete their reviews of Level 1 [the least serious level] use of force reviews within the allotted 30-day time period,” the report notes.