ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A new report shows the City of Albuquerque still has a long road ahead as it works to reform its police department.
Dr. James Ginger, an independent court-appointed monitor, released the information on Thursday, detailing the progress of changes within APD required by the Department of Justice.
The report shows there is one area where APD seems to have made a lot of improvements but that the city’s process for writing the important, new policies is “problematic.”
KRQE News 13 sat down with Chief Gorden Eden to get his take on the report.
At one point in the report, Ginger says APD is writing polices that are “difficult to understand, poorly organized, and apparently written piecemeal.”
“Dr. Ginger may be right. We may have piecemealed it but what was important to us, and I’ll say it over and over again, is we have to get it right,” Chief Eden said.
Eden pointed out the report looks at APD’s progress up to November of last year and claims, since then, they’ve gotten better at coming up with new APD rules like its use of force policy.
“We’re just now training everybody to that policy,” Chief Eden said.
That started at the beginning of the year: week-long training sessions to retrain the entire department before its June 2nd deadline.
Another big one is crisis intervention training to help officers during encounters with the mentally ill.
The report questions whether the quality of that training was compromised because the person teaching it was also charged with evaluating his own teaching.
The city attorney disagreed.
“It’s really speculation at this point for anyone to say that there is a problem with the training because no one has found that,” said Jessica Hernandez.
The one area that did “impress” the monitoring team was APD’s tactical units with policy and training that has already “resulted in fewer deaths and injuries.”
“They’ve taken an approach on all these calls just to slow things down. There is no reason to be in any hurry,” Chief Eden said.
Ginger did call out the city attorney, saying she refused help in the policy development process.
The city attorney told KRQE News 13 she was surprised by his comments and believes it was a misunderstanding.
While the report was critical about delays in the process, it does note the city hasn’t missed any deadlines in implementing the necessary reforms.