The latest report from the independent monitor for the Albuquerque Police Department/Department of Justice settlement agreement may be the most positive yet.
One of the biggest accomplishments noted by Dr. James Ginger is the crux of how the department ended up here: approval of a “main use-of-force policy.”
The Albuquerque Police Department seems to finally be making substantial progress in its ongoing reform efforts.
In the latest progress report, which is 239 pages long, Dr. Ginger says “the current APD executive staff is fully committed to the compliance process.”
The Department of Justice reform began under Mayor Berry and Chief Gorden Eden back in 2014.
Its goal is to correct excessive force and aggressive culture.
“We’ve fully embraced and made a full commitment to reform,” said Mayor Berry back in 2014.
After years of back and forth between the city and the DOJ, the main use of force policy has been approved by Dr. Ginger, as noted in Friday’s filing in federal court.
“This policy directs officers, what can I do to deescalate or minimize, or limit or reduce or eliminate the need to use force?” said Commander Rob Middleton back in June of this year.
In a statement on Sunday, Mayor Keller said:
“The latest monitoring report acknowledges the sea of changes underway at APD, and our commitment to finishing the job of meeting the DOJ requirements. We still have a long way to go to restore trust between the community and our department, but we’re on the right track.”
Dr. Ginger agrees there is still plenty of room for improvement, listing in his report “Persistent or evolving problem areas,” including an uptick in “prohibited practice complaints” by the police union against the city.
Shaun Willoughby, the President of the APOA, believes that is unrelated to the settlement agreement, though.
The city has paid Dr. Ginger more than $3 million over the past four years to oversee the reform.