ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque joined the U.S. Department of Justice to file a motion in court that would create a temporary team to assist with investigations of use-of-force incidents by Albuquerque Police Department officers. According to a news release, the joint motion filed in court Friday proposes a stipulated order establishing an External Force Investigations Team and it also will assist APD with improving the quality of its own Internal Affairs force investigations.
“We welcome the resources and expertise as we make these changes to our use-of-force investigations,” APD Interim Chief Harold Medina said in a news release Friday. “While this is a temporary solution, our longer-term goal is to build an internal investigative process that addresses the overall reform of the department.”
According to a news release, city officials and DOJ lawyers suggested the idea of an External Force Investigations Team during a hearing in December before U.S. District Court Judge James Browning. The external investigation process is meant to address concerns raised by the Independent Monitor about the quality of APD’s investigations of use-of-force incidents according to the same news release.
According to APD, when officers use force against an individual, whether it is deadly force or less-than-lethal force, the department is required to decide whether the actions are within its use-of-force policies. APD released a new order that redefines when an officer can use force when out in the field as part of the ongoing reform process mandated by the Court-Approved Settlement Agreement with the DOJ according to the same news release.
According to a news release, the city also agreed to:
- Add more use-of-force investigators
- Receive additional technical assistance
- Develop a written investigative process that must be approved by the Independent Monitor and DOJ and that will be filed with the court
- Create training for the use-of-force investigators