CPOA complaint to federal judge highlights issues within city, APD

Politics - Government

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Put in a place to help keep the Albuquerque Police Department in check when it comes to use of force cases, the Civilian Police Oversight Agency Board is now saying they’re not getting the information they need from the department to do their job. Now, they’re letting a federal judge know about it.

In a letter written to a federal judge, the executive director of the CPOA lists a number of complaints with APD and the city. One of the main issues is not getting the proper documents in a timely manner from APD when it comes to use of force cases.

“The information that, right now, the board is being supplied, which is the presentation at the Force Review Board and the FRB minutes, I’m not sure it’s sufficient enough for the board to reach a proper conclusion,” said Ed Harness the executive director for CPOA.

Harness wrote a letter to Judge James Browning detailing the issues. He says because of the lack of transparency from APD, it makes it difficult for the CPOA Board and the Force Review Board to come to an agreement when it comes to use of force cases.

Which then makes it difficult for the CPOA to come up with recommendations for APD relating to discipline. On top of that, another big issue is not being fully staffed. “It’s been two years now since we’ve had nine members on the board. We’re down to six at this point,” Harness said.

Another big issue is funding. Harness says at the moment, the CPOA is independently funded which makes him concerned the entire agency will be defunded once the Department of Justice settlement agreement is completed. Harness is asking the city to make sure they get appropriate funding.

The mayor’s office didn’t respond to KRQE News 13 request for comment but a spokesperson for APD says the department continues to work with the CPOA and the Force Review Board and they are limited on what documents they can provide based on the police oversight ordinance. Judge Browning will hear the letter as well as complaints from other stakeholders in a hearing next Friday.

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