ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department has released a new order that redefines when an officer can use force when out in the field. However, many officers are not on board with the new order.
The president of the APD Union says this order is just another way of “handcuffing” police officers in the city and preventing them from doing their job. He says this is the department’s way of saying they care more about being compliant with the DOJ agreement than fighting crime. “The minimum amount of force may be to handcuff an individual that needs to be handcuffed and using a low-level control tactic to do it. What they’re saying is, you’re no longer allowed to do that,” said APD Union President, Shaun Willoughby.
According to this new special order that was sent out to the entire department last week from Interim Chief Harold Medina, it only allows officers to use force when the suspect physically attacks them, flees, or resists them. An officer is no longer allowed to use any force when anticipating an attack.
KRQE has reported when tasers have been deployed plenty of times whenever an officer comes across someone who’s just being verbally hostile, or when a suspect refuses to comply with an officer’s demands and ends up being tackled and handcuffed. Under this new order, none of that is allowed.
While the union has complained to the interim chief about this new order, an APD spokesperson says this is a way to clarify the term “target glancing,” that many officers have been using to justify their uses of force. “By using this term, target glancing, it seemed to be kind of a boilerplate language that they were putting in reports. We were seeing a lot more of that in reports, so it wasn’t clear if someone was about to flee or did flee,” says Gilbert Gallegos, APD Spokesperson.
Willoughby says target glancing is when a suspect looks for an escape route or has their eyes on the officer’s gun while being detained. He says all APD officers are trained on how to deal with someone who is target glancing when they are in the training academy.
Willoughby says this new order is basically counterintuitive to what they’ve been taught in the academy. APD says they know this will be a difficult transition for officers, but they are actively working with the union to make sure everyone understands the new order.
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