Report on Oversight Mechanisms of APD
Qualifications of Consultants
Eileen Luna is Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies/Law and Policy at the University of Arizona, Tucson. She is an attorney who directed police misconduct agencies in California from 1981 to 1995, and has been appointed by Attorney General Reno to a position on the national Citizens Advisory Panel for the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Professor Luna was awarded both the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation Native American Fellowship and the John B. Pickett Fellowship in Criminal Justice from the National Institute of Justice for study at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University from which she received an M.P.A. in 1996.
She is an enrolled member of the Chickamauga Cherokee Nation of Arkansas and Missouri and has recently received a grant from the National Institute of Justice to evaluate tribal government programs aimed at reducing violence against women on reservations.
Professor Luna's vita is included in the Appendix to this report.
Samuel Walker is Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He is the author of nine books and many articles on the subjects of policing, criminal justice policy, race relations, and civil liberties.
Professor Walker has been invited to lecture on different aspects of policing by the National Institute of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Police Executive Research Forum, and many local community organizations.
Professor Walker's principal research interests involve citizen review of the police. He is the author of several reports and articles on the subject. He compiled and edited the Citizen Review Resource Manual , a collection of documents on the subject, which is published by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).
Professor Walker's vita is included in the Appendix to this report.
Betsy Kreisel is a graduate student in the Ph.D. program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She is completing a dissertation on the subject of citizen review of the police. In August, 1997 she will become Assistant Professor at Murray State University in Kentucky.
Adrienne King is a graduate student in American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona.
The methodology for this study of the oversight mechanisms of the Albuquerque Police Department involved a multi-phased research effort that developed five different sources of data. We believe that this multi-phased approach provided us with the widest possible range of perspectives on the subject.
We made a special effort to obtain all possible points of view. Thus, we spoke to the leading critics of the APD and to members of the APD, including the chief, the top command staff, and ranks and file officers.
We took a skeptical approach toward all statements made to us, and checked statements made to us against other sources of information. Statements were checked against official documents wherever possible. Statements by one person were also checked against the statements of other individuals. In the course of our research a number of statements were made to us that, upon investigation, proved to be incorrect. We feel that by casting the widest net possible we have caught all such misstatements.
One unique feature of this study is the survey of rank and file officers. In public debates over citizen oversight the rank and file officer is often the forgotten person. We feel that our survey of over 300 APD officers provides unique insight into policing in Albuquerque. Much of the information obtained in this survey is not directly relevant to this study but may be highly useful for the APD. We intend to make this information available to the APD.
Review of Official Documents
This study examined the following official documents produced by various agencies of government in the City of Albuquerque.
1. Independent Counsel Quarterly Reports
2. Public Safety Advisory Board Minutes
3. Internal Affairs Quarterly Reports
4. Albuquerque Police Department Annual Reports
5. Risk Management Reports
6. Finance and Government Operations Committee Minutes
7. Other Documents
a. 1991 PSAB Deadly Force Report
b. 1997 SWAT Team Study
c. Contract Between Albuquerque Police Officers Association and APD.
d. Official APD Complaint Brochure
e. Correspondence Between City Officials and private citizens.
This study also conducted personal interviews with a wide range of people in the Albuquerque community. Because we wish to protect the privacy of many of these individuals, some of whom provided sensitive information, we have decided not to list individuals by name. The various categories of individuals we interviewed are listed below.
1. Community Representatives
a. Leaders and members of Human Rights, Civil Rights, Civil Liberties, and Neighborhood Organizations
b. Spokespersons for the Hispanic, Native American, and African American Communities
c. Spokespersons for the Business Community
d. Families of Persons Fatally Shot by APD
e. Attorneys in Private and Public Practice
2. Police Officers
a. Police Chief
b. Other Command Officers
c. Internal Affairs Commanders and Staff
d. APOA President
e. Past president, Chicano Police Officers Association
f. Other Rank and File Officers
g. APD Staff Psychologist
3. Public Officials
b. City Council Members
c. City Council Staff
d. City Attorney and Staff
e. Current and Past Independent Counself. Public Safety Advisory Board Chair and Members
g. Other officials in the Criminal Justice System of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County
Audit of APD Internal Affairs Unit
We also conducted an audit of the APD Internal Affairs Unit. This audit was conducted under the provisions of a confidentiality protocol approved by the City Attorney. The protocol acknowledged that the Consultants would not disclose to any person confidential information about private citizens or police officers contained in these files. The purpose of the audit was to evaluate general patterns and practices. The audit consisted of the following activities.
- A general review of IA Citizen Police Complaint (CPC) files for 1994, 1995, 1996.
- An intensive audit of the quality of a random sample of 10 percent of all CPC files for 1994, 1995, 1996.
- A Review of the activities of the Independent Counsel relative to citizen complaints.
- A consumer satisfaction survey of all persons who had filed complaints in the past three years.
Police Officer Survey
The objective of the police officer survey was to obtain the perceptions of rank and file APD officers about the tripartite system of police oversight of the APD along with their attitudes toward their job. Generally, the perceptions and attitudes of rank and file officers are ignored in such studies. We are not aware of any similar study of officer perceptions of both internal and external oversight procedures.
The survey consisted of five modules, with seventy closed-ended questions and several open-ended questions.Module One investigated officers' perceptions of each of the three oversight mechanisms. Module Two investigated each officer's experience with the oversight mechanisms. Module Three explored officers' actual knowledge of the oversight mechanisms. Module Four examined the officers' attitudes toward their work as police officers. A fifth section includes a series of open-ended questions comments where officers have an opportunity to give their observations about the oversight mechanisms.
The response format for the first four modules the questions consisted of a seven-point Likert type scale anchored at the end points with "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree." Other questions requested specific yes/no responses and opened responses were used to elicit comments and observations.
The survey was administered by the consultants and their assistants at a City-wide Briefing called by Chief Joseph Polisar and held at the APD training facility. The survey was administered at a total of eight briefings over a three day period. The focus of administering the survey to line officers only is to capture the officers who have the greatest number of contacts with citizens, and are therefore most likely to generate citizen complaints. Prior to administration of the survey, officers were briefed by project personnel about the study and the purposes of the survey. The officers were assured complete anonymity.
Three hundred and fifty-seven Albuquerque police officers completed the survey. This represents 44% of the total sworn officer force and an even larger percentage of the field officers. As Table 4-1 indicates, the sample of officers completing the questionnaire is representative of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) in relation to ethnicity. Female officers are slightly underrepresented; females represent eight percent of the survey sample and 13.17% of the department. The demographic breakdown of the survey sample and police department is detailed in the chart that follows.
|Table Four - Survey Sample Demographic Information|
24 or under
Highest Level of Education
Some Graduate Work
National Survey of Citizen Oversight
At the request of City Council this study compares the Albuquerque system of oversight with systems in other jurisdictions. As part of their professional interest in the subject of citizen oversight, both of the Consultants have collected a wide range of official documents related to oversight mechanisms in other jurisdictions. Professor Walker has in his possession a near-complete collection of ordinances, policies and procedures, and annual reports related to these mechanisms.
In addition, both Consultants in the course of their careers have talked with many citizen review officials, police department officials, and other public officials in other jurisdictions. This information was also utilized in this study.