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Crime Response Specialists to Enhance Staffing at APD

Retired officers in the program will provide quicker, more experienced assistance with property crime calls

October 19, 2016

Albuquerque, NM – City Councilors Pat Davis and Brad Winter today announced that they will be jointly sponsoring R-16-113, a resolution to provide the framework for the Community Response Specialists (CRS) pilot program that the mayor announced as part of his 14-point plan to combat crime.  The bill will be heard at the Council’s Finance and Government Operations Committee meeting in November and should be before the full Council for final approval in early December.

The legislation will authorize a three-year pilot program that would allow the Administration to contract with as many as 25 former police officers who will respond to property crime in the Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest Command Areas for the first year. Property crime calls typically do not require an immediate police response. These calls are usually delayed reports of home burglaries, auto theft, and other property crimes requiring a police report and investigation.

“I have heard many concerns from people about the upswing in property crimes and decrease in number of officers on the force. I believe the Community Response Specialist pilot program will support APD effectively to address those concerns,” said co-sponsor Councilor Brad Winter. “With the additional assistance in responding to, investigating and following up on property crimes such as home burglaries and auto thefts, citizens will be able to receive faster, but still reliable service when they are in a time of need. Community Response Specialists, being retired law enforcement officers, will have the experience to deliver excellent service to the citizens of Albuquerque.”
Bill co-sponsor, Councilor Pat Davis remarked “In order to reduce response times and criminal activity, we need to increase the number of officers on our force. This program serves as a bridge that will have an immediate effect while we recruit and train new officers for the long term solution.”
The bill outlines a program whose main function is to timely respond to property crime calls requiring an investigation and detailed follow-up. A CRS will be a retired law enforcement individual with many years of experience providing them with the skills and institutional knowledge to conduct a thorough investigation of property crime incidents. A CRS will:

•    Photograph, canvas neighborhoods, collect evidence and follow-up with victims personally
•    Be unarmed, and will not have arrest authority
•    Have been Police Academy trained
•    Be able to access pertinent law enforcement databases and coordinate investigations with APD detectives to solve and arrest offenders

“Because these retirees will only respond to property crime calls, they will be able to devote a faster, and more thorough response to citizens,” said Mayor Berry. “This could result in about 100,000 additional proactive actions by sworn officers in our community such as traffic stops, patrolling, community policing activities and more. I am grateful to Councilors Winter and Davis for sponsoring this important legislation, and to CAO Rob Perry for working hard to bring this program to fruition.  We’re working in a cooperative and bipartisan fashion to make Albuquerque safer by bringing proven experienced officers back on the streets of the city.”

The pilot CRS program will cost an estimated $1.3 million for a full year, after which time the City will reevaluate the effectiveness of the program.  The resolution makes the program subject to specific appropriation in each of the program’s three years.