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Mayor Keller, APD Preview “Project Guardian”, a Proactive Approach to Mass Shootings

Efforts include working with targeted communities, prediction and prevention, enforcing prohibition on firearms and other deadly weapons at community centers that serve 200,000 kids a year.

August 17, 2019

Today, Mayor Tim Keller, Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair, and Albuquerque Police Chief Michael Geier previewed a proactive approach to mass shootings.

“Each of us has a responsibility to do everything we can to make our kids safer, especially as our nation faces a targeted gun violence epidemic,” Mayor Keller said. “Our public safety agencies are doing proactive work to reduce risk in the community and predict and prevent attacks.”

The Project Guardian strategy includes:

  • Addressing targeted violence by:
    • Working with partners like Homeland Security, FBI, UNM and APS police to predict and prevent active shooters.         
    • Conducting trainings and “hardening targets” like schools, businesses and places of worship, especially in coordination with communities who are being targeted by hatred.
    • Identifying and intervening with potential threats like stalkers. 
  • Using the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN): APD is able to use a national database to link ballistics information, such as connecting the shooting earlier this year at Alamosa Community Center to other shootings in the city.
  • Comprehensive community risk reduction programs like “Stop the Bleed.” After the shooting at Sandy Hook, many children died from survivable injuries because first responders could not reach them quickly. AFR now has equipment such as bulletproof vests, helmets, key cards for locked doors to get into hot zones quickly.

In New Mexico, the State makes gun laws. There is already a state law banning firearms and other deadly weapons from schools and other places where school related activities take place.

Today, Mayor Keller announced an Administrative Instruction making clear that this law applies to the City of Albuquerque’s community centers. The City’s community centers, senior centers, multigenerational centers, and health and social service centers serve over 200,000 children per year.

Mayor Keller said, “It’s commonsense that no one should be able to walk into a community center full of kids with a semi-automatic weapon. State law prohibits firearms and other deadly weapons from schools, and today we’re making it clear - that law applies to all of our community centers because of our programming for over 200,000 kids per year.”

APD Chief Mike Geier said, “We can’t be complacent, and we can’t afford to wait for a mass shooting or an act of domestic terrorism,” Chief Mike Geier said. “Project Guardian is APD’s proactive plan to address potential high-risk threats to the community. We must be vigilant and work together, not just with law enforcement agencies, but also with our community partners like schools, businesses and places of worship, to keep people safe from gun violence.”

Over the last five years, 27 gun offenses have been reported to APD at City community, health and social service, senior and multi-generational centers. At Alamosa Community Center, eight-year-old Sunni Reza was fatally shot in 2013. There was also a shooting at the community center earlier this year.

State law defines public school premises as any other public buildings or grounds in which public school-related or sanctioned activities are taking place, therefore all City centers fall under this definition of public school premises. The City holds several contracts and agreements with Albuquerque Public Schools (APS), reflecting joint use of the centers. The City also works with public schools on a wide range of programs and services that range from before- and after-school programming to job mentorship programs.