Study finds APD has more than 94 percent of policies in place the Department of Justice has mandated in two other cities.
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At the request of a local news station, the Albuquerque Police Department recently completed a study examining its policies and practices to those the United States Department of Justice have mandated in two other cities.
The study found that of the policies and practices recently agreed upon by the Seattle and New Orleans police departments, APD has already implemented more than 94 percent of them. The study was conducted by the department’s inspections and accreditation unit. It examined 240 policy changes mandated in those cities and found that in some cases APD has had similar policies in place for more than 20 years
“This study shows that the Albuquerque Police Department is staying abreast with what is occurring around the country and that we have good polices and procedures in place,” Police Chief Raymond Schultz said. “Still, we are not satisfied. We continue to look for best practices occurring around the country and ways to improve the department. That’s why we completed this study and this practice was very helpful.”
The APD study was prompted a news reporter who inquired about APD policies shortly after the Department of Justice announced it entered into a consent decree in New Orleans. APD analyzed all of the policies in Seattle and New Orleans and found the corresponding APD policy and cited every policy number and the date it was implemented. The entire study was released to the media Tuesday.
Over the past year APD has implemented 68 policy changes in wake of an increase in deadly force encounters with law enforcement officers. Some of those changes were recommended by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), which was requested by Mayor Richard J. Berry to conduct and analysis into the deadly force encounters. APD implemented 20 of its own policy changed following a report that was issued by PERF.
In July, the NOPD entered into an order of consent decree with the USDOJ following an investigation into practices and procedures within their department. The USDOJ's Civil Rights Division launched a series of criminal probes focusing on police officers' actions following Hurricane Katrina. The investigations resulted in charges against 20 officers. Five were convicted in 2011 of civil rights violations in the deadly shootings of unarmed residents on a New Orleans bridge less than a week after the storm's landfall. The investigation of NOPD was completed in March 2011 and it took more than a year of negotiations to reach a settlement with the City, USDOJ and the U.S. District Court. The consent decree detailed 145 recommendations to its policies and procedures that NOPD agreed to implement.
The USDOJ launched a similar investigation in March 2011 of the Seattle Police Department. The investigation focused on whether SPD engaged in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing through the use of excessive force or discriminatory policing. In December 2011, the USDOJ issued a written report of its findings and found reasonable cause to believe that the SPD engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. In July 2012, the USDOJ reached an agreement with the SPD to implement 39 recommendations.
Of the 13 policies in New Orleans that have not been adopted by APD, in most cases, they don’t apply to the department. For example, one of the policies the DOJ mandated called for NOPD to start using field interview contact cards whenever officers come in contact with citizens. In Albuquerque, the cards are not needed since APD records every citizen contact with lapel cameras.