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VII. The APD Internal Affairs Unit

The Role of the Internal Affairs Unit

The Internal Affairs Unit of the Albuquerque Police Department has the stated mission "(t)o insure that investigations by the Internal Affairs Unit are conducted in a manner conducive to public confidence, good order, discipline and good management practices."

Internal Affairs investigates both citizen police complaints (CPCs) and internal complaints that are initiated by APD supervisory officers. The former group of complaints is the focus of this study. There are two types of citizen complaints. Official complaints are those made by a citizen where the complainant provides her or his name, address, telephone number and signs a completed written statement. Complaints can also be official where the complainant refuses to complete a signed statement but the charge is serious enough to warrant investigation or is of a criminal nature. Unofficial complaints are those of a non-criminal nature made by a citizen who refuses to complete a signed statement.

Summary of Findings

We conclude that Internal Affairs has failed in its stated mission. Many citizens of Albuquerque are unaware of the existence or function of the unit. There is a widespread lack of confidence in the operations of the unit and it has failed to provide the citizens of Albuquerque with the possibility of meaningful discipline of officers found culpable of misconduct. The following problems which were found in the IA process serve to reduce public confidence in the citizen complaint process:

  • a failure to adequately publicize the complaint process
  • a failure to meet required time deadlines for completing investigations
  • a failure to hold some officers responsible for admitted misconduct
  • bias against some complainants
  • a failure to completely and thoroughly investigate allegations of misconduct
  • maintenance of an often uncomfortable atmosphere for complainants
  • a failure to maintain high quality complaint files

Evaluation Methodology

Our evaluation of the APD Internal Affairs Unit consisted of seven different parts.

First, we reviewed all citizen complaint (CPC) files for 1994, 1995, and 1996.(IA purges all files after three years). This review included an in-depth audit of every tenth CPC for the three year period.

Second, we surveyed by mail every citizen who had filed a complaint with IA in the past three years (1994-1996).

Third, we interviewed the top command of the APD, including Police Chief Joseph Polisar, Deputy Chief Tim Bourgoine, Captain Carl Ross and Lieutenant Weiland about the operations of IA.

Fourth, we interviewed community leaders and public officials regarding their perception of IA.

Fifth, we interviewed the current Independent Counsel, Patrick V. Apodaca, regarding his working relationship with IA.

Sixth, we included questions about IA in our survey of the rank and file police officers.

Seventh, we arranged unannounced visits to APD Substations to obtain copies of the official brochure explaining the complaint process.

Our review of the IA files was conducted under a confidentiality protocol approved by the City Attorney. We agreed that our review was to focus on general patterns and practices and that no sensitive confidential information about citizens who had filed complaints or police officers was to be disclosed.

The Number of Citizen Complaints

According to the official reports from the APD Internal Affairs Unit, the APD received a total of 82 Citizen Police Complaints (CPCs) in 1995 and 89 in 1996. The Chief of Police and other APD officials cited these figures as being relatively low and as evidence that APD officers are doing a professional job in dealing with citizens.(47)

To put the APD complaint data in perspective, we have computed the complaint rate, expressed as complaints per 100 officers per year, and compared the APD complaint rate with that of other cities. For the year 1995 the APD complaint rate was 10 per 100 officers, and for 1996 the rate was 10.9. As Table 7-1 indicates, the APD complaint rate is low compared with other cities.

Table 7-1: Complaints per 100 Officers

Albuquerque 1996


Albuquerque 1995


Buffalo, 1996


Charlotte, 1996


Buffalo, 1996


Charlotte, 1996


Minneapolis, 1995


Omaha, 1994


Portland, 1995


San Jose, 1995


San Jose, 1994


** See the discussion of these figures below.

Table 7-1 also indicates that there are tremendous variations in official complaint rates.(48) Complaint rate data may lead to very different interpretations. A low number of complaints could be interpreted to mean that police officers in the field are doing a very professional job and engaging in relatively little activity that is likely to generate a citizen complaint. At the same time, however, a low number of complaints could mean that citizens do not file complaints even when they feel they have cause to do so. Citizens may not file complaints because they are not informed about the complaint process, it is inaccessible and difficult to use, they are fearful of retaliation, or they are actively discouraged from filing complaints.

As Table 7-1 indicates, The Police Foundation's "Big Six" study found enormous variation in complaint rates, ranging from a low of 5.5 in Philadelphia to a high of 36.9 in Houston.(49) No one seriously suggests that Houston police officers are six times worse than officers in Philadelphia. Similarly, in the aftermath of the 1991 Rodney King incident, the New York Times reported that the complaint rate in San Francisco was five times higher than in Los Angeles.(50) It is unlikely that San Francisco police officers are five time worse than Los Angeles officers. Along the same lines, the number of complaints filed in New York City increased ten-fold from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s (at which point the number stabilized).(51) The performance of New York City Police officers could not have deteriorated by a factor of ten in that time period.

Given the possibility of completely contradictory interpretations, it is important to emphasize that the data do not speak for themselves. The official complaint rate, standing by itself and taken out of the context of other relevant factors, cannot be regarded as a reliable measure of the quality of a police department relative to other departments.

The Police Foundation study of police use of force, the first national survey of the subject, concluded that "the rate of complaints received by a jurisdiction may be as much a product of citizen confidence in the complaint process as any other factor."(52)

Los Angeles has a very low complaint rate. Not only does Los Angeles not have any form of citizen oversight, but the Christopher Commission found evidence of police officer indifference and/or hostility to citizens attempting to make complaints.(53) Although the LAPD established an 800 number "hot line" to receive citizen complaints, a phone survey by the ACLU found that district police stations gave the number to very few callers.(54) The San Francisco complaint rate is probably five times higher than Los Angeles because it has an independent citizen review procedure (the OCC) which engages in an active program of community outreach (see Chapter Nine). By the same token, the ten-fold increase in the number of complaints filed in New York City was probably due to a series of changes in the complaint process that publicized the process and made it more accessible.(55)

The official number of complaints is also a function of how complaints are recorded by the police department or the citizen review procedure. The number of complaints in Portland is high because they have a policy of recording all complaint inquiries without any screening. Similarly, the number of complaints in San Jose increased significantly after the new Independent Police Auditor recommended a reorganization of the records system. The Minneapolis Civilian Review Authority takes a somewhat different approach. It records formal complaints but also records additional inquiries and contacts with citizens who express a grievance but choose not to fill out a formal complaint. In 1995, for example, there were 146 official complaints and 956 "Contacts Regarding Potential Complaints."(56)

The Complaint Brochure

Our conclusion that the complaint rate in Albuquerque is artificially low is supported by our investigation of the official APD brochure describing the complaint process. We obtained copies of the APD complaint brochure in the offices of the Internal Affairs unit and found copies displayed at the police training facility. English and Spanish language versions exist. Copies are reproduced in the Appendix to this report.

Our interviews with a wide range of community representatives led us to conclude that few if any people are aware of the existence of this brochure. These interviews included individuals one would expect to be most informed about the complaint process: the leaders of community civil rights groups and neighborhood groups, persons who had themselves filed complaints, attorneys in private practice who handle police misconduct cases, and members of City Council. At one point we began directly asking individuals if there was a brochure, without telling them we knew that one existed. In every case, people said they had never seen a brochure. We visited one community center that serves a low-income neighborhood. The center maintains a display case with informational material about a wide range of social services. No copies of the complaint brochure were displayed.

Our interviews with citizens found that most incidents of dissatisfaction with the actions of Albuquerque Police Officers go unreported. This failure apparently results from a lack of information about the existence or function of IA or because, as some community members stated, it is "frustrating" and "a waste of time". Many members of the community appear to be disillusioned with the IA process and disaffected. There is a widespread belief that nothing will happen even if a complaint is filed.

The APD Substation Site Visits

To further investigate this issue we conducted unannounced site visits of four APD Substations. We hired a resident of Albuquerque to visit the four Substations and to ask for a copy of the brochure explaining the complaint process. This person was instructed to give no information about why he/she wanted a copy, and later to make notes about the response of personnel at each Substation (e.g., were any questions asked, was the response prompt, police, hostile, etc.). The site visits were conducted on February 19, 1997.

A copy of the brochure was available at only two of the four APD Substations. At the McWethy Substation, the brochure was readily available on the counter, and our investigator spoke to no one. At the Carillo Substation the brochure was provided in a prompt, courteous, and polite manner. At both the Cline and Chacon Substations, however, our investigator was told that there was no brochure. Our investigator described the reception at the Cline Substation as "hostile."

The results of the Substation site visits are especially disturbing. Displaying copies of the complaint brochure at Substations represents the minimal amount of organizational effort that could be expended. Moreover, the APD has been advised on several occasions to take the necessary steps to ensure that citizens are informed about the complaint process. In 1992, for example, the IC "recommended that the substations be stocked with an adequate supply of the leaflet [describing the complaint process]." The APD assured the IC that "Brochures were available at the substations" and "in all patrol cars."(57)

The Substation site visits raise serious questions about whether rank and file officers in the field adequately inform citizens about the complaint process, as they are required to do.

Ideally, we would have liked to have investigated this issue. We concluded, however, that adequately researching police field practices was not practical. It would have required a large number of citizen-initiated contacts with APD officers in the field in order to get a representative sample. We decided that it was not advisable to consume APD officers's time for this purpose. Serious questions remain, however, about whether officers are informing citizens about the complaint process.

The Responsibility of Other Officials

Responsibility for the failure to properly publicize the complaint process does not lie entirely with the APD. The Public Safety Advisory Board (PSAB) should have studied this problem over the years and recommended corrective action. The Independent Counsel (IC), under its authority to "direct" the complaint investigation process in the APD should have monitored this problem and recommended corrective action.

The APD needs to take immediate steps to see that the public is adequately informed about the complaint process. The IC and the PSAB need to monitor this situation very closely.

We would like to add the cautionary note that publicizing the complaint process will probably lead to an increase in the number of citizen complaints. This should be regarded not as a sign of failure but as a sign of progress. More complaints would mean not that police conduct has worsened but that public confidence has improved. Additionally, it is likely to require more officers for Internal Affairs.

The Sustain Rate

The APD does sustain a relatively high rate of the citizen complaints it receives. In 1996 the APD sustained 22 percent of all citizen complaints, and 17.9 percent in 1995.(The official reports for 1995 give a figure of 16 percent, but our computations indicate that it is actually 17.9 percent [48/268]). According to the Police Foundation the national average for city police departments is 10 percent.(58) The APD is to be commended for this sustain rate.

We would point out, however, that the sustain rate is a function of the total number of complaints. The number of complaints is very low. If the recommendations in this report are implemented, the number of complaints is likely to increase and this may lower the sustain rate in the future.

The command staff also provided us with figures on the number of officers terminated from the APD. Three officers were terminated in 1996 and four officers in 1995. In addition, six officers resigned while disciplinary actions were in process.(59) Thus, it is fair to count them among the total number of officers leaving the APD as a result of the disciplinary process. These numbers indicate that the APD is serious about discipline and is not afraid to terminate officers who are found guilty of misconduct. This effort is to be commended.

Internal Affairs Quarterly Reports

The Quarterly Reports submitted by Internal Affairs contain summary data on the number of CPCs, nature of the charges (e.g., "Attitude," "Unnecessary/Excessive Force,"), the area in which they occurred, and the dispositions (e.g., "unfounded," "sustained"). There is also a chronological list of all complaints. These reports are clear, detailed and easy to read.

We also found that each Quarterly Report contains a narrative description of each complaint, including a summary of the incident, the nature of the charge or charges against the officer, and the disposition of the complaint. The APD is to be commended for making this information available to the public. It represents the kind of "window" into the complaint investigation process that citizen oversight is designed to achieve. In fact, it provides much of the information that citizens have been demanding through the PSAB.

It appears, however, that most people are not aware of the detail in the IA Quarterly Reports. We believe that some of the tension between the APD and the community can be reduced if these reports were more widely disseminated and in particular made the basis of review and discussion by the PSAB. It is not the function of the PSAB to reopen investigations, but the PSAB has the clear mandate to review these reports in order to identify possible problems in the complaint process.

The Quality of Internal Affairs Investigations

We audited IA complaint files to evaluate the quality of complaint investigations. The audit consisted of two parts. First, we conducted a general review of CPC files. Second, we conducted an in-depth evaluation of every tenth citizen complaint for the years of 1994, 1995 and 1996. The criteria for this evaluation included:

(1) whether all citizen and officer witnesses were interviewed; (2) whether Comm/CAD tapes were reviewed; (3) whether there was a focus on procedural and/or legal issues; (4) whether there was any evidence of bias against either citizens or police officers; (5) whether investigations were completed within the required time deadlines, and whether extensions of deadlines were properly requested and observed.

The audit was conducted by Professor Luna who has over twelve years of professional experience with citizen complaint investigations. Professor Luna was the Chief Investigator and Executive Officer in three different complaint review agencies. In these capacities she was Custodian of Record and responsible for the maintenance of investigative files.

Table 7-2: Quality of Complaint Investigations

Quality Number Percent
High 4 17.3
Good 13 56.5
Inadequate 6 26

As Table 7-2 indicates, our sample involved a total of 23 complaint investigations. Of these, four (17.3%) were of very high quality, with much apparent effort made to obtain statements and evidentiary material. Thirteen investigations (52.1%) were of good or adequate quality. In these investigations there appeared to be adequate efforts to obtain information from witnesses and evidentiary material, and a fair assessment of such information obtained. In both of these categories there was no apparent bias against citizen complainants nor was there any failure to consider corroborative statements by officers.

In six cases (26%), however, the investigations were seriously inadequate. The problems included failure to fully investigate the complaint and/or apparent bias against complainants. In three of these six cases, the officer under investigation made statements

that corroborated the complaint, in whole or in part, the allegations of misconduct alleged by the complainant. Yet, these statements were apparently ignored by the IA investigator. In two of the six, the investigator made adverse references about the complainant that were unrelated to the merits of the complaint. In four of the six there was an obvious failure to conduct a thorough investigation of the allegations.

It is not clear to us why admissions of wrongdoing should be ignored when rendering sustained dispositions against subject officers. In the above referenced cases, the admitted misconduct involved discourteous statements and/or profanity by the subject officer. It is exactly this type of behavior which can result in negative community attitudes toward police and may even turn a routine police-citizen contact into a violent one. Failure to consider such behavior in the investigation of misconduct may cause a lack of confidence in the impartiality of the investigation.

The Problem of Timely Complaint Dispositions

The IA Unit operates under a set of time deadlines for completing complaint investigations. These deadlines are set forth in a Memorandum Of Agreement (MOA) between the City of Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Police Officers Association. Section 20 Q of the Agreement states "Any Internal Investigation will be completed within 90 days unless extenuating circumstances can be shown for extending this limit. An extension must be obtained in writing and approved by the Chief of Police. An extension will be for a 30 day period." Although a later section denotes that language in Section 20 will not "prohibit the Department from taking discipline for justifiable cause," it is unclear what effect this language would have on discipline resulting from citizen complaints.

Our audit indicates that the IA Unit is not meeting the required deadlines. A review of complaint time lines was conducted for all citizen complaints received during 1996. Out of a total of 83 complaints, the investigations had been completed in 55. The deadlines established by the MOA were not met in 29 or 53% of these cases. Moreover, in four cases where an extension was obtained pursuant to the MOA, the extended deadline was not met in three.

Although some delay may be attributed to the IC process, this delay does not seem to be a determinative factor in most of the reviewed cases. Of the 29 cases which did not adhere to the disciplinary deadline, only three were apparently attributable to a failure of the IC to respond in a timely manner. In four instances, both the IC and IA failed to address the cases in a manner which would allow them to meet the 90 or 120 day deadline. However in 22 of the 29 cases (76%) the delay appeared to be directly attributable to the failure of the IA Unit to complete their investigation and forward the case to the IC in a timely way. In several instances, the failure to observe the prescribed deadlines could be seen to impact the potential discipline of the subject officer(s). Of the 55 cases reviewed which were received in 1996, 18 had allegations sustained amounting to a 33 percent overall sustained rate. However, in 12 of these 18 cases the disciplinary deadlines were apparently not met. If this number is accurate, the 33 percent sustained rate becomes 11 percent where allegations sustained can actually result in effective discipline. It appears that the department handles those cases not meeting the deadlines through verbal counseling. Although it is not clear that this correlates absolutely, in five of the cases where verbal counseling was deemed appropriate four of these had not met the disciplinary deadline.

Delay in completing complaint investigations was confirmed by other sources representing very different positions with respect to APD. The representatives of three different community organizations told us that the lack of timeliness in complaint disposition was a major problem. The failure to complete investigations quickly was also reflected in our mail survey of complainants. Of 40 survey respondents who reported being unsatisfied with the IA process, 30 (75%) reported that the investigation of their complaints had not been conducted efficiently.

The Finance and Government Operations (FGO) Committee of City Council noted the problem of timeliness at its October 25, 1996 meeting. In 1995 more than half of the complaints received during that year (43 of 82) were not completed and were carried forward into 1996. During the first quarter of 1996, 19 citizen complaints were received but only 9 were completed, leaving a cumulative total of 53 complaints uncompleted.(60) The FGO minutes note that "This Internal Affairs Report is discussing incidents that date back to August of 1995. It appears that there is a backlog of work. They received twice as many claims as are processed in this period."(61)

Finally, the problem of timely disposition of complaints is acknowledged by police officials. Both Chief Polisar and Deputy Chief Bourgoine specifically discussed the failure of IA to complete investigations in a timely manner. Deputy Chief Bourgoine stated to us that the investigative process takes "way too long".

We conclude that the APD needs to take immediate steps to speed up the investigation of citizen complaints and establish goals and timetables for complying with the existing time requirements.

The Quality of Complaint Files

We also evaluated the quality of the IA complaint files in terms of their completeness and degree of organization. This evaluation was based on Professor Luna's twelve years of experience with complaint review procedures in other cities.

We found that the contents of the files were not in any particular order, nor were they bound in any way. Given the condition of the files it is not possible for us to make absolute statements regarding the filing system. However some observations may be of use.

The files consisted of loose papers and documents, with audio tapes in envelopes. In some instances the envelopes were fixed to the file folder but in other instances they were simply loose in the file. Given the condition of the files it is not possible for us to make absolute statements regarding the filing system. However some observations may be of use.

There does not appear to be any face sheet or log used in each file to keep a record of when documents are requested or obtained, when investigations are sent or received from the Independent Counsel, other units of APD, or of upcoming deadlines. There is no apparent system in the file to alert an investigator of the need to request an extension, which may account for the many instances when cases do not meet the disciplinary deadlines. Further, there did not appear to be any notes or other communications from supervisory personnel which indicated that there was any routine oversight of the investigative process.

As indicated by Figure 1 Retention Cards are not present in every IA file. These cards are the permanent record of all discipline and/or commendations received by an APD officer. According to IA personnel, the cards should be included in the IA files.

Although the mandated taping of police-citizen contacts is appropriate and helpful in some instances, the tapes are stored in a somewhat haphazard manner. In some instances the envelopes containing the tapes were fixed to the file folder but in other instances they were simply loose in the file.


The Complainant Satisfaction Survey

As an additional means of evaluating the quality of IA investigations, we sent a mail survey to every person who had filed a complaint in the past three years (1994-1996). This represented the equivalent of a consumer satisfaction survey, designed to determine the attitudes of people who actually use a particular service.

We mailed surveys to a total of 205 complainants. There were 56 responses, for a response rate of 27 percent. This response rate is far from ideal, but previous attempts to conduct similar surveys have also encountered low response rates.(62)

Forty-three percent of the survey respondents were Caucasian/White and 41 percent were Mexican-American/Hispanic. Four percent of the respondents were Black/African-American. This distribution approximates the demographics of the population of Albuquerque. Only two percent of the respondents identified themselves as Native American, which is significantly less than the community population. Approximately 56 percent were male and 40 percent female, with 4 percent omitting this information. The greatest percentage (40%) were in the 30 to 40 age range.

Overall, 61 percent of survey respondents reported that they were treated fairly and with respect during the complaint process. Over 75 percent of those who responded to the survey reported that IA did not try to discourage them from filing their complaints. Meanwhile, over 54 percent reported that they felt comfortable when they filed their complaint. This changes with respect to gender, however. Approximately 55 percent of the male respondents reported feeling uncomfortable during the filing period compared with 44 percent of the female respondents.

Correspondingly, 78 percent of the respondents reported that they were unsatisfied with the results of the investigation of their complaint. Of the 14 percent of the complainants who appealed the decision of the complaint process, over 86 percent were not satisfied with the result.

Interestingly enough, there appears to be little correlation between the feeling of dissatisfaction and the ultimate disposition. Of those six complainants with sustained allegations who responded to the survey, half were satisfied with the IA investigation and half were unsatisfied. Timeliness in completing investigations seems to have more impact of feelings of satisfaction with the process.

One of the most remarkable aspects of our survey was that eight people made long-distance calls to the Consultants upon receiving the questionnaire. (Our telephone numbers were given in the letter explaining the survey). These unsolicited calls were marked by dissatisfaction with the IA process and some anger. We found it remarkable that this number of people would incur the cost to phone in order to give their input into the study. One caller had read a newspaper report during the fall that such a study was being contracted and had contacted City Hall at that time to volunteer himself as a contact. He was particularly irate that no one had followed up on this information and transmitted his name to us.

The Issue of "Problem" Officers

One of the most important advances in police accountability in recent years involves early warning systems (EWS) for problem officers. Research on citizen complaints has consistently found that in every department a small number of officers receive a disproportionate number of all complaints. This issue is discussed in detail in Chapter Nine.

A number of the people we interviewed indicated that a similar pattern exists within the ranks of the APD. When we asked them if the names of certain officers continued to appear in use of force or complaint incidents, all said yes. One criminal defense attorney maintains an informal list of officers whose names repeatedly appear in controversial incidents. One community activist estimated that there were about 30 really bad officers in the APD. Command officers in the APD estimated that about 2 percent of the officers (or about 16 total) had recurring problems. We regard this as a remarkable consensus of opinion.

The APD is in the process of establishing an early warning system. The commanders of Internal Affairs indicated that they had been researching the concept and would welcome any suggestions we might have. We strongly urge the APD to give top priority to the development of an early warning system in the weeks and months ahead. With respect to the intervention aspect, we advise against the system prevailing in some cities where the officer meets privately with his or her immediate supervisor. We recommend considering the San Jose system under which the officer meets with the Chief of Police, the commander of Internal Affairs, and his or her immediate supervisor.

Police Officer Perceptions of Internal Affairs

The survey of APD officers revealed mixed opinions regarding the operations of internal affairs (IA) and IA relative to the existing external oversight mechanisms.

Half (50.2%) of the officers surveyed had a citizen complaint filed against them in the last three years. About half of these officers had only one complaint filed against them. A very small number of officers had received multiple complaints. Two reported eight complaints, one reported nine complaints, and four officers reported receiving ten citizen complaints in the last three years. These data are consistent with the pattern found in other police departments across the country. Many police officers do not receive citizen complaints, and most of those who do receive a complaint receive only one.

Only 12.4 percent of the officers had a citizen complaint sustained against them. This is consistent with national data indicating that about 10 percent of all complaints are sustained. Officers have mixed feelings about the impact of a citizen complaint. About a third of the officers (36.8%) feel that a citizen complaints can affect their chances for promotion, while 42.2% feel that they do not. Most officers (61.2%) feel that citizen complaints affect their actions on the street, while 36.3% feel that they do not.

In terms of the specific impact of a citizen complaint, officers expressed concern about three consequences: a civil suit, a reprimand, and a tarnished reputation. A minority of officers (9.7%) felt that a complaint is "no big deal."

One of the serious problems affecting police departments in the United States today is racial and ethnic conflict among rank and file police officers. Such conflict undermines the morale of officers and is a barrier to professional policing. In some departments this conflict has risen to the level of physical violence. A common source of conflict is the perception of African American or Hispanic officers of bias in the department's disciplinary process. Because of its potential seriousness, we made an effort to determine whether such a problem exists within the APD.

Our survey, together with informal discussions with rank and file officers and people outside the APD, leads us to conclude that there is not a serious problem of racial and ethnic conflict within the department. Many people we talked with stated that it is just "not a problem." The exception to this rule was one veteran officer who claimed that Hispanic officers are disproportionately subjected to discipline by the APD command staff. We could not find any substantial evidence to support this allegation, however. There were no significant differences in responses to the questions on our survey based on race or ethnicity. For example, there were no significant differences in whether white, Hispanic, or African American officers felt satisfied with their job, or how they perceived Internal Affairs.

We believe that this is a significant achievement, and that the APD is to be commended for maintaining a diverse work force and an atmosphere of racial and ethnic harmony.

We did, however, hear many comments from officers and people outside the APD that there is a pattern of favoritism in complaint investigations. There were many comments about the existence of an "old boy" network within the department. This problem does not seem to involve ethnic or racial divisions, however. A significant number of officers did indicate that they wanted fairer investigations.

Our survey indicates that there is a solid group of APD officers who actually want more rather than less discipline. As Table 7-3 indicates, of the 103 officers who answered the open-ended question on improvements in Internal Affairs, 79 percent indicated that they wanted more discipline. Meanwhile, 88 percent of those answering the question indicated that they wanted fairer discipline.

We regard these officers as a particularly significant group. They represent a cadre of officers who have a distinctly professional attitude. Unlike most of their colleagues, they have thought about the issue of discipline, took the trouble to express their opinion, and indicated that they want more discipline. In short, they want the Albuquerque Police Department to be a better police department.

Table 7-3


The Internal Affairs Unit of the APD is in need of significant improvement in several areas. The APD receives a low number of complaints because the complaint process is not adequately publicized. There are a number of problems with complaint investigations, as revealed by our audit of the quality of the files and our complainant satisfaction survey.

On the positive side Internal Affairs does sustain a relatively high rate of the complaints it does receive. IA also publishes detailed information about individual complaints in its Quarterly Reports. Although citizens have been demanding more information about complaint investigations, neither the PSAB nor other officials have utilized the information that IA is presently making available.

Also on the positive side, there does not appear to be a pattern of ethnic or racial bias in IA investigations. There is some indication of a pattern of favoritism, involving an "old boy" network, but this does not appear to reflect race or ethnicity.

Finally, there are a significant number of officers who want more discipline, fairer discipline, and are not opposed to citizen oversight. This is a promising indicator of a professional attitude among a core group of APD officers. We believe that these officers provide the foundation for future efforts to correct the problems we have identified with Internal Affairs.

47. APD Internal Affairs, Quarterly Reports, 1995, 1996.

48. Kenneth Adams, "Measuring the Prevalence of Police Abuse of Force," in W. A. Geller and H. Toch, eds., And Justice For All: Understanding and Controlling Police Abuse of Force (Washington: Police Executive Research Forum, 1995), pp. 61-97. Anthony M. Pate and Lorie A. Fridell, Police Use of Force: Official Reports, Citizen Complaints, and Legal Consequences, 2

Vols. (Washington: The Police Foundation, 1993), pp. 34-36.

49. Anthony M. Pate and Edwin E. Hamilton, The Big Six: Policing America's Largest Cities (Washington: The Police Foundation, 1991).

50. "Police Attacks: Hard Crimes to Uncover, Let Alone Stop," The New York Times (March 24, 1991): IV, 4.

51. Ronald Kahn, "Urban Reform and Police Accountability in New York City, 1950-1974," in R. Lineberry and L. Masotti, eds., Urban Problems and Public Policy (Lexington: Lexington Books, 1975).

52. Pate and Fridell, Police Use of Force, V. I, p. 35.

53. Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department [Christopher Commission], Final Report (Los Angeles, 1991).

54. ACLU- Southern California, The Call for Change Goes Unanswered (Los Angeles: ACLU-SC, 1992).

55. Kahn, "Urban Reform and Police Accountability in New York City, 1950-1974."

56. Minneapolis Civilian Review Authority, 1995 Annual Report (Minneapolis, 1996).

57. Independent Counsel, Report for the Quarter Ended June 30, 1992, pp. 6-7.

58. Anthony M. Pate and Lorie M. Fridell, Police Use of Force (Washington: The Police Foundation, 1993).

59. Personal communication from Deputy Chief Tim Bourgoine, APD.

60. FGO Minutes, October 25, 1996.

61. Ibid .

62. A similar survey in Kansas City produced a response rate of 32 percent (65 responses from 201 surveys). Kansas City, Office of the City Auditor, Preliminary Review - Kansas City, Missouri Police Department (Kansas City: June 1996), p. 194.