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Albuquerque Metro Crime Initiative: 2022 Legislative Session Priorities

January 19, 2022

Major pieces of the Albuquerque Metro Crime Initiative (MCI) agenda are primed to move forward in the 30-day New Mexico legislative session. Bills addressing MCI priorities, including expanding the CABQ Violence Intervention Program, launching a statewide task force on officer retention and recruiting, strengthening penalties for crimes involving a firearm, and closing gaps in the pre-trial detention system, are expected to be heard. High priority capital requests related to MCI include funding for the next phases of the Gateway Center and expansion of behavioral health facilities in Albuquerque.  

“Our communities can’t wait any longer for results, for laws that keep violent offenders off the streets and access to behavioral health and addiction treatment for those in need,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “There isn’t one solution to crime, there are many, and we have a duty to pursue them all with determination and urgency. We’re owning our part of the solution in Albuquerque, and we’re asking our partners in the state to enact the reforms and investments we need to turn the tide. This year, real solutions are finally on the table.”

Convened by Mayor Keller in the summer of 2021, the Metro Crime Initiative brought together public safety leaders from across the state, including the Governor’s office, Attorney General, District Attorney, Public Defender, representatives from the courts, law enforcement, and behavioral health experts to develop a list of 40 action items to implement in the short-term to make a lasting impact on crime.

While some of these items are being pursued between agencies and partners now, many require legislative action and state investments. As the 2022 session begins, the Metro Crime Initiative agenda is the top priority for the Keller administration. With MCI partners, the administration will be supporting legislative sponsors and advocating to enact these solutions.

The following Metro Crime legislation is being introduced in this legislative session:

  • Expand Violence Intervention Program (VIP)

Rep. Gail Chasey

Create a statewide Violence Intervention Program and increase funding for CABQ Violence Intervention Program. The VIP program in Albuquerque has been exceptionally successful at breaking cycles of violence. Individuals at risk of committing or recommitting gun violence are identified and contacted with individual outreach and resources to help them out of violent situations. Less than 5% of those involved in the VIP program reoffend. 

  • Penalty Enhancements for the Criminal use of Firearms
    Sen. Martin Hickey

Penalty Enhancements for brandishing a firearm in commission of a crime. Recognizing the present danger that those who use a firearm in a crime pose to lives in our communities, enhancing penalties for these crimes serves as a means of deterring criminal firearm use and strengthening accountability for offenders.

  • Prevent Firearm Charges from Being Plead Out

Rep. Miguel Garcia

Once a charge of brandishing a firearm in a crime is charged in an indictment, it can’t be bargained away. A means of deterrence and accountability to keep dangerous offender out of our communities, this legislation ensures that those who use a firearm in a crime, will face the legal penalty for doing so.

  • Taskforce to Examine Officer Retention and Recruitment
    Rep. Pamelya Herndon

Create a task force to examine officer retention and lateral recruitment programs and opportunities for all police agencies in New Mexico. As police departments around the nation face staffing shortages, opportunities and strategies to increase staffing across the state should be identified and pursued rather than leaving agencies in New Mexico to compete.  

  • ‘Chop Shop’ Criminalization
    Rep. Meredith Dixon

This legislation would criminalize the operation of an auto shop that dismantles stolen vehicles. These shops are a key link in the auto theft market and must be addressed in our city’s work to continue lowering auto theft rates.

  • Examine Gun Violence as Public Health Issue

Rep. Day Hochman-Vigil

Support the creation of office to examine gun violence as a public health issue. The rise of gun violence in New Mexico needs a proactive response. While we work to strengthen accountability for those who commit violence, we also must understand and address root causes.

  • Require Gun Owners to Secure Weapons

Rep. Pamelya Herndon

Following the tragic death of Bennie Hargrove, this legislation requires gun owners to secure firearms to keep them out of the reach of children and unauthorized users.

  • Pre-Trial Rebuttable Presumption of Detention
    Rep. Marian Matthews

Establishing a pre-trial rebuttable presumption of dangerousness when an offender is charged with certain violent crimes is a key element of closing the criminal ‘revolving door’. Enacting it would ensure that those accused of violent crimes are not re-released into the community while awaiting trial if they could pose a threat to others.   

  • Close Loopholes in Extreme Risk Protection Order
    Rep. Joy Garratt and Rep. Damon Ely

Close loopholes in the Extreme Risk Protection Order reporting requirements to allow for mental health care professionals’ input and to allow officers to be a reporting party when courts are considering the imminent danger of gun violence.

In addition to these legislative actions, the City of Albuquerque is working with partners to secure public safety funding for MCI and City priorities including:

  • Mobile Speed Enforcement technology
  • Repairs and modernization to APD facilitates, including APD Main and the APD Academy
  • Renovations to the Gibson Health Hub and Gateway Center to provide needed housing and behavioral health services
  • City-wide expansion of street lighting
  • Increase in staffing and capacity of court system, including specialty courts
  • Create a 24/7 sobering center for central New Mexico
  • Adequately fund the GPS 24/7 pre-trial monitoring system
  • Reinvest in behavioral health system statewide
  • Increased outpatient treatment for individuals returning from incarceration

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Participants in the Metro Crime Initiative include Mayor Tim Keller, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Attorney General Hector Balderas, Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez, Chief Public Defender Ben Baur, members of the New Mexico Senate and House of Representatives, Albuquerque City Council members, Bernalillo County Officials, representatives from First Nations, representatives from the Metro and District Courts, the Albuquerque Police Department, the New Mexico State Police, the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance, the New Mexico Crime Victims Reparations Commission, the Albuquerque Community Safety Department, Serenity Mesa, Endorphin Power, Crossroads for Women, Women in Leadership representatives from Central New Mexico Community College, New Mexico Highlands University, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque Public Schools, and ABC Schools.

While each individual Metro Crime Initiative item is not unanimously supported by the broad table of participants in MCI, every item has support from multiple partners and is being pursued cooperatively in the legislative session and between agencies.