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Mayor Keller Hosts Town Hall on APD Transformation

November 13, 2018

Mayor Tim Keller, Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair, and Senior Advisor for Public Safety James Lewis joined with APD Chief Mike Geier, Independent Monitor James Ginger and U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson to provide a public update about the ongoing effort to transform the Albuquerque Police Department.

The Town Hall was an opportunity for the public to engage with efforts to transform APD including efforts led by Mayor Keller’s administration to move the department closer to constitutional, community policing outlined in a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

“We are putting community policing into everything we do at APD,” Mayor Keller said. “We have long road ahead, but we are hiring new officers to patrol neighborhoods, block-by-block, and it’s starting to make a difference in lowering crime. Just as important, we embraced the need to change the culture and transform APD.”

The Town Hall was held a week after the latest status report by the Independent Monitor who is overseeing the settlement agreement. The monitor reported that APD is in 99.6% primary compliance with the agreement, and in 59.2% operational compliance, which means field personnel either perform tasks required by the agreement, or that, when they fail, supervisory personnel note and correct the behavior.

Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair commented on the latest report saying, “Major change is how we are approaching the transformation. We are being more methodical, more data-based, and more strategic. We are looking at other police departments who have been successful in transforming, but then tailoring those approaches to our own needs.”

APD has made substantial progress by developing a new use-of-force policy, hiring experienced leaders and moving toward community-based, problem-oriented policing designed to address community concerns and priorities.

“I am more confident than ever that we can ensure all officers have the tools and motivation to always practice Constitutional, community policing,” Chief Geier said.

Mayor Keller said APD had to overcome resistance to change from those who wanted to keep the status quo.

“There’s no doubt, we were starting in a hole because there was mistrust and frustration among all the parties. Policies had been adopted and crossed off a checklist, but they weren't working for our community or our officers,” Mayor Keller said. “It will be a long road but, we have started to embrace real change, invested resources and we are applying the lessons we’ve learned from the monitors and best practices from police departments that have evolved through similar transformations.”

View the status report here.