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Mayor Tim Keller Supports Legislative Push for Statewide Police Reforms

Calls on legislature to enact commonsense policies already in place in Albuquerque like body-worn cameras, banning chokeholds, tracking use of force incidents

June 19, 2020

Over the last two years, Mayor Tim Keller’s administration has been engaged in changing the City’s approach to public safety, including extensive reform efforts at the Albuquerque Police Department. Now, Mayor Keller is calling on State Legislative leaders to use the Special Session to make police reform a statewide effort and create a new standard for community policing.

“More than two years ago, we decided to face these challenges head on in Albuquerque. While we still have a long road ahead of us, we have firsthand experience with the positive change that can come from commonsense police reform solutions like body-worn cameras—which have not been adopted by every law enforcement agency in the state—and the end of violent tactics like chokeholds that put too many lives at risk. I appreciate the Governor and the legislature for tackling these challenges, and adding to the momentum for change that is so needed in our communities as we confront these legacies of structural racism,” said Mayor Tim Keller.

In Albuquerque under Mayor Keller’s administration, reform began with new leadership at the Police Department and embracing the process of DOJ reforms which had stalled out. The administration created a dedicated compliance department, reformed internal affairs, overhauled use of force policies, implemented cultural competency and ethical policing training, and launched violence intervention and diversion programs to keep young people out of the criminal justice system. The administration has also been focused on reducing gun violence, which is a key denominator in violent crime.

And on Monday, Albuquerque became one of the first cities in the nation to create a third branch of first responders – alongside police and fire departments - to deliver a civilian public health approach to public safety. The Albuquerque Community Safety department is an innovative model that will send the right resource to the right call—especially where a social worker or trained professional can connect people with the services they need.

While many details remain to be worked out on specific legislative proposals, there is broad public support for banning chokeholds, requiring body-worn cameras, and creating a centralized process to report and track use of force incidents in a transparent way.

Click here to read local coverage on the announcement of the Albuquerque Community Safety Department.