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Metro Crime Initiative Meets for Second Session Focused on Early Intervention

System experts and community stakeholders gathered to examine and develop recommendations to strengthen criminal justice system.

July 29, 2021

Mayor Tim Keller’s Metro Crime Initiative convened yesterday afternoon for its second session and first topic-based discussion, using a case study to examine systems of early intervention and develop targeted recommendations to strengthen the criminal justice system. The discussion involved government officials and leaders, early intervention experts from within the justice and law enforcement systems, and community liaisons.

“We're looking for specific, collective asks that we can make of the state, the metro area, or anywhere in between to fill in gaps in the system and keep people from falling through the cracks,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “I'm confident that we're bringing the right people and institutions together to come up with actionable solutions, things we can do right now to support key players in the early intervention space.”

The case study, which follows a young adult named Kelly as they move through the local criminal justice system, gives a realistic situation for participants to consider and provokes ideas on how the criminal justice system can approach crime and root causes differently. This session, focusing on early intervention, aimed to dissect how the behavioral health system operates to address factors of crime. With the help of a facilitator, the session allowed participants to candidly explore current early intervention efforts, roadblocks, and opportunities, and sought input from all attendees on their thoughts and potential solutions.

“What we see in this case study is an individual at the most critical point of intervention, because if we get it right here, we render all other steps unnecessary,” said Max Kauffman, an attorney with Disability Rights New Mexico. “This is why funding and staffing programs that provide trauma-informed peer support workers, trained in de-escalation and relationship building, is an immediate, impactful step we can take to address this crucial point of intervention.”

“We’re all too familiar with the snowball effect that often happens at this early stage in cycles of crime. This new department, Albuquerque Community Safety, is focused on stepping in and stopping that progression in its tracks,” said Mariela Ruiz-Angel, Director, Albuquerque Community Safety Department. “When our behavioral health responders go out into the field, their goal is to connect people to long term services, but we need those service to be ready when our responders make referrals and transfers. That means investing in providers and programs so that we can create a stronger continuum of care that helps people thrive instead of survive.”

“Right now we’re in a different situation than we’re used to, we have ample funds available to invest in things we know make a difference.” said New Mexico State Representative Moe Maestas. “We’ve done a better job of documentation and collecting data to quantify evidenced based programming, and now it’s time to invest in those proven programs, to increase capacity and continue to serve a growing number of people in need.”  

The full session can be viewed here.

The panel included representatives from:

  • Albuquerque City Council 
  • Albuquerque Community Safety Department
  • Albuquerque Police Department
  • Bernalillo County Department of Behavioral Health Services
  • Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court
  • Bernalillo County Public Defender’s Office
  • Disability Rights New Mexico
  • New Mexico House of Representatives
  • New Mexico State Senate
  • Violence Intervention Program

The third session of the Metro Crime Initiative, exploring detention, diversion, and hearings, will be held on Friday, August 13 at 2:30 p.m. All sessions are streamed live on One Albuquerque Media, GOV-TV 16 YouTube.