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Thousands of ABQ Residents Participate in Shaping New Community Safety Department

New report details results of public input for department that partners with community to make neighborhoods safer.

Feb. 18, 2021

 

Over the course of a six-month public engagement process, thousands of Albuquerque residents weighed in to help shape the future of Albuquerque’s first-of-its-kind Community Safety department. The department, launched by Mayor Tim Keller last year, aims to send the right response at the right time by dispatching unarmed first responders trained in behavioral health and on-scene assistance to calls for non-life-threatening crisis-related scenarios. Depending on the situation, these trained professionals such as social workers, may be dispatched alongside police and fire.

 

The public engagement effort brought residents directly into the planning and vision for the new department. It included more than 2,800 survey responses, 1,000 public comments, 100 stakeholder meetings and seven virtual, facilitated events with more than 400 people. Department leaders also presented the concept at dozens of local and national meetings or events where they heard from community leaders, advocates, and experts in related fields.

 

“ACS is truly groundbreaking, so as we shape this new approach to community safety, it’s critical to hear directly from the community about their needs and wants. While many ci ties are only now waking up to these issues, this is a challenge we’ve been working on for years, and we are delivering on the public’s desire for de-escalation and innovation,” said Mayor Tim Keller.

 

Click here to read the full engagement report.

 

“Having meaningful and inclusive community input early on in the development stages of ACS has been critical in shaping the design and implementation process,” said ACS Coordinator Mariela Ruiz-Angel. “More importantly, it helped us build bridges to a stronger and trusting relationship with our partners, behavioral health experts, and the greater Albuquerque community.”

 

The report outlines the dozens of groups that department and administration leaders met with for input and summarizes the findings of the survey, public comments, and virtual facilitated engagement events.

 

Among other findings, the report highlights what the community sees as the top five issues for the new department: Homelessness, Needle Pickup, Welfare Checks, Suicide Threats or Attempts, and Mental/Behavioral Health.

 

The process also identified public priorities for the skillsets of future department responders, training, co-response potential with APD and AFR, and the importance of partnering with existing resources to deliver the right services where needed.