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June 7, 2020 Coronavirus Updates and Resources

This week, Mayor Tim Keller announced: Update on APD Reform; Human Rights Board Convened Special Meeting on Racism; PPE Care Packages Available to Small Businesses; Locker #505 Comes Through With Last-Minute Clothing Donation; City Updates; Civil Rights Information; and Residents Resources.

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Fellow Burqueños,

As communities here at home and around the nation grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, alongside the long legacy of racial injustice that reached a tipping point with the murder of George Floyd, there is no doubt this is a pivotal moment for our city, state, and country.

While these challenges are happening all across America and the globe, here in Albuquerque we are carving out our own path forward.

These crises revealed cracks in the system. In our city, they also revealed our strengths. We are no stranger to tough challenges, and with our trademark resilience, several years ago we started down the long road of equity, inclusion, and reform.

When coronavirus struck, many Burqueños were rightly fearful for their lives and livelihoods. We quickly ramped up work we’ve been doing for years to build a safety net for the most vulnerable. The City has delivered over 100,000 meals for seniors, childcare for working families, rental assistance, and medical care for the homeless. We invested in helping hundreds of local businesses stay afloat, saving countless jobs.

Albuquerque is a national model in centering equity in regional crisis response, with our Equity and Inclusion team—who previously helped thousands of refugees travel legally and with dignity through Albuquerque--now helping manage our response through the Emergency Operations Center so no one was left behind. We didn’t wait for others to figure it out for us. Hand-in-hand with the efforts of the public, community groups, and the State, these quick actions saved lives.

The disproportionate effects of coronavirus on communities of color were drastically compounded when America was rocked by the heinous murder of George Floyd, just weeks after Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. Although these murders took place elsewhere, it does not mean Albuquerque is exempt from anti-Black and racist behaviors, or a past history of a troubled relationship between the police department and our people.

Our administration is steering the effort to restore trust between APD and our community. We know how important that trust is to fighting violent crime, and just how fragile it can be. It’s not just about all of our work engaging with neighborhood leaders, business owners, and people in need. It’s also about how we respond to the events that test our values, progress and resolve; and about learning from mistakes, and continuing to push for change.

Rightful pain and anger has poured out of our communities over the last weeks. Protesting is a constitutional right, and these injustices demand action. We understand that, and we are listening. APD is fulfilling its duty to keep the public safe through twin goals of de-escalation to prevent violence and enforcement when violence is imminent.

Fortunately, so far, protests here are mostly peaceful. APD works hard on traffic control and other measures to keep protestors, neighborhoods, and businesses safe. The property damage and shots fired we’ve seen came from small groups of agitators who distracted from all that protestors are trying to convey.

Some cities responded by attempting curfews or calling in the National Guard. In almost all cases, these actions fueled, rather than tempered, civil unrest. We are evaluating the situation daily and call on the public to carry forward with peaceful protest.

Many will remember when the Department of Justice stepped in five years ago to oversee APD. When our administration came into office, we embraced reform. That work continues today – even while some law enforcement agencies still resist commonsense tools like body cameras.

There is so much more to do - there always will be – but we’ve implemented dozens of meaningful changes. We started by changing APD leadership and a focus on community policing, created a dedicated compliance bureau, reformed internal investigations, and overhauled use of force policies. We’re implementing anti-racism training and participating in diversion programs. APD’s peer-to-peer ethical training means no officer believes it’s acceptable to stand by while another officer harms someone, like we saw in Minneapolis.

Some cities are only now waking up to the need for change. Albuquerque has a long way to go, but we’re ahead of our peer cities because we dedicated ourselves to change.

As we both re-open our city and renew our commitment to justice, Albuquerque is carving out our own path forward. We will do what’s right for all who live here, for constitutional community policing, for our kids, and for our local businesses. This journey is long, but we are taking it together with resolve and passion as one united Albuquerque.

Stay safe, Albuquerque,

-Mayor Tim Keller

This week, Mayor Tim Keller announced:

  • Update on APD Reform
  • Human Rights Board Convened Special Meeting on Racism
  • PPE Care Packages Available to Small Businesses
  • Locker #505 Comes Through With Last-Minute Clothing Donation
  • City Updates
  • Civil Rights Information
  • Residents Resources