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APD and Local Leaders Meet with U.S. Marshals Service Director

Leaders address warrant backlog and gaps in the criminal justice system

Wed. Jan. 12, 2023

ALBUQUERQUE – APD Chief Harold Medina and Mayor Tim Keller emphasized the need for a strong partnership to address Bernalillo County’s warrant backlog during a meeting today with U.S. Marshals Service Director Ronald L. Davis.

Albuquerque is one of 10 cities that Director Davis is visiting to meet with local law enforcement leaders and discuss crime challenges. The guests at today’s meeting included State Police Chief Tim Johnson, BCSO Sheriff John Allen, U.S. Marshal for the District of New Mexico Sonya K. Chavez, and U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico Alex Uballez, among many others.

The group discussed the urgent need to tackle the nearly 5,000 outstanding felony warrants in Bernalillo County

“The U.S. Marshals Service is a strong crime-fighting partner,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “With their help, we can clear this warrant backlog and make meaningful and immediate progress in lowering crime.”

“This warrant backlog has always existed,” said Chief Harold Medina. “We need to be bold think outside of the box to clear these warrants. These drivers of crime need to be in jail, not roaming the streets and thinking nobody is looking for them.”

“The benefit of this visit was to understand what is happening in New Mexico and how the U.S. Marshals Service can assist in addressing violent crime in the state,” said the Honorable Ronald L. Davis, Director U.S. Marshals Service. “The more we are strategic, the more we are evidence-based, the more that we are community driven and community centered, the better the response will be in apprehending violent fugitives and holding them accountable.”

During the meeting, attendees discussed a multitude of topics impacting criminal justice, among them were exploring voluntary warrant surrender days, judges addressed possibly adding alternative courts and programs, mental and behavioral health assistance, assessing drivers of crime, and the importance of officer and community safety when serving warrants.

The group also discussed the city’s request to legislators for a $20 million warrant fund to help clear the backlog, an increase from the original $10 million dollar legislative ask previously announced. In discussions today, all areas of the criminal justice system expressed the need for funding to support clearing the backlog. This fund would be used to support the personnel overtime needed to reduce the backlog, without having an impact on the number of officers in the field.

Mayor Keller also highlighted the Metro Crime Initiative during the meeting with Director Davis. Through the creation of MCI in 2021, key items have been addressed, but there is a still a long way to go to fix the criminal justice system. The group discussed gaps in the system and what can be done at the ground level and through the assistance of legislation.

The Metro Crime Initiative also includes several policy and budget requests, including support for officer recruitment and retention, increased funding for narcotics investigations, stronger penalties for gun crimes and expanding resources to combat domestic violence. 

In November, the City outlined its 2023 policy priorities for MCI in the upcoming session. You can read the priority list, here.

 B-roll of the discussion can be found here.

 Below is a list of attendees at today’s discussion:

  • Mayor Tim Keller, City of Albuquerque
  • Isaac Benton, Chairman, Albuquerque City Council
  • Sam Bregman, District Attorney, Second Judicial District
  • Adriana Barboa, Bernalillo County Commissioner
  • Julie Morgas Baca, Bernalillo County Manager
  • The Honorable Maria Dominguez, Chief Judge, Metropolitan Court
  • The Honorable Mari Ward, Chief Judge, NM District Court
  • Marian Matthews, NM State Representative
  • Representatives from Senator Ben Ray Lujan’s Office
  • Representatives from Senator Martin Heinrich’s Office

Law Enforcement Partners

  • S. Attorney Alex Uballez
  • Chief Harold Medina, Albuquerque Police Department
  • Sheriff John Allen, Bernalillo County Sheriffs Office
  • Chief Tim Johnson, New Mexico State Police
  • Secretary Jason Bowie, New Mexico Department of Public Safety
  • SAC Greg Millard, DEA
  • SAC Raul Bujanda, FBI
  • SAC Brendan Iber, ATF
  • DSAC JT Stevens, HSI
  • Director Will Glaspy, NM HIDTA