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APD makes changes to Discipline System

The Albuquerque Police Department made significant changes to its discipline process to ensure fair and consistent disciplinary action is taken for substantiated policy violations against employees.

July 30, 2021

The Albuquerque Police Department made significant changes to its discipline process to ensure fair and consistent disciplinary action is taken for substantiated policy violations against employees. The changes were approved this week by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The new standard operating procedure is based on progressive discipline that includes the nature of the sustained violation, the employee’s disciplinary history, and applicable mitigating and aggravating factors.

“I made this a top priority for APD because most of our officers work hard every day and strive to do the right thing under challenging circumstances,” APD Chief Harold Medina said. “They deserve a fair discipline process that differentiates between misconduct and mistakes that can be corrected.”

“This new system also addresses disciplinary issues that were raised in the last report by the independent monitors,” said Superintendent of Reform Sylvester Stanley. “We can expect better outcomes as we move forward with the reform process.”

There is now a chart of sanctions that identifies levels of disciplinary action to be imposed based on the classification of the offense, and prior disciplinary history of the identified policy violations.

A category has been created for performance violations, such as missing court or turning in late reports, and another for misconduct, such as lack of truthfulness or an out-of-policy use of force.

This means that if an employee had a previously sustained violation, it is considered performance. If an individual has a sustained violation for a misconduct violation, they would not count against one another. In the former version of the SOP, every sustained violation was counted the same towards progressive discipline.

The discipline matrix was also adjusted to be more clear, and easier to apply discipline. Additionally, the matrix allows for occurrences of multiple violations to be more fair and consistent.