scp-photo

APD meeting reform goals, increasing officer morale

July 27, 2022

ALBUQUERQUE – APD Chief Harold Medina highlighted recent successes in the department’s reform process, along with other improvements to help with officer morale, that are helping to retain experienced officers and recruit new officers.

 

APD highlighted several successes during Tuesday’s federal court hearing on the status of the Court-Approved Settlement Agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. As a result of those successes, the City of Albuquerque and DOJ reached an agreement to remove nearly a quarter of oversight requirements.

 

“Officers are encouraged that their efforts to improve APD are being recognized, and we are moving away from complete federal oversight of the department,” Chief Medina said. “We are seeing fewer officers resign or retire, and we are getting more attention from recruits who may not want to join a department that has been under so much outside scrutiny.”

 

Officer Retention

APD experienced 23% fewer officer retirements, resignations and terminations so far this year than the department had at this time in 2021. As with most police departments, APD faced challenges in keeping experienced officers in 2020 and 2021. In addition to the pandemic, increasing crime and handling dozens of protests, APD was dealing with an unpopular settlement agreement.

 

            2019 – 21 retirements, 21 resignations, 3 terminations

            2020 – 46 retirements, 27 resignations, 10 terminations

            2021 – 97 retirements, 58 resignations, 8 terminations

            2022 YTD – 33 retirements, 31 resignations, 2 terminations

 

Recruitment Campaign

APD recently launched a series of video advertisements that ran on local channels, on the department’s social media platforms and out of state.

Since the launch of the ads that feature recently graduated cadets, 911 Operators and Dispatchers, Police Service Aids and lateral officers, there has been significant feedback from the community and applicants. Through the hiring process, applicants stated the diversity of “non-traditional” officers featured in the ads made them feel more accepted and encouraged to apply.

 

The department has also highlighted the benefits of living and working in Albuquerque as a police officer. Not only have we highlighted a lower cost of living, but also the incentives officers receive to include hiring bonuses and take home vehicles.

 

To reach a broader and younger audience, APD also launched a TikTok account to provide a more personal connection to the department, its officers and the executive staff. A strong emphasis of the account is for recruiting purposes and to show recruits the benefits of joining APD and becoming a part of the Albuquerque Community.

 

 

Discipline

APD has been tracking discipline over the last few quarters and the data shows suspensions have decreased and the use of non-disciplinary corrective action has increased, meaning more training, and or counseling.

 

 

2021 Q1

2021 Q2

2021 Q3

2021 Q4

2022 Q1

2022 Q2

Written Reprimand

74

59

68

39

68

63

Suspension

62

68

55

53

28

27

Verbal Reprimand

71

33

29

17

21

28

NDCA

28

26

44

57

43

47

Termination

7

20

8

9

1

6

 

Automatic OBRD WiFi Uploads

APD is using new technology for on-body recording devices that will help officers prevent the two most violated policies in the department: failing to upload videos by subsequent shift and failing to record a mandatory recording encounter (usually not capturing the entire event.)

 

APD is currently testing automatic uploads of videos. This will happen when an officer is in a substation. Any videos that are recorded will begin to automatically upload via Wi-Fi. The officer will not have to plug their camera into a docking station in order to upload videos once this is complete.

 

APD is also pursuing a new technology that will allow the department to set a boundary (Geo-fencing) on a call. When an officer is dispatched to a call for service and they are within a set distance from that call, 1500 feet for example, the camera will automatically turn on.

 

The intention is to remove officer error and reduce the number of violations. In the last year, these two violations have accounted for 31% of all policy violations and approximately 20% of all discipline.