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APD provides details on new Ambassador Program

The Albuquerque Police Department is designed to facilitate clear, consistent lines of communication with different groups within the community who have not previously had a voice with the police.

May 5, 2021

Today the Albuquerque Police Department and Mayor Tim Keller provided details on the creation of APD’s Ambassador Program. This program is designed to facilitate clear, consistent lines of communication with different groups within the community who have not previously had a voice with the police. Building trust with the community is a critical component to making the public safer.

“The APD Ambassadors program represents a commitment to find solutions that work for our community as we tackle the dual challenges of crime and meaningful reform,” Mayor Keller said. “I appreciate the willingness of police officers and community groups to come to the table and work together to effect change; our ability to have these tough conversations speaks volumes about how unique and resilient our city really is.”

APD began recruiting officers to become Ambassadors for diverse groups within the community in November 2020. There was tremendous interest from members of the police department, and 12 individuals were selected.

The City of Albuquerque’s Office of Equity and Inclusion provided two intensive trainings to Ambassadors and introduced them to community organizations that serve specific populations to help the Ambassadors build relationships.

The first training was a Culturally Appropriate Services training that  has been given to all cadets since Mayor Tim Keller took office. Additionally, a four-day Intensive Undoing Racism Training was provided by the Peoples Institute of Survival and Beyond to the Ambassadors and their new community contacts.

With this training, the Ambassadors will work with the following community groups:

  • Native American Community
  • African American Community
  • Hispanic Community
  • Asian Community
  • Refugee Community
  • LGBTQI+ Community
  • Faith Community (Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Faiths)
  • Senior Citizen Community
  • US Veteran Community
  • Americans with Disabilities Community

“I knew the only way to make meaningful change in our community was to work with diverse groups who at times feel their concerns are disregarded,” Chief Medina said. “We now have dedicated Ambassadors listening to the concerns from the public. They are validating those concerns by working with the groups to identify solutions that will be presented to APD’s leadership.”

Since the creation of the Ambassador Program, the growing relationships have already led to initial success. Recently, an Asian-American massage therapist was attacked at her place of employment after asking a client to put on a mask. Through working with local advocates, our investigators were able to get additional information about this individual who committed the crime and are now actively looking for him.

APD Ambassador officers are expected to host at least one scheduled formal communication event each month and provide monthly briefings to Chief Medina. The Ambassadors outline topics of discussion and provide the department with suggestions in which APD can improve in community relations based on the conversations they are having with the different groups they are working with.

The Ambassadors are also required to arrange at least one lunchtime discussion with APD cadet classes and their designated community group.