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APD resumes control of use-of-force investigations

December 26, 2023

ALBUQUERQUE – APD is resuming control of use-of-force investigations, marking another key milestone at the end of federal oversight of the department.

APD reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to transition responsibility for investigating serious use-of-force incidents, known as Level 2 and Level 3 incidents. The external team, known as EFIT, will continue to investigate cases that remain in a backlog that are being scrutinized under the Court-Approved Settlement Agreement.

“These investigations are at the core of the reform efforts at APD,” Mayor Tim Keller said. “The public deserves to know we have an honest accountability system, and officers deserve fair and thorough investigations.”

“This is a major accomplishment and one of the most meaningful changes we’ve made as a department,” APD Chief Harold Medina said. “It is critical that we are able to conduct our own, thorough and professional use-of-force investigations.”

APD agreed in 2021 with the DOJ to create EFIT to assist the department in investigating serious use-of-force incidents. A later agreement gave EFIT the responsibility of investigating the backlog of investigations from January 2020 to January 2021.

APD identifies three categories of force used by officers.

  • Level 1 is the lowest level and is likely to cause only transitory pain, disorientation, and/or discomfort during its application as a means of gaining compliance.
  • Level 2 is force that causes injury, could reasonably be expected to cause injury, or results in a complaint of injury.
  • Level 3 is force that results in, or could reasonably result in, serious physical injury, hospitalization, or death.

EFIT’s most recent quarterly report highlighted the great strides of APD’s Internal Affairs Force Division (IAFD). The report noted improvements to the atmosphere of IAFD, the advancement in investigations and the progress of the detectives/investigators who are part of the unit.