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City Proposes to Expand External Force Investigation Team

City of Albuquerque Proposes to Expand External Force Investigation Team

Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022

ALBUQUERQUE – APD is preparing to address a backlog of use-of-force investigations by expanding the mission of a temporary, independent team that has shown success since the program was created last year.

 

The External Force Investigation Team, or EFIT, was created in 2021 in response to concerns about the quality of APD’s investigations of use-of-force incidents. The City is in good faith negotiations with the U.S. Department of Justice expand EFIT’s scope of work.

 

“APD has developed a strong working relationship with the external team, which is resulting in more thorough investigations,” said Eric Garcia, interim Superintendent of Reform at APD. “Expanding the role of EFIT to address the backlog of cases will help meet the DOJ’s mandate, without pulling more officers from the streets to conduct these investigations.”

 

When officers use any degree of force against an individual, the department is required to determine whether the actions are within its use-of-force policies. APD adopted new use-of-force policies as part of the ongoing reform process mandated by the Court-Approved Settlement Agreement with the DOJ.

 

The EFIT investigators are assisting APD in conducting Level 2 and Level 3 uses of force by APD officers, assisting the department with improving the quality of its own Internal Affairs force investigations in a timely manner.  The team can make independent recommendations to APD.

 

While the EFIT process has been successful in current use of force cases, it is critical to address the backlog of cases that were not investigated between 2020 and 2021. City officials told U.S. District Court Judge James Browning in December 2021 that APD took responsibility for the decision to pause investigations while poor investigative processes were fixed, which resulted in the backlog. APD also emphasized there are not enough officers to devote to crime and all of the backlogged force investigations without impacting investigations of current cases that are now on track. If the DOJ agrees to the plan, an expansion of the external force team will resolve the backlog without impacting officer staffing in the field.

 

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