ALBUQUERQUE – The Justice Department (DOJ) today announced it has signed a joint statement of principles with the City of Albuquerque, New Mexico, which reflects the good-faith intent of both sides to enter into a court-enforceable agreement to reform the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). The joint statement of principles publicly specifies the measures that DOJ and the City are undertaking in order to resolve the findings resulting from DOJ’s investigation into use of force by APD. On April 10, 2014, following an extensive investigation, DOJ found reasonable cause to believe that APD engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including unreasonable deadly force.
Following the release of the findings letter DOJ and the City each separately reached out to numerous stakeholders across Albuquerque to hear their ideas and concerns about the reform of APD. Attorneys and staff of the department have spoken to police officers, city officials, mental health service providers, advocacy organizations, individuals who have been personally affected by APD’s past conduct and other community members. DOJ has held dozens of meetings and met with hundreds of people across the city. Through these efforts, both sides have gained important insights into officers’ and the community’s concerns that will shape the final agreement. DOJ is encouraged by the feedback it has received and is committed to sustainable reforms that will ensure APD delivers services in a manner that respects the rights of residents, promotes mutual confidence between the police and the community and improves public and officer safety.
“This agreement marks an important step forward in addressing the unreasonable use of deadly force uncovered in our investigation into the Albuquerque Police Department,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “The residents of Albuquerque depend on their police department to serve their community with honor and integrity. In the overwhelming majority of cases, our dedicated law enforcement officials—who put their lives on the line every day—do just that. But when misconduct does occur, we will never hesitate to act in order to secure the civil rights of everyone in this country. As a result of our ongoing action, I am confident that the Albuquerque Police Department will be able to correct troubling practices, restore public trust, and better protect its citizens against all threats and dangers—while providing the model of professionalism and fairness all Americans deserve.”
“We commend the city for engaging in good-faith negotiations to reach a court-enforceable agreement that will ensure sustainable reforms of APD,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “The joint statement of principles provides the community with our commitment to work expeditiously with the city to craft a durable agreement that will resolve our findings and will ensure that APD provides effective and constitutional policing to the people of Albuquerque.”
“Since the release of DOJ’s findings letter, we have asked for and received valuable ideas and insights from officers, members of the community, representatives of many organizations, and others who have a stake in the future of our community,” said U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez for the District of New Mexico. “We are thankful to everyone who has spoken to us. The anticipated final court-enforceable agreement, which we hope to enter into with the city of Albuquerque, is already stronger because of the input we have received.”
DOJ and the City have released the joint statement of principles to inform APD officers and the Albuquerque community that their concerns and ideas have been heard and that their ongoing participation will be critical to achieving sustainable reform. Specifically, the joint statement of principles announces that DOJ and the City expect to develop reforms in the eight areas outlined in the department’s findings letter: use of force policies, interactions with individuals with mental illness and other disabilities, tactical units, training, internal investigations and civilian complaints, management and supervision, recruitment and selection of officers, and community engagement and oversight. The joint statement of principles also indicates that the goal is to reach a court-enforceable agreement that will be overseen by an independent monitor. A copy of the complete joint statement of principles is attached.
During the negotiation process, DOJ remains interested in obtaining recommendations and information related to reforms from the public. DOJ continues to monitor the APD community hotline, which is available for both English and Spanish speakers, (855) 544-5134 and the APD community email address.
ALBUQUERQUE – Last week the Department of Justice announced findings that the Albuquerque Police Department has systemic failures that have led to a pattern or practice of unconstitutional use of force, including deadly force. Although these problems are serious and run deep, we have the commitment of the City to work together to bring about meaningful reform within the Albuquerque Police Department.
We have learned that fliers advocating violence against police officers are being disseminated in Albuquerque. The Justice Department condemns threats of violence against police officers, and encourages all sectors of the community to participate in the critical dialogue that will bring about the reform that will promote constitutional policing and will rebuild the community’s trust in its Police Department. The path to reform is through dialogue among the City, the Police and the many communities that make up Albuquerque, and the negotiation and implementation of a court-enforceable agreement.
Individuals who wish to have input into developing the reforms or who have information relevant to the Justice Department’s investigation into the use of force by the Albuquerque Police Department are encouraged to contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling our toll free number, (855) 544-5134, which is available for both English and Spanish speakers.
Things are heating up around the state, folks, and not in a good way. Significant portions of the Land of Enchantment are currently suffering under extra-dry conditions, and almost a quarter of the state is dealing with extreme drought.
A press release from the Office of the State Engineer says:
“This chart depicts an analysis of drought severity in New Mexico. The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced in partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The maps, which are based on analysis of the data, are released each Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.”
For more information visit the New Mexico Governor’s Drought Task Force website.