A Toxic Mess
By Carolyn Carlson
The city’s decision to curb the use of Albuquerque Police Department’s cruisers after hours continues to overshadow City Council meetings. At the Wednesday, Jan. 19 meeting, a dozen or so police officers were present again, many wearing “A Berry Bad Mistake” T-shirts.
As of Jan. 1, officers living beyond an 11-mile radius from the Big I have been barred from taking their police vehicles home from work.
APD Lt. Jan Olstad told councilors that even though he did not have to, he stopped using his vehicle off-duty to support the officers under his command who were required to do the same. He said when he used to drive his patrol unit to and from work, he would do patrols and swing by busy school zones to slow drivers. Now, he said, it’s hard to fit all of his cop gear into his private car, and he drives directly to and from work. “When I get there, I am grumpy,” Olstad said.
Police union president Joey Sigala said in an interview with the Alibi that he hopes the Council overturns the policy. If the new rule can't be lifted, Sigala said he'd like to see it changed so that people hired after a certain date abide by it, but officers already on the force are allowed to continue taking their vehicles home.
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