RE: “Dear Mayor Berry, et al.”
I write in response to excerpts from a letter written to Mayor Berry, et al. by Joe Cardillo, published in the Weekly Alibi on April 24. I was one of the responding officers to two separate noise complaints (#P141051288 and #P141051348) that the Albuquerque Police Department received regarding Mr. Cardillo’s friend’s home, in which she was hosting various bands for a show. I am the officer to whom Mr. Cardillo refers in his letter. I write now to draw attention to inaccuracies in Mr. Cardillo’s version of events.
The initial anonymous caller requested police response to a loud party at 10:29pm (after 10pm) on a Tuesday night (April 15). I arrived with another officer. We found a group of polite people at this party. I spoke with a woman who identified herself as the resident of the home and host of the party. I requested the noise be kept to a minimum, out of respect for her neighbors. I explained that another call regarding the same party would result in a misdemeanor citation for violation of the noise ordinance. She said there would be no need for police to return to her home that evening, as the party was breaking up. In his letter, Mr. Cardillo represented the initial interaction between his friend and me as, “officers showed up and were friendly and asked her to be respectful—it was before 10pm—and to keep things under wraps.”
It is with Mr. Cardillo’s description of the second interaction that I take umbrage. At 11:44pm, that same night, another anonymous caller (from a different telephone number) telephoned 242-COPS, also complaining about a loud party at a nearby home. This caller requested officers ask that the music be turned down. Due to the high number of calls for service, my partner and I did not arrive back to the house until 12:45am (nearly 2 ½ hours after the first call). As we parked and walked up to the same house, I could easily hear the music from the street. I repeatedly knocked on the front door, but there was no response for over two minutes (presumably due to volume of the music, and not a refusal to answer). Ultimately, I spoke with the same woman. She was joined this time by a man I now presume to be Mr. Cardillo. I explained I already provided her with a verbal warning for disturbing her neighbors, and it was within my power to write citations now, but also within my discretion not to. I chose not to because Mr. Cardillo and his friend seemed politely sincere in their desire to rectify the noise issue, and not cause further problems for the neighborhood. Mr. Cardillo, his friend, and my partner and I separated with friendly words, wishing one another a good night.
I was blindsided to read Mr. Cardillo’s description of this amicable conversation as one in which I did not know how to react to a polite citizen making a reasonable request: “A police officer…can't even talk to me: a polite, regular citizen who cares deeply about the people in this city.” As the lapel video shows, this is flat-out untrue. (Interested parties can request to view the video via the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act). I was extremely respectful with Mr. Cardillo and the resident of the home, while also trying to represent the law and the interests of the neighbors who called in the complaints. I was there not to harass or write unnecessary citations but rather at the request of the neighbors to enforce our city’s noise ordinance.
Like Mr. Cardillo, I have a deep connection with this city and her varied communities. I was born and raised in Albuquerque. I went to the local public schools and university. My father is an attorney and my mother is a retired public school teacher. I grew up with a deep and ardent respect for the Constitution, as well as tenets of social justice and basic common courtesy. Prior to becoming a police officer, I worked in one of our city’s schools most affected by the various ills of poverty and social inequality. I was inspired to become a police officer in order that I could serve my community and help the families and neighborhoods of my students. I run into my former students regularly on patrol and take immense pride that they see me as someone they know, like and respect.
In my capacity as an officer, I have volunteered for all available extra training in crisis intervention, crisis negotiation and civil mediation. I attend community neighborhood meetings regularly (on and off the clock), so that I can speak directly to citizens concerned about their neighborhoods. I have developed positive working relationships with residents and business owners within my beat.
I am proud to serve my community as a police officer. I work with, and am inspired by, the exceptional and dedicated men and women of the Albuquerque Police Department. On almost every call for service, I explain that officers are not present to take sides, but to serve the interests of the respective parties (as well as community stakeholders at large). I do my very best every day to treat everyone with whom I come in contact with the respect and courtesy that they rightfully should expect from me. I take great offense at Mr. Cardillo’s misrepresentation, specifically in a public forum, of our interaction. The hardworking members of our police department deserve better than to be mischaracterized as “awkward around the public,” “confused” and “paid simply to enforce laws and deal with criminals.”
RE: "The Words of the Prophets are Written on Arroyo Walls: Albuquerque's spray-can psychogeography"
@ Nearly 30 years ago, I saw a line drawing of a huge spray can with the profile of an Aztec warrior screaming below the jet of paint. It was stunningly beautiful and political and is vivid in my mind ages later. That's art.
RE: "Department Corrections: Reforming APD’s culture of violence requires radical change"
@ Seems like a culture of bloodlust—police-perpetrated euthanasia—wherein, if an officer feels someone is unhappy, they reduce suffering in the world by ending that person's life.—Bruce Gwynne
@ I believe euthanasia is an act of compassion. I believe that is lacking in these actions. There is no compassion in these killings.—Barbara Grothus
@ When the San Francisco Police Department faced similar accusations, a citizen police review board was created with access to data. Perhaps we need this here since the situation is much worse. Also it seems some police forces are recruited based on a resume showing they worked at security jobs. That is okay but what about those who worked as mercenaries in wars? I think they should not qualify because it shows an interest in violence and killing. Studies show they are often psychopaths, and we don't need them in police departments. I wonder if there are any in ABQ and if they are part of those investigated for excessive force.—Chris Drozier
@ Although I now live in Santa Barbara, Calif., Albuquerque was my home for many years, and I visit often. I wish the police in Albuquerque were as professional and as community-supportive as they are in Santa Barbara. Is it a matter of money? Is it lack of education or training? It is disheartening to hear of these abusive police force incidents in the beautiful and otherwise friendly city of Albuquerque. The police are supposed to protect and defend the citizenry, not arbitrarily kill them.—Elizabeth Anne Middleton
RE: "In Memoriam, Moving Forward: Asa Mullins and the future of Bird Song Used Books"
@ Yes, thank you very much, Asa, and fond farewell. I hope your journey through the Bardo and beyond has been spectacular. I suspect it has. I did not realize when Asa passed. I was monitoring for a long while, but he was tenacious about staying in this world. I am so grateful I gave my tribute to him in my 2010 novel, so he had the pleasure of reading and knowing of my warm regard for him. Blessings always!
RE: "University of Connecticut Women's Team Destroys Notre Dame in NCAA Final: But does basketball matter if few people watch?"
@ As a writer on basketball in New Mexico, I'd like to point out that women as much as men, are huge fans of the game and can draw at parity with men in the Land of Enchantment, which women cannot yet do nationwide. When the Lobo women were winning, and they often did for a decade starting in 1999, they drew huge crowds, better than anyone in the nation at tournament time, and a record 18,018 in a Pit in a game with Ohio State, not for the NCAA title, but the less prestigious NIT title. The NIT management let them play at home as long as they drew fans. This skill state could be brought back within a year or two if UNM's administration would put some effort into it, and it could go a long way toward financing other Lobo sports. The same in true at NMSU, by the way. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out UNM has the facilities, the will and the fan base to turn around the sport and become a household name as has Connecticut and a handful of other college. There is a shortage of great women's basketball teams that could be filled with a winner. Just go out and get it done. With the proper admin leadership ($) the team could be playing for a Sweet 16 within a year and selling out the Pit. A pity they can only seat 15,000 or so these days. And if the men can't get the NCAA to come to Albuquerque to play a Final Four, the women certainly can.—Ben Moffet
@ If UConn ends up with the best players or Geno just happens to be the best coach, the real question should be why—until other teams can answer that question, UConn will be the team to beat.—Wayne Ripley
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