If Six Were Nine
It was a busy, albeit confusing and tragic weekend for law enforcement agencies in Albuquerque. Early Saturday morning, a task force consisting of officers from the US Marshals’ office went to serve an arrest warrant on accused murderer George Bond, who had escaped authorities near Downtown Albuquerque late last week. In the ensuing police action, an innocent man—23-year-old Edgar Camacho-Alvarado—was mistakenly killed, according to family members who went on record with several media outlets after the Saturday morning SWAT situation. In a copy-righted story the following Monday, the local daily led with details of the disaster, which quoted family members as saying they thought that officers initially went to the wrong trailer in search of Bond and that Camacho-Alvarado was shot to death after interacting with US Marshals. Bond was hiding out in trailer number 29, while young Edgar lived in number 26. Following the shooting, authorities laid siege to Bond's hideout; he and six others were taken into custody that afternoon. State Police are investing the shooting, but as of this writing, the US Marshals’ Office has neither explained nor accounted for their actions in the incident.
Cop Shoot Cop
In more news reflective of the problematic relationship that local law enforcement has with violence, the head of the city of Albuquerque Civilian Police Oversight Agency has recommended termination for an Albuquerque Police Department Lieutenant who shot one of his own men last January during an undercover operation aimed at busting drug dealers. Executive Director Ed Harness reviewed the shooting of Detective Jacob Grant on Jan. 9, 2015. Harness' report found that Lt. Greg Brachle's conduct before and during the shooting qualified as examples of sustained violations of APD standard operating procedures. These violations, including a damning confirmation that Brachle did not attend a pre-bust officers' briefing, ultimately led to Brachle shooting at Grant nine times. Bullets hit Grant three times and he almost died from his injuries—after Brachle confronted him and another detective in a Lexus automobile piloted by suspected drug dealers on Central. The two policemen had worked together for over three years before the shooting took place. The CPOA director's report and its conclusions will be discussed by the board in March before being forwarded to APD Police Chief Gorden Eden for final resolution.
Shortage May Mean Money
After HB 171—which would have allowed retired officers to return to police forces statewide while still drawing their pensions—failed to make it through the venerable Roundhouse this year, Hizzoner Mayor Richard Berry has come up with another proposal aimed at increasing the number of officers serving the Albuquerque community. Berry believes recruitment bonuses will attract more applicants until he and other like minds have the chance to argue for the bill's passage at next year's legislative session. Opponents of the measure objected to the double-dipping the law would engender and were also concerned about the status and commitment of retirees. One legislator, Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-Albuquerque) said his personal preference “is to get people who are going to be there for the next 20 years.” The city currently has just over 800 uniformed officers on patrol, a downturn from previous years; APD had nearly 1100 patrol officers working as late as 2010.