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.”