Alibi V.29 No.7 • Feb 13-19, 2020

Newscity

APD Mute Policy Changed

The News Monkey

Albuquerque Police Department is clarifying its body cam policy after a number of officers reportedly muted their cameras during incidents involving the use of force.

According to KRQE, the body cam model used by APD officers, the Axon Body 2, features a mute button that allows officers to instantly halt the device's audio recording. A number of officers have reportedly been using the function in an inappropriate manner. The last two reports from the independent monitor assigned to keep track of the department's reform efforts related to a US Department of Justice settlement agreement have found a trend of officers muting the audio on their cameras when they shouldn't be. The reports say that officers muted the cameras while discussing their use of force during altercations with suspects. Officers also reportedly muted their cameras while interacting with members of the public.

The department's body cam policy doesn't mention muting specifically. After facing criticism, the department released a Special Order that clarified that officers were only to use the mute function when discussing “case strategy or tactics.” Officers were also instructed that they had to state their reason for muting on camera before pressing the button.

This tactic reportedly didn't curb the trend, however, and APD eventually disabled the mute buttons. The department is now waiting for a new policy to be approved that will include sanctions for supervisors.

Scammers Steal From BernCo

Email scammers stole nearly a half-million dollars from Bernalillo County last year, leading officials to change their internal procedures.

According to KOAT, a vendor contacted Bernalillo County late last year, saying he hadn't received payments for his services. After investigating, it was discovered that the county had been paying scammers the entire time. The total lost was more than $447,000. Luckily, the county has a cyber liability policy, and the county's chief information officer, Robert Benavidez, said the county should be able to get all of the stolen money back.

Benavidez told reporters that the scammers made falsified transfer documents to pull off the heist. “They created a false deposit slip, a false check with the logo and the information of the company they wished to defraud. They submitted it through our accounts payable department,” he said. They found their targets by looking through the county website's transparency portal and referencing contracts that were publicly displayed.

The county has since revised its transparency practices by removing sensitive information that isn't required by law, adding more security checks and providing the proper training to the accounts payable staff.

There have reportedly been two other attempts to scam money from the county since the incident, but both were prevented by the new policies.

City Addresses ART Complaints

Officials with the City of Albuquerque said the 311 line received a number of complaints claiming that ART bus drivers were speeding. According to KOB, the bus drivers were told to slow down and strictly observe speed limits. The city has now hired a supervisor to monitor bus speeds in real time to deal with the issue. If a driver is caught speeding, the supervisor will be able to respond immediately.