Albuquerque Police Department makes progress in policing reform: Justice Dept.

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(The Center Square) – The Justice Department and the City of Albuquerque filed a Joint Motion for Partial Termination, hoping to get court approval to terminate some portions of the consent decree covering the Albuquerque Police Department, United States Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez announced this week.

They filed the motion to recognize the police department’s sustained compliance with major portions of the consent decree, according to the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico.

It marks the second time this has happened; a joint motion was also filed in April to modify the requirements of the consent decree.

APD has progressed towards complying with the degree over the last several years. Some examples include the following:

APD has a clear and reliable process for conducting criminal investigations of critical incidents through the Multi-Agency Task Force;APD significantly professionalized its SWAT team and brought its operations in line with national standards;APD’s investigative units operate with clarity about their scope and mission;through APD’s Field Training Evaluation Program, new officers receive reinforcement about APD’s values and expectations, helping to ensure that officers provide constitutional and effective policing from their first days on patrol; APD and Albuquerque’s civilian oversight agency widely distribute information about filing complaints about police officers, ensuring that people across the city can easily access and submit complaint forms and that APD and civilian oversight are aware of the issues that people are having with police officers;the Monitor has found that APD has set new standards in police recruiting, increasing interest in joining APD at a time when police departments across the country face challenges in recruiting; andAPD’s Behavioral Sciences Section provides industry-standard behavioral health and wellness services to APD personnel and their families, often exceeding the requirements of the consent decree.

APD reached compliance with many of these provisions over two years ago. As a result, the parties have agreed to terminate the sections and sub-sections where APD has been in full compliance for at least two years.

The change will allow the consent decree to focus on areas where APD is still working to reach full compliance.

“This move to partial termination is yet more evidence of the City of Albuquerque’s dogged pursuit of progress,” U.S. Attorney Alexander Uballez said. “Much remains to be done, and the challenges facing us as a community are ever-evolving. While we continue to work together to confront those challenges, we applaud the steady and unrelenting drive towards the type of policing that the people of Albuquerque deserve.”

The consent decree began in June 2015. It began after a series of controversial police shootings in the first half of the 2010s. In 2014, the Department of Justice determined that APD had engaged, “in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment.”

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