ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) The mayor knows the feds are going to force changes on APD, and he knows they’re going to send someone in to make sure it gets done.
On Wednesday, in the final days before the DOJ’s findings are released, Mayor R.J. Berry announced he’s sent a letter to the DOJ to let him know what those changes are already so they can get the ball rolling.
“With the length of time it’s taken the DOJ to complete their review, coupled with the events surrounding the James Boyd incident, I don’t feel like I can wait any longer to take actions spelled out in the letter today,” the mayor said during a news conference.
City Council President Ken Sanchez said it’s about time the mayor is saying the right things.
“It’s a little late, but I think he has no other choice. It’s vital, it’s important that we bring the DOJ in as quickly as possible and that we bring in a monitor to work with the Albuquerque Police Department,” Sanchez said.
Steve Tate, a former APD Academy director who retired in 2006 amid what he called a lowering of hiring standards, says the mayor’s timing is just politics at play.
“I find it ironic that it’s labeled his request of swift completion of their investigation when he had several years when he should have been doing his own,” Tate said.
The mayor’s office also announced what they called “sweeping changes” proposed by new APD Chief Gorden Eden. The changes include things like a better system to identify and root out bad cops and a better system to avoid hiring them in the first place.
Sanchez hinted the chief’s proposals are likely a preview of the DOJ’s own recommendations.
“I’m sure that he’s probably working in some capacity with the DOJ and hopefully that will be a benefit and plus to the community,” he said.
The ACLU says the mayor may not have taken action if the deadly shooting of homeless camper James Boyd had not been captured on tape.
They say this shows APD should have a zero-tolerance policy for officers who don’t use their cameras to record every call they’re on.