ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — Albuquerque Mayor R.J. Berry knows the Feds will force all kinds of mandates on the Albuquerque Police Department and Wednesday he urged the Department of Justice to hurry up so that the city can start making those changes.
While Mayor Berry said he still hasn’t seen the DOJ’s recommendations, Wednesday afternoon he offered up a list of sweeping changes for the department.
“The fact is in light of the James Boyd officer involved shooting incident we need to do more and we need to do more and we need to take action now,” said Berry.
The mayor said Wednesday that he’s sent a letter to the DOJ asking the Feds to share their findings as soon as possible and to begin to negotiate what he calls a “DOJ monitoring plan.” Berry did not specifically ask for a DOJ representative to “monitor” the Albuquerque Police Department.
In the letter, Mayor Berry wrote:
“My second request, is that prior to the completion of the DOJ investigation and the publication of findings, I would like to immediately begin to the process of negotiating a cooperative agreement between the DOJ and the City of Albuquerque to implment a DOJ monitoring plan. I believe such a plan will help bring about any necessary system improvements and accountability measures in order to sustain positive outcomes as we move forward as a police department and as a community.”
The Department of Justice began investigating the culture at APD and officers use of force since November 2012.
Tuesday, Berry said that the shooting of James Boyd in the foothills was a “game changer.”
The mayor put forth a long list of recommendations from APD Chief Gorden Eden. Eden’s ideas include hiring a fourth deputy chief to oversee the DOJ’s pending recommendations, implement new training and evaluate current officers.
Another suggested recommendation is to make sure that all APD officers get training to deal with the mentally ill and learn how to de-escalate situations.
KRQE News 13 asked the mayor why make these suggestions now after the city has paid out $24 million in civil lawsuits in the last few years? Mayor Berry said the city has been trying to make reforms in years past.
“What we’re trying to do is to continue with those 60 plus reforms, continue with the DOJ, build a monitoring system, build that community trust so the people know that we’re taking this not just seriously, we’re taking aggressive action to make meaningful changes,” said Berry.
Chief Eden spoke briefly after the press conference but didn’t say much beside both he and the mayor have been working together on this request.
On Tuesday, Mayor Berry said he is including money in his next budget for police training in anticipation of the DOJ findings which he says the city is expecting “soon.”