APD Union: DOJ report hard to hear

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE)- The DOJ investigation of Albuquerque Police came down hard on the department’s leadership or lack of leadership however, rank and file APD officers didn’t completely get off the hook.

The Albuquerque Police Union, the APOA, has always been quick to defend officers’ actions and the union president insisted again, Thursday, that APD is a great department with great officers.

“The officers that have worked very, very hard for this community on a daily basis in the past, they’ll continue to do it in the future.”

President of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association Officer Stephanie Lopez says DOJ criticism of the department is hard to hear and it’s not just what the feds say.

“It’s hard to hear the constant negativity that our department faces but, I’m empathetic enough to know the heartbreak that the citizens in the community go through and their frustration that they feel,” says Lopez.

Yet, the federal report says many officers are not so empathetic. The DOJ says, “A disconnect exists between officers and residents about the perception of overly aggressive conduct by officers. We observed that many officers were dismissive of community concerns.”

Lopez did not specifically respond to that but she did make this promise:

“We’ll do our very best to learn from any additional training that is given to us and any other recommendations that are imposed on us to do the very best to learn from them,” Lopez says.

The DOJ report notes that in the vast majority of shootings multiple officers were present then adds, “Officers have a duty to intervene to prevent other officers from using excessive force.”

The Department of Justice also made a point of saying most officers mean well and care but also says APD’s “us against them” attitude has seeped down to the rank and file. Union leaders are set to meet with the federal officials Friday.

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