ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Adam Walinsky has an idea of what Albuquerque and its police department are up against with federally mandated reforms in the wake of the U.S. Department of Justice’s highly critical report, released last week.
Walinsky has seen cases like this before and helped get departments back in line and restore the public’s trust.
“The monitor is not going to fix the Albuquerque Police Department. Of that I’m absolutely certain,” Walinsky said.
“We did a complete retraining of the Baltimore Police Department,” Walinsky said.
In the 1960s, Walinsky was also Robert F. Kennedy’s speech writer.
The DOJ report called out APD, saying there’s a disconnect between officers and the residents. Federal investigators described an overly aggressive culture, saying many officers were dismissive of community concerns. The feds also reminded the rank and file that it’s their job to police each other.
Walinsky wouldn’t comment on APD’s problems, because he doesn’t know the department well enough. But he knows about federal monitors, something APD is expected to get, to oversee changes.
After the DOJ released its report, Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden, said he was ready to make changes.
“I believe the first place to start is at the top, and that begins with myself and the leadership of the Albuquerque Police Department,” Eden said Thursday.
But Walinsky said just the opposite. He said change doesn’t come from the top brass. Walinsky said most cops will tell you the people in headquarters have no idea what’s going on with its officers.
Instead, Walinsky said real change comes from the officers on the streets.
“Unless you can get something close to the full participation and cooperation of the sergeants and the officers, you’re doomed to failure,” said Walinsky.
The feds and city officials will work to create the programs to turn around the department.
But Walinsky said the officers and sergeants who have the most contact with the community need to take the lead to change the culture of APD.
He said the El Paso Police Department is a good example of that.
“They’ve got a really strong active program that teaches police officers how to control suspects with their hands and bodies and with their mouth as they talk and as their brain as they think,” Walinsky said.
He said federal monitors often us a punishment model, essentially “Do as I say or else.” And says in his experience, that doesn’t work well.
Walinsky says how the Albuquerque Police Department comes out of this federal oversight depends on the men and women of the force.