ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A long night for Albuquerque City Council led to an approved budget and news about coming federally mandated changes to APD.
Councilors unanimously approved a more than $500 million budget that hikes police officer pay 5 percent and pay for other city workers 3 percent. It also sets aside $2 million to pay for federal reforms of APD. The mayor still has to sign off on that proposal.
The seemingly easy agreement on the budget was in contrast to the tension between councilors and protesters that hung over the meeting.
After reading off a list of rules governing public comment and conduct at the meeting, council president Ken Sanchez ordered a protester to take down an upside-down US flag sitting behind the podium in the audience. The protester initially argued before folding.
Councilors also heard from two consultants picked by the mayor to negotiate with the DOJ. One of those, civil rights attorney Scott Greenwood, said the city expected an initial draft of the DOJ’s proposed changes for APD any day now. Greenwood also advised against the council overhauling civilian oversight of APD before the city reaches an agreement with the feds.
Late Monday night, councilors also approved a proposed charter amendment 7-2 asking voters to give them more power in selecting APD’s chief. The charter amendment would require city council to confirm the mayor’s pick for APD chief. Right now, the mayor makes that choice unilaterally.