Police chief hiring reform passes with late vote

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Should city councilors have a say in Albuquerque’s police and fire chiefs?

Late Monday night, the council approved that proposal and now the voters will weigh in.

Councilors knew they had a busy night ahead of them with the meeting lasting nearly seven hours.

That proposal regarding police chiefs means they could soon have a voice in who gets the spot – not just the mayor.

City councilors worked until 11:30 p.m. Monday and one of the last items was this bill.

The proposal, sponsored by Council President Ken Sanchez and Councilor Brad Winter, would give councilors a say in confirming police and fire chiefs.

The mayor would pick a candidate and it would require two thirds of the council to confirm.

The proposal passed on a 7-2 vote and now heads to the voters on the Nov. 4 ballot.

This would also give the council the power to fire a police of fire chief with just cause.

Sanchez says this is a step in the right direction.

“With what I’ve heard for the past four years from people who have come to council meetings – people on the streets – that they want to see some changes, and I think this would be a positive change,” said Sanchez.

This is final and the mayor cannot veto this.

Voters will decide on the measure the same day voters will pick the next governor. Sanchez says he’s expecting a strong turnout.

The two men hired to oversee APD’s Department of Justice negotiations spoke at Monday’s meeting.

They urged the council to hold off on revamping the department’s civilian oversight commission. The council agreed.

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