DOJ expected to release APD agreement draft

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It’s been 40 days since the Department of Justice hammered the Albuquerque Police Department from top to bottom, but now the city is expecting the Feds to make another big move this week.

The Department of Justice is expected to release a list of specific changes it would like to see within the police department this week.

KRQE News 13 sat down Tuesday morning with Albuquerque Mayor R.J. Berry and the two negotiators he hired to navigate the DOJ reforms. They include an ACLU lawyer and a former police chief who worked through a DOJ investigation of his own department.

They’re now expecting what they call a “wish list” of changes from the Feds to be released in the next few days and that will likely kick off serious negotiations.

The DOJ’s investigation hit APD hard.

“Officers used deadly force in an unconstitutional manner,” announced Jocelyn Samuels, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, on the day of the findings release.

Now 40 days later, the two men charged with helping the city make a plan to fix APD admit nothing conclusive has happened yet.

“This is a process not an event,” said Scott Greenwood, one of the two negotiators for the city.

“There’s more to this than filling out a form,” said Streicher, the second negotiator the city brought on.

However, the former Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher and ACLU attorney Scott Greenwood say the DOJ is close to telling the city exactly what it wants to see changed in the department.

“They will give us a draft proposal of an agreement,” said Greenwood.

Greenwood says that draft will finally detail specific ideas for top to bottom change. Change that will likely touch areas like recruiting, training, the department’s use of force policy and more.

“It’s like a set of wish lists, everything that they would like to see in an agreement,” said Greenwood.

Greenwood and Streicher says they’ve met with the Feds twice already. They’ve discussed the negotiation process but haven’t gotten any hints yet about what will be in the Feds draft agreement.

Mayor R.J. Berry says the city has had closed-door meetings with activists and police officers about changes they’d like to see. However those ideas are all on hold until the Feds’ draft agreement comes down.

“We will evaluate it, we will talk about why they feel they need a certain type of procedural process in place,” said Greenwood.

Mayor R.J. Berry says he wants to negotiate with the DOJ in order to make a specific plan for Albuquerque.

“Don’t end up as one of those cities have an agreement that can never be met but actually had an agreement that helps us move forward,” said Berry.

It’s a negotiation process that could take weeks or months.

“There’s not a starting date and an end date for this and that’s what’s critically important,” said Streicher.

“I don’t think we’re shooting for a year here but we’ve only really started the process,” said Greenwood.

A spokeswoman for the mayor’s office told KRQE News 13 Tuesday that the city likely won’t release a copy of the Feds draft agreement if it is released soon, saying it’s the Feds work in progress and their decision to release the information publicly.

There’s no exact date yet on when a draft agreement will be released.

For many cities including Cincinnati and New Orleans, it took about a year of negotiations with the DOJ before they signed on to a final agreement.

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