ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The controversy surrounding the Albuquerque Police Department has been divisive. KRQE News 13 has learned the city agency in charge of investigating citizen complaints against cops is also seeing more and more letters praising cops, especially in the times when the controversy is at a fever pitch.
The Independent Review Office said it started accepting the letters commending officers so it could, not just look at what’s wrong with the department, but also see what’s working.
While protesters filled the streets in March, outraged over the deadly shooting of James Boyd, people supporting APD also spoke up.
They flooded the city’s Independent Review Office, which investigates citizen complaints against Albuquerque Police officers with letters complimenting cops.
The office started taking positive feedback on APD in 2013.
In March of last year, only 15 people wrote so-called “Job Well Done” letters. This March, there were 47 of them.
The next month when the Department of Justice hammered APD, letters of praise spiked again—more than tripling from the year before. The IRO got 39 messages commending officers.
“We know there are complaints that are generated or investigations that need to occur from a citizen’s perspective or from an internal perspective, but it’s nice to see that there are community members in this city that take the time to recognize an officer for a job well done as well,” said Stephanie Lopez, the police union president.
One citizen wanted to thank officers for their response to her 911 call for help in calming her autistic son who had become aggressive.
The citizen wrote, “The officers were professional, caring and concerned when providing assistance.”
Another wanted to say, “thank you to APD for being there for us, and do not let the people complaining get you down.”
Many people from out of state even wrote in.
A Virginia resident wrote that, “officers across the country are behind APD, and APD should not let the DOJ get them down.”
“It’s always excellent to hear we’re getting recognition through the community,” said Ofc. Daren DeAguero. “Most officers aren’t looking for that. They still come out here and do their job and give 110 percent.”
People are either writing in letters or filling out the “Job Well Done” forms on the city’s website.
However, as the negative headlines for APD have tapered off over the last few months, the positive feedback has too.
The IRO said the letters go to the officer, his or her supervisor and the chief. It then goes in the officer’s personnel file.