ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque police and the mayor are responding to the deadly shootings in Dallas.
Chief Gorden Eden says he met with his top leaders late Thursday night and early Friday morning to discuss changes they’d be making to protect officers. Some of those changes include officers responding to calls in pairs. And although the chief didn’t give specifics, he did say they’ve started to discuss the way they handle future protests.
“I can say that things may look different at one of our next protests,” Eden said. “I think people seem to forget or any other police department across the United States that’s against the protest. “We’re there to protect them.”
Similar to the situation in Dallas, there have been protests in Albuquerque that have turned violent in the past — not because of the protesters causing trouble, but others who took advantage of the situation.
After the Donald Trump protest, police said some threw rocks and flaming cotton balls at officers and police horses. Police also said some threw barricades and people down.
And the protests following the James Boyd shooting lasted almost 12 hours and included APD officers deploying tear gas. Police also said one person involved was spotted with an AR-15. The damage left behind was significant though.
The mayor acknowledged there’s growing tension between police and a lot of the public.
“There are difficult issues with policing in America, we’ve had our issues here in the city of Albuquerque and we’re and we’re in the process of putting reforms in place,” Mayor Richard J. Berry said.
The chief said his department works with different groups that organize peaceful protests on how to keep protestors and officers safe, like the one Thursday night.
“I think we have a path to choose,” Adriann Barboa with APD Forward said. “We can choose a path of violence and retaliation or we can choose a path that brings us together.
Barboa said APD Forward is one of the groups that plans peaceful protests and other gatherings in town. She said groups like APD Forward, although want to see officers held accountable, they don’t want to see others breed violence with more violence.
“All the protests in Albuquerque have started out peaceful,” Barboa said. “It’s shameful that someone would use one of these peaceful venues to further their violent agenda.”
APD would not say how the Dallas killings will change the way the department deploys officers to protests or how they handle protesters.
Chief Eden didn’t specify how long he’d have officers responding to calls in pairs. He did say that could mean it’ll take longer to respond to all calls but said it’s worth it to keep officers safe.