ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Mayor Tim Keller announced his new initiatives to reform the Albuquerque Police Department Wednesday.
Mayor Keller says Albuquerque Police and the city need to face their problems head-on.
He even issued an apology for their failures. “Our community deserves an apology for its historical tone at the top of the department and a culture of excessive force that has hurt our community,” Mayor Keller said.
He also apologized for the city’s skyrocketing crime rates, saying citizens have been let down and that the city needs to do better.
Wednesday, both Mayor Keller and Interim Police Chief Michael Geier talked about how APD needs to restore trust with the community and become more transparent.
They both said the department will also do a better job at recruiting and retaining quality officers by offering competitive pay and opportunities to move up in the department.
Another priority they said will be restoring block by block community policing, targeting different areas with approaches unique to them.
Both Mayor Keller and Chief Geier also say a top priority will be completing the DOJ reforms and addressing the department’s use-of-force policies.
“No more dragging feet,” Chief Geier said. “It’s so discouraging when I hear, whether it’s from officers or staff members, ‘we can’t do this’ even officers in the street going to citizens and telling them ‘we can’t do anything about it. No, the new philosophy is ‘we can.'”
While Albuquerque Police continues to deal with an officer shortage, Chief Geier says they will divide duties among the department and work extra hours.
The mayor says he will redirect the chief’s overtime and use federal grants to pay for those necessary extra hours.
That money has been used in the past for everything from the Balloon Fiesta, to special crime programs and traffic enforcement around big events.