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Editorial: APD’s professional officers essential to DOJ’s reforms

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As the Albuquerque Police Department and Mayor Richard Berry’s office work with the Department of Justice to address what DOJ has identified as an abuse of force, as Berry meets with some of the fathers of the 27 people shot by police since 2010 and the police union president is reprimanded for not keeping her union and police duties separate, it is important to note that some solid police work is happening every day in Albuquerque.

That’s important not just for the 1,000 or so sworn officers who put on the uniform and badge every day, but for all the city’s residents.

Last Saturday, just hours after the bodies of two brutally and fatally beaten homeless men were discovered in a field near 60th and Central, APD officers had arrested three teens in the grisly deaths and reached out to the homeless community to try to solve other attacks.

And Tuesday, eight years after a woman disappeared after being beaten within inches of her life, APD officers working a cold case tracked her down, and then the man suspected of imprisoning and drugging her; beating her with a chain, a two-by-four board and a window; then trying to smother her with a towel. The man also has been implicated in a recent gruesome murder.

These arrests show that amid a whirlwind of controversy and change, APD officers can and do focus on the job of making the city safer by acting quickly but also persevering.

APD is in the process of negotiating an agreement with DOJ to reform its policies and procedures, work essential to restoring credibility to the department in the community. The city as a whole is depending on APD’s officers – the many who focus on the job and need at hand – to see those reforms not only established, but fully implemented, so their solid police work can continue.

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