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Mayor elect, DA seek more collaboration

Tim Keller

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Giving the district attorney’s office immediate access to police investigative reports and possibly sharing office space to create more face-to-face interactions are some of the ideas that came out of the first meeting between the county’s prosecutor and Albuquerque’s incoming mayor.

District Attorney Raul Torrez

District Attorney Raul Torrez met with Mayor-elect Tim Keller and his just announced interim police chief, Michael James Geier on Tuesday.

Keller takes office on Friday. He’ll inherit a city that’s on pace to see a record-number of murders and property crimes rates have been increasing steadily in recent years.

Keller said he’ll work to create collaboration between as many community groups and agencies as possible to address crime.

“The mayor unilaterally absolutely cannot solve these issues,” he said during a news conference after meeting with Torrez. “The best thing a mayor can do is facilitate that coming together.”

Torrez has said that his office needs immediate access to police data to help with prosecutions. Thousands of cases have been dismissed from Bernalillo County criminal courts in recent years. One of the reasons is because prosecutors have struggled to meet deadlines for discovery.

“If we can do that, I think we can have real gains in terms of efficiency and also in terms of how we prioritize,” Torrez said.

In his final months in office, Mayor Richard Berry launched several crime fighting initiatives. The city helped bring together local, state and federal law enforcement groups to create a way to alert prosecutors when people with long criminal histories are arrested so those cases can become a priority. He also had a grant-funded team within the city start studying crimes rates and trends.

“There have been some really helpful pilot projects,” Keller said. “We’ve got to decide if those are going to be pilot programs or if that’s how we’re going to do policing in Albuquerque.”

The mayor elect didn’t appear to be as impressed with some of the crime studies the city has published in recent months.

“Telling folks that there is high crime in the Southeast Heights is not insightful to law enforcement,” he said.