ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Albuquerque Police Department is expanding an experimental unit that assists officers in preparing cases for trial – a move a nonpartisan study found has already increased the number of offenders the District Attorney’s Office is able to indict.
The city budget – signed by Mayor Tim Keller this week – allocates money for 12 “civilian specialists” in the Shield Unit. The unit was created in November 2017, began operation in February 2018 and initially employed three paralegals.
Gilbert Gallegos, an Albuquerque Police Department spokesman, said the unit now has 11 positions filled and will have the 12th filled within the month.
A nonpartisan analysis of the Bernalillo County criminal justice system released last July found that felony indictments increased after the Shield Unit was created. According to the report, out of 1,100 felony cases charged in Bernalillo County in March and April of 2018, approximately 600 were turned in by APD’s paralegal team.