Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
In the spring of 2018, following several high-profile child deaths in the metro area, the Albuquerque Police Department and the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department decided officers should respond to all cases reported to CYFD’s Statewide Central Intake center, according to officials within the departments.
But over the next couple of months those procedures will be altered, and instead APD officers will only respond to calls that are determined to be “emergency” and “priority one.” The rest of the calls will be fielded by just CYFD workers.
These test procedures will run through August and then will be evaluated for effectiveness, according to an APD news release.
“What we were seeing was APD was receiving calls for real, real general – not even neglect – just general calls that were coming in,” Lt. Nicholas Sanders with APD’s criminal investigations division juvenile section told the Journal on Friday. “Some of those would be an incident where a child missed an appointment for an eye exam. Then you’re getting law enforcement out there looking at that element, when it was just truly just a family structure issue that made that child not be able to attend the doctors appointment and no real criminal element.”
Under the test procedures, Statewide Central Intake will take responsibility for calls that are not categorized as emergencies or priority one and will send counseling or family services to follow up. They will continue to provide child neglect and abuse reports to APD’s Crimes Against Children Unit, according to the news release.
APD did not provide the number of calls officers responded to that were reported to the Statewide Central Intake center since March 2018 when officers began responding to all calls.
However, CYFD said they had 4,228 cases reported in Bernalillo County between then and now. Of those calls, they said 2,444 were rated as emergencies and 1,784 were rated as priority ones.
Some of those calls would have been fielded by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office deputies instead of APD officers.