Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
Add the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office to the list of agencies looking into the city of Albuquerque’s police overtime practices.
Attorney General Hector Balderas said Wednesday that State Auditor Brian Colón asked him to aid in the investigation. Colón asked the attorney general to assign special agents to work with his office’s auditors on its Albuquerque Police Department examination.
“We have received the Auditor’s request and have assigned law enforcement to assist in this matter,” Balderas said in a written statement.
Colón’s office began its inquiry last year after receiving multiple complaints regarding APD overtime. That examination is underway, although Colón has since ordered the city to undergo a special audit by an outside accounting firm due to “red flags” his office’s review found. His staff’s examination into APD will continue, along with the special audit, Colón said. He told the Journal earlier this week that the special audit could involve working with a “prosecutorial” agency, such as the Attorney General’s Office. The State Auditor’s Office does not have the authority to file criminal charges.
Colón said in a statement Wednesday that he had brought in Balderas’ staff to help in the investigation, calling the allegations of “potential criminal activity” regarding APD overtime “severe.”
“Together, we intend to determine what is really happening at the Albuquerque Police Department,” Colón said.
At the same time, APD says it is also running its own Internal Affairs investigation into overtime-related issues.
“COVID-19 created a huge need for extra officer hours and exacerbated long-standing overtime problems at APD,” Matt Ross, a spokesman for Mayor Tim Keller said in a statement. He added that the city appreciates the auditors and welcomes help with changes already underway to fix APD’s “broken system.”