APD launches community initiative - Albuquerque Journal

APD launches community initiative

Interim Police Chief Harold Medina

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

The Albuquerque Police Department has launched a Community Ambassador Program that will designate certain officers to work as liaisons with different communities throughout the city.

Rebecca Atkins, an APD spokeswoman, said the officers will receive advanced training in community relations and will take concerns to Interim Police Chief Harold Medina every month. She said they will start with five groups: the Asian, Hispanic, Black and Native American communities, and the LGBTQ community.

She said the initiative is aimed at establishing “clear, consistent lines of communication” with those that have not had formal relationships with law enforcement in the past. Officers will also work on recruiting to diversify the department.

“We know there are diverse groups and viewpoints even within these communities,” Medina said in a news release. “Our goal is to build relationships and address concerns about the inequalities in our community. This is a way for our officers to lend an ear and bring those concerns to the appropriate parties so we can help make necessary change.”

One of the groups APD has begun working with is the Black New Mexico Movement, which organized and participated in many protests against racial injustice and the killing of George Floyd. Officers and activists will deliver turkey dinners to families and staff at the University of New Mexico Hospital this week.

La’Quonte’ Barry, an organizer with the Black New Mexico Movement, said he likes the idea of the program and has been pleased with the response from Chief Medina since he took over the department. He said that after a car drove through a protest on Central across from UNM in late September, Medina called him personally.

“He was upset about that,” Barry said. “… About three days later, we met up and had a conversation, and that’s when everything started to go into more of what we want, and how we can be an assistance to what they already have.”

Barry had his own fraught history with police at protests. He was charged with carrying a gun on school property in July after he and another activist with the Black New Mexico Movement took guns to Civic Plaza, not realizing they were banned. That case has since been dismissed.

He said that in conversations with Medina he stressed that protesters want to be able to gather and march without the heavy police presence that gives the impression that the group is violent or aggressive.

Francisco Grady, left, and La’Quonte’ Barry, center, talk to an Albuquerque police officer during the July 19 Black New Mexico Movement protest. They were detained for carrying holstered guns. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Since he started talking with Medina, Barry said, the police presence at protests has been greatly diminished.

“That’s what our movement was about, the community approach,” Barry said. “… It wasn’t about being violent; it was about getting answers. And that’s where we are now: We’re getting answers; we’re speaking to people.”

Home » News » Albuquerque News » APD launches community initiative


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Voting machines tested before and after NM elections
ABQnews Seeker
Hand counts, machine tallies produce strikingly ... Hand counts, machine tallies produce strikingly similar results
2
Water worries
ABQnews Seeker
Ash, debris from burned trees threatens ... Ash, debris from burned trees threatens Morphy Lake
3
APS: Progress made in handling of records requests
ABQnews Seeker
District says it has hired two ... District says it has hired two new records custodians
4
'A disaster waiting to happen'
ABQnews Seeker
Experts: Climate change, policies left region's ... Experts: Climate change, policies left region's forests overgrown say region's forests overgrown
5
Man arrested in suspected gang-related homicide in May
ABQnews Seeker
Victim shot while in car at ... Victim shot while in car at In and Out off Central
6
‘Dispatch’ from 1947 offers another look at UFO incident
ABQnews Seeker
The Roswell incident has been one ... The Roswell incident has been one of the most thoroughly researched and debated mysteries in the history of the UFO phenomenon and among the ...
7
Water worries
ABQnews Seeker
Ash, debris from burned trees threaten ... Ash, debris from burned trees threaten acequias
8
Experts: US Court fractures decades of Native American law
ABQnews Seeker
Ruling a departure from federal Indian ... Ruling a departure from federal Indian law and veers from the push to increase tribes' ability to prosecute all crimes on reservations -- regardless ...
9
In fire's wake, NM examines its prescribed forest burns
ABQnews Seeker
Experts point to need for more ... Experts point to need for more trained professionals, planning tools amid changing climate