Mayoral candidates Tim Keller, Manuel Gonzales and Eddy Aragon on the issues:
What would your administration do regarding the court-approved settlement agreement?
Keller: Only a judge can end or modify DOJ oversight.
“The expectations for the CASA were never appropriately set when the past administration came in, and they should have been. The public and the department were misled to think that somehow this is a short-term process that you get out of. … If you look at DOJ consent decrees across the country, they’re all 10, 20, 30, 40 years. We need the federal government to work with us on our community’s concerns about the process, and to support our need to both fight crime and work on meaningful reform. Also, some reform and improvement should always continue, whether the DOJ is here or not.”
Gonzales: Get out of the reform effort by complying with the settlement agreement and finding a common-sense approach to implementing policies.
“You have to be honest with these people and say, ‘This is what happened; we’ll hold these people accountable.’ And I think that truthfulness and all those other things that come is what the DOJ is looking for — saying you’re holding people accountable. I think that’s what it comes down to.”
Aragon: The city has to comply with the settlement agreement. “I inherit this. This is something that I will have to deal with, and the only way I can do so is by picking up the phone, developing a relationship and saying, ‘This is unreasonable; this is a bit too much.’ ”
Should people be arrested on misdemeanor crimes?
Keller: Given the McClendon settlement agreement (which predates my administration), officers are now prohibited from arresting a lot more people who have committed minor misdemeanor charges.
“Sometimes it will be helpful, of course. But also, you’ve got to get people the help they need, like situations of mental illness and addiction. That’s why the new Albuquerque Community Safety Department … is a much better way to address this, rather than fighting with the judge, or creating situations of escalation.”
Gonzales: It should be an option.
“I will allow law enforcement to make those decisions: whether they want to cite and whether they want to arrest. But blatantly telling them that they cannot arrest on these is removing the most powerful tool they have in their pockets in terms of a law enforcement officer — and that’s discretion. They need to have that discretion to make that decision.”
Aragon: People should be arrested on misdemeanors.
“To keep track of the buildup of crime that happens over time. If you don’t arrest for the small things, you’re not going to arrest them on the big things. … We’ve got to do a better job of knowing who our criminals are.”
Should Albuquerque be an immigrant-friendly city?
Keller: Supports immigrant-friendly policies.
“I’ve supported pro-immigrant, immigrant-friendly status for our city for 14 years now in public office … so my stance hasn’t changed at all. It’s fundamentally based on the fact that communities are safer when folks from all walks of life can engage, without fear of family deportation, with the police and other first responders.”
Gonzales: Does not support immigrant-friendly policies.
“I would get rid of the sanctuary city policy … if it’s something that is ordinance-based, then I guess we have to work with the City Council. And/or we talk to the chief and you tell him, ‘You will comply because that is a constitutionally binding thing, and we’re not going to subvert the Constitution.’ ”
Aragon: Does not support immigrant-friendly policies.
“Let’s be clear — we’re not saying that illegal immigrants coming here are making a more dangerous city. We’re talking about how they get here, (that) is what creates the danger for them and for the community. I mean, they’re burros, they come in and they’re carrying drugs with them … a lot of stuff comes with that $10,000 bill, that’s the bill that they have to pay.”
What gun laws do you think make the community safer?
Keller: Accountability for child access to guns, gun violence enhancements in statutes, closing red flag law loopholes, and taking guns into account in pre-trial detention and sentencing decisions.
“We understand and were very supportive, and have implemented a lot of diversion and alternative court programs. But, if you commit a violent crime with a gun, you shouldn’t be on the street with a firearm. You have to go through the criminal justice system.”
Gonzales: Enhanced penalties for using a firearm in a crime, more stringent sentencing.
“Make laws for violent people. Then, when you need to hold them accountable, provide them with the sentencing that’s going to correct that behavior or change their lives.”
“I think there should be no laws on any guns.”
How transparent should APD be with the media and public about crime?
Keller: “We’re totally up for, and have always strived for, letting the media and public know about homicides and critical incidents as they occur, as long as it’s physically possible and doesn’t compromise any ongoing investigation.”
Gonzales: I would expect them “to give you as much information as possible and be professional about it. That’s what I would expect the relationship to look like.”
Aragon: “We should make the commitment to being absolutely transparent about every crime out there.”