APD, DOJ formalize agreement to self-monitor some reform requirements - Albuquerque Journal

APD, DOJ formalize agreement to self-monitor some reform requirements

Attorneys for the city of Albuquerque and the U.S. Department of Justice have signed off on an agreement formalizing the city’s self-monitoring and self-assessment of nearly a quarter of the requirements laid out in the settlement agreement mandating police reform.

The parties in the case had reached the agreement over the summer but had not yet created a plan of how it would work. They filed a joint notice and a 47-page plan in federal court on Thursday.

The 62 paragraphs that the Albuquerque Police Department will be monitoring involve the Multi-Agency Task Force, specialized units, behavioral health training, public information on civilian complaints and more.

“This agreement marks a huge milestone for our police department and our city and should be noticed as a significant accomplishment in the reform process,” Mayor Tim Keller said in a news release. “As this process has not been easy for our officers, we did not give up on getting through the challenges, and have done so in a way that is sustainable for our police department and its dedicated staff.”

U.S. Attorney Alexander Uballez for the District of New Mexico also commended the work APD has done.

“Successful self-assessment is the cornerstone of true reform, and the Albuquerque community should expect no less …,” Uballez said. “Together, we will realize the goals set out by this community, through mutual agreement, seven years ago.”

The city entered into the Court Approved Settlement Agreement in late 2014 and has had ups and downs throughout the years. In 2020, an independent monitor overseeing the reform effort blasted the police department for failing to hold officers accountable and in 2021 internal investigators allowed a backlog of use of force cases to grow.

However, in his latest report, the monitor was complimentary of APD’s progress and city officials said they “have finally found a light at the end of the tunnel in the reform process.”

“We overcame many challenges to get to this point,” Police Chief Harold Medina said. “I appreciate the acknowledgement from the DOJ of our progress and our commitment to reform at APD.”

 

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