APD's Open Space Unit to be disbanded - Albuquerque Journal

APD’s Open Space Unit to be disbanded

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

The Albuquerque Police Department’s Open Space Unit – responsible for patrolling river, mountain and mesa areas – is being disbanded to put more officers on the street.

Rebecca Atkins, an APD spokeswoman, said the four officers and one sergeant assigned to the unit will work as patrol officers in the field.

The unit has done everything from body retrieval in the Rio Grande to search-and-rescue operations in the river, mountains and other remote areas around the city.

“The officers are moving to work in the field,” she said. “The decision was made to reallocate resources.”

Atkins said police service aides, or PSAs, will be taking over the unit’s duties when it comes to opening and closing gates in the city’s open space, and will have an increased presence in those areas.

“They will also be able to alert officers to any areas of concern,” she said.

Multiple city councilors raised questions about the change during their meeting Monday.

Councilor Louie Sanchez said he worried what would become of the expensive equipment purchased for the open space division – such as airboats – and questioned the wisdom of replacing specialized officers accustomed to patrolling more remote areas with PSAs.

“Using PSAs is going to be a dangerous situation,” he said.

Atkins said New Mexico State Police holds primary responsibility on search and rescue, and “will continue to take the lead on those efforts moving forward.”

For assistance in search-and-rescue missions and river operations, she said there will be a core group of APD field officers on call – trained to operate the airboat and other functions.

Atkins said the changes will not go into effect until February 2023.

Jessica Dyer contributed to this report.

Home » ABQnews Seeker » APD’s Open Space Unit to be disbanded


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
State sues tobacco companies over settlement payments
ABQnews Seeker
Complaint notes that NM has lost ... Complaint notes that NM has lost out on more than $84M in the past 14 years
2
Could EV charging stations become targets?
ABQnews Seeker
Sandia researchers sound alarm on potential ... Sandia researchers sound alarm on potential cyberattacks
3
NMSU coach 'apologetic' about deadly shooting
ABQnews Seeker
Takes responsibility; no comment on discipline Takes responsibility; no comment on discipline
4
Saint Mary's to challenge unbeaten Lobos in a way ...
ABQnews Seeker
The unbeaten Lobos get tested Wednesday ... The unbeaten Lobos get tested Wednesday against a Saint Mary's team that takes away what UNM has been doing so well.
5
It's how we roll
ABQnews Seeker
Iconic figure has returned to his ... Iconic figure has returned to his perch along the north side of Interstate 40
6
UNM's Anderson School of Management names new interim dean
ABQnews Seeker
Current Dean Mitzi Montoya is departing ... Current Dean Mitzi Montoya is departing for a University of Utah job.
7
Holiday Wish Program is looking for sponsors
ABQnews Seeker
Families with limited resources and extensive ... Families with limited resources and extensive needs get help
8
Man accused of shooting at police drone, officers
ABQnews Seeker
Auto theft investigation led to chase, ... Auto theft investigation led to chase, shots fired
9
Old Town Boys Club faces another allegation of sexual ...
ABQnews Seeker
Four lawsuits filed against organization Four lawsuits filed against organization