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APD's Panhandling Future

Here's a look in Albuquerque's not-too-distant future now that the city council has passed yet another anti-panhandling ordinance and Chief Gorden Eden has indicated that enforcing the new law will be a priority for the chronically understaffed police department.

Here's what could wind up to be typical APD radio chatter:

APD dispatch: “Dispatch to Sergeant 430.”

Sergeant 430 to dispatch: “Go ahead.”

APD dispatch: “Sergeant 430: We are holding seven Priority One calls for dispatch. Three of those are robbery’s in progress, two accidents with serious injuries and two domestic violence situations where the offender is armed with a gun and is threatening to kill everyone. I have no units to respond. Can you send units 443 and 445?”

Sergeant 430: “Negative, dispatch. Units 443 and 445 are busy citing a panhandler at Paseo del Norte and Wyoming, and unit 447 is enroute as backup.”

APD Dispatch: “Sergeant 430: We have shots fired at one of the domestic violence situations. Respond Code Three with available units.”

Sergeant 430: “Dispatch, repeat, negative. Panhandler is on the median, which units 443 and 445 have determined is less than six feet wide. Subject is in violation of City Councilor Trudy Jones' anti-panhandling law.”

APD Dispatch: “Sergeant 430: How was it determined that the median is less than six feet wide?”

Sergeant 430: “Dispatch, units 443 and 445 are now equipped with tape measures and have made preliminary measurements of the median.”

APD Dispatch: “Sergeant 430: We have confirmation of a deceased subject at the domestic violence call. Disengage your units and send them Code One to that location. This appears to be serious.”

Sergeant 430: “Dispatch, negative. Unit 447 has arrived and subject has now attempted to interact with motorists from the median. I repeat, subject has attempted to interact with motorists from the median. What do you advise?”

APD Dispatch: “Sergeant 430: That is serious. What won't these criminals try? The mayoral candidates were right, we really are awash with crime. We're sending three more units to your location. Disregard previous instructions on sending units to domestic violence location. Subject there is deceased anyway and not much we can do for him now. Chief Eden has been informed of your situation and has advised that keeping rich people like Councilor Jones happy by getting rid of panhandlers is our top priority.”

Sergeant 430: “Copy. One last thing. Subject panhandler is dressed like a slob and is denouncing people who live in Tanoan, and Councilor Jones, as filthy rich people who are trying to criminalize poverty. Please advise.”

APD Dispatch: “Good god! It's worse than I thought! This is big! Hold tight. Eden and Huntsman are on their way to handle this one. But it might take a while because Huntsman has to charge his lapel camera!”

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