Mayor Tim Keller on Wednesday apologized to city residents for the city's skyrocketing crime rates and for past excessive uses of force incidents by Albuquerque police officers. And he pledged transparency and accountability regarding APD to the public and oversight and advocacy groups
Saying the apology was a first step toward healing the city and the Albuquerque Police Department, Keller also took a swipe at former APD chief Gorden Eden and his command staff.
"Our community deserves an apology for its historical tone at the top of the department and a culture of excessive force that has hurt our community," Keller said during a morning news conference with new police chief Michael Geier.
Here is the complete text of Keller's remarks and his apology to city residents:
Reforming the police department to better attack crime from all sides has been one of the most important and difficult roads that lie ahead. Change began at the Mayor's office just November 14th, and continued yesterday with the swearing in of these chiefs behind me.....they are charged with evaluating, restructuring and turning around APD.
I need to take care of a few things that I think are important in terms of starting out with a fresh start. Just to reflect that folks of all walks of life yesterday attended a attended a very special ceremony in the morning to swear these gentlemen in and to also honor one of our officers [Lou Golson who was shot multiple times three years ago during an attempted DWI arrest.]. And that, in and of itself, was very, very important for healing the community and for law enforcement. And these leaders that are behind me stand for improving overall safety for our places of businesses and for our families.
Now, I also have to acknowledge where our city has been and that our leaders have to face these problems head on. As you know, I'm a believer in community policing, and that includes one of the pillars of community policing, which is about truthfulness with the public. And in that spirit, I want to start by offering an apology on behalf of Cit Hall to our community. Our community deserves an apology for its historical tone at the top of the department and a culture of excessive force that has hurt our community.
I also want to tell the victims of families who have been hurt by unnecessary use of force that I am sorry, and that we are sorry as your city government. We will work every day to restore trust in our community. Secondly, we also need to apologize for our skyrocketing crime rates. I have heard from hundreds of folks who don't feel safe and who worry about their families every day. And I want to acknowledge to all the victims of crime in this city and to all the families who have fallen victim to crime that we have let you down in many ways. Public safety is a critical function of government, and we must do better and it starts with owning up to that today.
Albuquerque, if we are committed to working together, we actually an attack crime from all sides by supporting law enforcement, and by restoring trust in our community. To do that, gentlemen behind me and my administration are committed to the following:
Bringing needed resources and backup to the men and women of law enforcement;
Recruiting and retaining officers and fair and proportional promotion and discipline;
Restoring block-by-block real community policing and completing the DOJ reforms;
Reconciling use-of-force policies so that our front-line officers can actually be able to protect and serve our community;
And bringing transparency and accountability to the public, other law enforcement agencies, the courts, oversight bodies and advocacy groups.