Public Safety Makes Up 48% Of Keller City General Fund Budget

April 4, 2018

 

 

On March 30, 2018, the Keller Administration submitted its 2018-2019 fiscal year city budget to the Albuquerque City Council for review and budget hearings.

 

When you include the city’s enterprise funds, which are standalone departments such as the Aviation Department and Solid Waste Department financed by revenues generated from fees charged, the total city budget approaches $955.6 million.

 

 

The City of Albuquerque general fund budget is $574.8 million of the total $955.6 million budget.

 

The $574.8 million is the general fund which goes to providing essential services, including police and fire protection.

 

The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) and the Albuquerque Fire Department (AFD) combined budgets comprise 28.6% of all general fund expenses.

 

Both APD and AFD budgets combined comprise nearly 48% of all general fund total appropriations of $574.8 million.

 

As expected, the budget contains a significant increase in spending for “public safety”.

 

THAT NEW TAX INCREASE

 

The Keller Administration was left with a $40 million-dollar projected deficit that would have required extensive budget cuts, layoffs or furloughs or further cuts in essential services.

 

In response to the projected deficit, the city council enacted a three-eighths increase in gross receipts tax.

 

The three-eighths cent gross receipts will go into effect July 1, 2018.

 

The new tax is expected to generate $40 million this year and expected to bring in a projected $50 million annually thereafter.

 

Keller’s 2018-2019 budget increases the general fund spending by 8.4% from $530 million to $574.8 million.

 

The total Keller general fund budget for fiscal year 2018-2019 is $574.8 million which is an increase of approximately $40 million from the 2017-2018 fiscal budget that ends June 30, 2018.

 

The City Finance Department is projecting general fund revenues to be at $582 million in the coming fiscal year, which is a 9.6% increase from the current fiscal year.

 

The projected revenue from the new 3/8 gross receipts tax increase enacted by the city council will be enough to cover the deficit and fund further operating expenses reflected in the general fund.

 

An impressive 80% of the new monies generated from the new tax increase will go to fund APD and the AFD and their programs.

 

APD and AFD are the two largest city departments because the departments employ the most number of employees.

 

Following is a review of both the APD and AFD budgets with the information gleaned from the 2018-2019 proposed budget.

 

THE ALBUQUERQUE POLICE DEPARTMENT LAST YEAR BUDGET AND PROPOSED KELLER BUDGET

 

LAST YEAR’S FISCAL YEAR REMEMBERED

 

For the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) had a general fund budget of $171.8 million approved which included an increase of $7 million or a 4.2% increase for the Department.

 

The adopted 2017-2018 General Fund budget for APD had funding for a total of 1,484 full-time positions which consists of funding for 484 civilian support staff and funding for 1,000 sworn police officers.

 

Although funded for 1,000 sworn officers for the 2017-2018, APD is ending the year with 878 sworn police officers, with only 436 are assigned to field services, divided into three working shifts, less any of those on vacation, sick leave or in court.

 

In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, APD made 9,527 felony arrests, 18,562 misdemeanor arrests, 1,338 DWI arrests, and 2,701 domestic violence arrests.

 

The SWAT Unit was activated 59 times in the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

 

(Note: SWAT is the unit that was the subject of the 2014 Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation report for excessive use of force and deadly force with the DOJ finding a “culture of aggression” within APD.)

 

The homicide clearance rate for the 2017-2018 fiscal year was 70%.

 

THE 2018-2019 PROPOSED BUDGET FISCAL YEAR

 

The proposed 2018-2019 fiscal year budget for APD is $190,200,000 million.

 

This represents an increase of 11.5% or $20 million from the original fiscal year 2017-2018 budget level of $170.6 million.

 

The 2018-2019 proposed APD budget funds 1,560 full time employees and includes funding for 1,040 full time sworn police and 520 full time civilian positions as compared to last year’s 1,000 fully funded sworn police positions and 484 full time civilian positions.

 

Albuquerque has six (6) APD area commands.

 

In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, field service officers responded to 420,000 911 calls for service.

 

APD EXPANSION, RECRUITING AND STAFFING PLAN

 

The Keller Administration is calling for an $88 million dollar of additional funding and increased costs for APD over the next four fiscal years from 2018 to 2022.

 

In the 2018-2019 proposed budget, $12.8 million is being proposed to carry out a four-year plan for recruiting new officers.

 

APD currently has 878 sworn police but budgeted for 1,000 officers.

 

The 2018-2019 proposed budget calls for APD to increase its ranks to 1,040 officers in the upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1, 2018.

 

The Keller Administration APD expansion will be over a four-year period, with 32 million dollars of recurring expenditures, to hire 322 officers and expand APD from the current 878 sworn police officers to 1,200 officers.

 

The Keller Administration intends to implement a hiring and recruitment program to offer incentives, pay raises and bonuses to join or return to APD.

 

The $88 million dollars for expanding APD will include expanded academy training and the vehicles and other equipment that additional officers will require.

 

The recruitment and hiring plan proposes to add 100 new police officers per year until a 1,200-staffing level is reached.

 

The ultimate goal is to return to community-based policing and reduce spiking crime rates.

 

At a minimum, the expansion plan calls for $32 million dollars in recurring costs.

 

The recurring costs do not include the price of recruitment strategies nor pay increases designed to recruit and retain officers.

 

Midway through the current fiscal year, APD had 836 sworn officer’s despite being fully funded for 1,000 sworn police officers for the past three fiscal years.

 

The number of sworn police is currently 878 at the beginning of 2018.

 

The Keller Administration is proposing to increase the number of sworn police officers from the current 878 positions to 1,200, or by 322 sworn police officers, over a four-year period and return to community-based policing.

 

Based on past performance, increasing APD personnel will be very challenging.

 

Increasing APD from 1,000 sworn police to 1,040 sworn mandates that in order to get to the 1,040 figure by this time next year, APD and the APD Police Academy will need keep up with expected retirements and will have to hire at least 162 new officers either as new recruits or as lateral hires.

 

In 2016, the department graduated more than 90 cadets from its academy, and because of retirements and other departures, the department had a net gain of only six (6) officers.

 

1,000 to 1,200 applicants are needed to get a class of 40 cadets.

 

In 2016 APD had 90 retirements.

 

The net gain in 2017 was almost zero.

 

Currently, APD has 878 sworn police officers and in 2017 graduated 73 cadets.

 

The biggest problem that the budget does not acknowledged is that if APD has the same number of retirements and departures that it had last year, it will mean that the department’s number of sworn officers will shrink and not grow.

 

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (DOJ) ALLOCATION

 

The 2018-2019 proposed budget allocates $2.3 million for compliance and implementation of the police reforms mandated by the settlement agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ).

 

This is an appropriation that in no way can be considered voluntary but is mandatory under the federal APD consent decree.

 

During the last three years, the Berry administration and APD command staff resisted the reforms.

 

It is anticipated the reform process will take at least another three years to implement.

 

Thus far, significant progress has been made by the Keller Administration with a stronger commitment to implement the agreed to reforms.

 

ALLOCATION FOR PROCESSING BACKLOG OF RAPE KITS

 

The 2018-2019 APD proposed budget allocates $1.9 million to address a backlog of more than 4,000 untested rape kits.

 

$1.5 million will be outsourced and $383,000 will be used to hire four (4) positions at the APD crime lab which will include one (1) DNA forensic scientist, two (2) latent forensic scientists, and one (1) latent technician.

 

The rape kit backlog was identified by Keller when he was the New Mexico State Auditor.

 

It is critical that the backlog of rape kits be processed for felony prosecutions.

 

All too often, DNA evidence and a victim’s testimony are the only evidence available to obtain a conviction for rape and child sexual abuse.

 

DNA evidence found in rape kits is the type of evidence used to identify and convict rapists, especially serial rapists.

 

All too often, DNA evidence results in a conviction of an innocent defendant being thrown out and another criminal identified.

 

PROPERTY CRIME INITIATIVES

 

The 2018-2019 proposed budget allocates $1.8 million for the “Property Crime Reduction” to help address the city’s rising property crime rates, especially auto thefts.

 

In February, 2017, FBI statistics revealed property crimes in Albuquerque increased by 13.3 percent, bucking the national trend of decreases in burglaries and larcenies.

 

Albuquerque reported 38,528 property crimes, or 6,860 per 100,000, and 6,236 total burglaries, or 1,110 per 100,000 residents.

 

Auto thefts in the Albuquerque jumped by the highest percentage with 7,710 motor vehicle thefts reported in 2016, an almost 50 percent increase over the year before.

 

That was seven times the percentage change on a national level.

 

BERNALILLO COUNTY AUTO THEFT SUPPRESSION EFFORT

 

The 2018-2019 APD proposed budget allocates funds for three additional “bait cars” in order to make far more auto theft arrests.

 

Last year, the National Insurance Crime Bureau ranked the Albuquerque and Bernalillo area as having the highest rate of cars stolen per capita.

 

Auto-theft is a nexus to all the other crimes and auto thieves are responsible for most other crimes.

 

On March 21, 2018, the “Bernalillo County Auto Theft Suppression Effort” was announced where the Albuquerque Police Department, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico State Police were joining forces to address the city’s and the county’s out of control auto theft rates.

 

The auto theft suppression effort will include tactical operations that combine technology, resources, manpower and intelligence from all three of the law enforcement agencies to arrest more suspects and recover more stolen vehicles.

 

PROPOSED MISCELLANEOUS APPROPRIATIONS TO APD

 

$416,000 will be allocated for paralegal services to assist with APD case preparation.

 

$655,000 is proposed to be appropriated to the “special investigations” division to adequately fund and support continued operations.

 

$1.2 million is being allocated to fund current data maintenance contracts and technology projects.

 

$4 million will be allocated for the purchase of new police vehicles.

 

$3.9 million is being set aside in reserves for the hiring of 40 additional sworn police officers to be added to the 60 additional officers already budgeted.

 

PERFORMANCE BASED STATISTICS

 

The City of Albuquerque budget is a performance-based budget where each department provides a listing of previous years accomplishments and formulate performance measures to justify their proposed and submitted budgets to the Mayor and then the Albuquerque City Council for approval.

 

Albuquerque’s city budget is a “performance based” budget to predict how APD and AFD will fair statistically when it comes to responding to calls for service and solving crimes and responding to AFD emergency calls with the staffing and resources the departments have.

 

APD PERFORMANCE STATISTICS REPORTED FOR 2017-2018 GENERAL FUND BUDGET USED FOR 2018-2019 BUDGET PREPARATION

 

Following is the detailed breakdown of the performance statistics for the 2017-2018 fiscal year:

 

Number of sworn officers approved: 1,000, Actual ending : 878

Number of cadet graduates approved: 80, Actual graduated: 43

Number of calls for service, Actual: 564,610

Average response time for Priority 1 calls, Actual: 12:16 minutes

Number of felony arrests, Actual: 9,527

Number of misdemeanor arrests, Actual: 18,562

Number of DWI arrests, Actual: 1,338

Number of domestic violence arrests, Actual: 2,701

Percentage Homicide clearance rate, Actual: 70%

Number of alcohol involved accident investigations, Actual: 568

SWAT Activations, Actual: 59

Bomb Squad Activations, Actual: 132

 

THE ALBUQUERQUE FIRE DEPARTMENT PROPOSED 2018-2019 BUDGET

 

The 2017-2018 fiscal year general fund budget for the Fire department was $75.5 million.

 

For the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the AFD budget was decreased by 1.6% or $1.2 million below original budget.

 

The 2018-2019 proposed AFD budget is $82.9 with an overall increase of 8.5% or 6.5 million above the 2017-2018 budget.

 

AFD’s 2017-2018 budget funded 711 full-time positions.

 

AFD’s 2018-2019 proposed budget funds 730 full time-positions.

 

All Albuquerque Fire Department firefighters are not only firefighters but are also fully licensed emergency medical technicians (EMTs) or para medics.

 

AFD provides service to the community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

 

Firefighters are assigned to 22 engine companies, 20 rescue companies, seven ladder companies, two heavy technical rescue (HTR), two hazardous materials response units, and when needed, four brush trucks used as wildland response units.

 

AFD facilities include Headquarters and Dispatch with fire stations located and scattered throughout the city.

 

APD and AFD do have some shared facilities and substations and share the 911 emergency dispatch center and emergency operations center.

 

AFD MOBILE HEALTH CARE OUTREACH PROGRAM

 

The Keller Administration is proposing to spend $3.2 million dollars to develop and establish the “AFD Mobile Health Care and Community Outreach Program”.

 

The AFD Mobile Health Care and Community Outreach Program will consist of six positions and three rescue vehicles.

 

The mobile Albuquerque Fire Department (AFD) unit will have a paramedic and a person on board who can do community outreach and respond to indigent or homeless people or people in crisis.

 

The goal is to free up time for police officers and firefighters to respond to more pressing calls for service.

 

The program will shift resources from high cost reactive strategies, including a full crew responding to a 911 call from someone who does not actually need an ambulance.

 

The program will shift those calls to less resource-intensive approaches like home or site visits to common callers and community risk reduction efforts for private residences and public places.

 

The program will also include a robust and visible Basic Life Support Unit presence in the Southeast Heights and other high needs area.

 

This new program will allow the Albuquerque Fire Department to provide additional services as a partner to the city-wide effort to interrupt the cycle of crime and lead to a safer city.

 

The AFD Mobile Health Care Outreach Program was a program and concept proposed by Mayoral candidate Gus Pedrotty.

 

The program makes perfect sense and should be implemented on an expedited schedule.

 

The Keller Administration is to be commended for adopting the suggested program.

 

The program is a clear and dramatic reflection of the change in attitudes and priorities from the previous administrations attitude of favoring a reduction in social services.

 

AFD PERFORMANCE STATISTICS REPORTED FOR 2017-2018 GENERAL FUND BUDGET USED FOR 2018-2019 BUDGET PREPARATION:

 

In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the Albuquerque Fire Department was dispatched to 105,981 emergency calls for service.

 

Following is the detailed breakdown of the performance measures for the 2017-2018 fiscal year:

 

Number of calls, Actual: 174,426

Number of hazardous materials condition, Actual: 2,044

Number false alarm calls, Actual: 5,160

Number of other emergency, Actual: 10,192

Number of other (non-emergency) calls, Actual: 60,000

Number of calls dispatched, Actual: 110,000

Number residential fires, Actual: 172

Number non-residential structural fires, Actual: 37

Number hazardous materials incidents, Actual: 684

Number wildland fires, Actual: 64

Number medical first responder calls (Basic Life support), Actual: 65,000

Number Advanced Life Support Calls, Actual: 45,000

Number of Firefighters trained in Wildland Task Force, Actual: 190

Number of Firefighters Trained as Technical Rescue Technicians, Actual: 70

Number of Citizens Trained at Comm. Training Center, Actual: 3,500

Number arson cases cleared, Actual: 18

Number fire related injuries, Actual: 14

Number citizens trained in prevention techniques, Actual: 16,000

Number of children educated, Actual: 20,000

Number of plans reviewed, Actual: 3,500

Number of initial inspections, Actual: 5,500

Number of Cadets Graduating from Academy, Actual: 30

Number of Trained Paramedics, Actual: 230

Number of Firefighters Trained in Professional Development Program, Actual: 100

 

CONCLUSION:

 

Both the Albuquerque Police Department and the Albuquerque Fire Department represent the communities first line of defense when it comes to public safety.

 

Both departments represent 48% of all general fund total appropriations of $574.8 million.

 

Given the sure volume of calls for service that both departments handle in any given year, and given our high crime rates, it should come as no surprise that 48% of all general fund appropriations is going to public safety.

 

The submitted 2018-2019 city budget submitted by Keller is where “the rubber hits the road” when it comes to public safety and reducing our high crime rates.

 

The City Council will now have budget hearings and vote on the proposed budget.

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