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Keller makes it official; ends civil asset forfeiture

On Saturday, ABQReport report quoted a top aid to Mayor Tim Keller that the mayor had ended the police department's civil asset forfeiture program and that it could no longer seize the vehicles of DWI suspects without obtaining a criminal conviction.

Today, Keller's office made it official. Keller's office issued a news release about the program. Here it is:

Mayor Tim Keller Directs City of Albuquerque to Update Vehicle Seizure Program

Policy will comply with state law, seizures continue in cases where there has been a conviction

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - Mayor Tim Keller announced that he directed the City of Albuquerque to update the vehicle seizure program. Under the new policy, Albuquerque Police Department (APD) will be able to continue to seize vehicles in cases where there has been a conviction, bringing the policy into alignment with changes in state law and recent court rulings.

“Given changes in state law and recent court rulings, it’s time to update the City’s policy on vehicle seizures,” stated Mayor Tim Keller. “As part of constitutional policing, APD can continue to seize assets in cases where there has been a conviction. I directed APD to implement this change and have requested City Council to update the ordinance.”

Director of Communications Alicia Manzano stated:

“In order to bring municipal law in line with recent changes to state law, we need to limit the seizure program to cases where there has been a conviction. Going forward, we’re focusing our efforts on proactively combating drunk driving in our city.”

APD Director of Communications Gilbert Gallegos stated:

“We’re taking a more proactive and effective approach to fight DWI by doubling the number of traffic stops, increasing DWI checkpoints and saturation patrols, and securing grant funding for anti-DWI education, awareness and enforcement campaigns.”

Mayor Keller asked City Council to formally amend the ordinance.

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