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APD now making good progress on reform effort

What a difference a year and a new mayoral administration and chief of police makes.

A year ago, the Albuquerque Police Department's command staff was blasted by a federal court judge for trying to torpedo the the department's reform effort and settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

But on Friday, the independent monitor who is overseeing the reform effort, praised APD for working to comply with the settlement agreement. The monitor, James Ginger, said APD is developing thoughtful and data-based ideas on the compliance effort.

And, Ginger said that APD is in operational compliance with the settlement agreement 59.2 percent of the time. That means that officers have been trained to new policies approved by the monitor and are being held accountable for violations of those policies.

“Given the scope and nature of issues confronted by APD at this time last year, these results are exceptional,” Ginger said in his eighth report on APD's reform progress. “The APD has, over the past year, worked closely with the monitoring team to assess the team’s findings, carefully considered response modalities for the information contained in the team’s findings and discussions, thoughtfully considered implementation strategies to improve performance, and held managers and supervisors accountable for implementing change strategies to respond to the monitoring team’s intensive technical assistance regarding a 'way forward' toward compliance.

APD's Compliance Progress

“The result of the APD’s focus and commitment goes beyond the simple increase of “in-compliance” findings for this report. The results have been generated by a careful and thoughtful analysis of problem-solving methodologies designed to address carefully the findings conveyed to APD by the monitoring team. Instead of simply applying random strategies to identified problems, the APD has taken a holistic, thoughtful, and, in many cases, a data driven process, that carefully considers what’s been done elsewhere in American policing that has been successful in solving problems and issues similar to those confronting the APD.”

But Ginger said that a lot of work remains to be done in the reform effort. APD still has issues with holding officers accountable when the violate policies, especially for use-of-force violations. And the department is still issuing 'Additional Concern Memos' “to dispose of policy violation issues, as opposed to actual findings and corrective action.”

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