Klein: Geier and Keller, take back our streets. Here's how.
The Albuquerque City Council, with approval of Mayor Keller, just spent $250,000 of our money to assist asylum seekers as they pass through Albuquerque. This is what generous people do and I am on board.
But what about Albuquerque citizens? Homeless people are everywhere. Crime is out of control. APD is in the midst of an overtime scandal. It’s nice to help the asylum seekers, but Mayor Keller and city council, what have you done for your citizens? And ten extra bike patrol officers, spread over 24 hours and 7 work days is not an answer. It’s spin. Let me give you a real answer.
First, Mayor Keller needs to end the Chief’s Overtime, policing for the rich program. This is inherently unfair, possibly illegal, and has been exposed recently ripe to be abused. End it now!
Second, the City Council should appropriate $900,000 each month for APD to use for officer overtime to target crime. I came to this number by doing the following equation. Ten veteran APD officers (overtime rate of $45 / hour, working 5 hours every day $2,225, 365 days a year equals $821,250. Each shift will require one sergeant (overtime rate of $53 / hour, 5 hours per day $265, 365 days per year $96,725).
Of course, there will be days, holidays, that will not have these extra officers. Thus, reducing the total dollar amount to $900,000 per month.
What will the citizens get from this expenditure? Fair and directed police action in crime ridden neighborhoods. The APD chief will be able to move these officers into high crime areas at a moments notice. The officers sign up for the overtime and are told that day where to report. It will require APD command to figure out what is happening and where, but isn’t that their job?
Third, this will help APD get into compliance with auditors regarding their overtime mess. By no longer allowing Chief’s overtime, the only overtime APD officers will be allowed will be for court, late calls and targeted overtime. This will allow APD to manage officers overtime, so we don’t have officers working 26-hours in a 24-hour time period.
APD officers would be allowed to work 20 hours of overtime per week. No more $200,000 / year patrolmen. APD officers would still make overtime money, crime ridden neighborhoods would get the police help they are begging for and the city would be able to easily manage it.
Of course, wealthy neighborhoods and individuals will cry that they want more police protection because they are rich and more deserving. They can cry me a river (Rio Grande River). If they want more protection, they can pay a private company for it. Police officers are public servants and should serve all of the public fairly and equally.
It’s time to get serious about taking back our city from crime. It’s time to get serious about APD overtime issues. It’s time to end the idea of policing for the wealthy.
Using public funds for directed overtime action for police officers to take back neighborhoods is the way forward. What APD has been doing, coffee with a cop, isn’t making our city safer. It’s time to be bold and put the men and women in blue in those neighborhoods that need them. Mayor Keller and the City Council, it’s time to put Albuquerque citizens first and take back our streets.