Keller's APD lies, unkept promises
-- Three years after Keller became mayor APD is still a mess. Albuquerque is still overrun with crime.
-- It is clear from Keller’s 2020 speech that he would rather fudge facts and numbers to appease Albuquerque instead of taking ownership of this mess.
I have a calendar on my desk, like most of you have, where I make notes for future reference. One of those notes said, “Tim Keller State of the City speech January 11, 2020”. You can watch it here:
The reason I marked this date is because Keller made several announcements one year ago, that I wanted to fact check a year later. I do this because of past lies (false APD crime stats and Geier’s so-called retirement jumps to mind) whenever Keller and his management team at APD speak. Unlike most local media outlets, I refuse to simply regurgitate press releases and canned statements from politicians.
Readers deserve better reporting.
Tim Keller is all about visual charisma and charmingly good looks. Studies have shown that people support those they believe are handsome and good looking. Elections are not about policy, ideas and ability, they are a popularity contest like a high school prom and plain-looking candidates need not apply. Which is why I decided to listen and not watch Kellers’ state of the city speech. I recommend that you do the same.
At 51 minutes Keller talks about the Albuquerque Police Department and the Department of Justice monitoring. Keller stated:
“When it comes to APD we need to talk about the DOJ settlement. I will tell you there are 276 requirements that APD has to develop policies for, train officers on, implement and then show the monitor that he can trust us to do it on our own. Only after we do all of those 276 requirements will the DOJ actually end their oversight. We decided to make a compliance bureau to work with the DOJ instead of against them. Because of the hard work of that bureau and every single police officer at APD we are announcing that next month we are walking into court and asking to end the outside monitoring of nearly one-quarter of all those requirements”
Every person in the audience applauds enthusiastically, but did it happen? NO.
February 2020 came and went without the city asking the court to end the monitoring. In the summer of 2020, the city filed and then withdrew the request to end some of the monitoring. Why?
“The Albuquerque Police Department has failed miserably in its ability to police itself…. I would have to be candid with the court and say we’re in more trouble here right now today than I’ve ever seen.”
Federal Monitor Dr. James Ginger October 2020 report to the court on APD. 12th Federal Monitor’s Report: APD “On The Brink Of Catastrophic Failure”; “Failing Miserably To Police Itself”; Police Union Obstructs Reforms; COMMENTARY: Remove Sergeants And Lieutenants From Union; Abolish APD Internal Affairs | (petedinelli.com)
If APD was failing so miserably why did Keller tell us differently? Why indeed.
Keller then makes the following statement about APD:
“We set an ambitious goal to hire 100 officers per year for the next four years and we got our first batch on the streets just a few months ago. I am so proud to announce the next 100 are on the way. They are in the academy right now and in 2020, for the first time in years, our department (APD) is going to be at 1,000 officers strong.”
Once again this is met with applause from the audience, but a year later does APD have 1,000 officers? NO.
At the same time Keller was giving his January 2020 State of the City speech, APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos reported to the ABQREPORT that APD had about 950 sworn officers. On January 3, 2021, the Albuquerque Journal reported that APD had 974 sworn officers (with another 55 cadets slated to graduate in March of 2021). Keller has hired more officers since he took over, but it seems that APD is now stuck, unable to stay above 1,000 officers (the number Keller promised). The reason APD is stagnant is because APD is losing veteran officers at a rate that does not allow it to grow.
I researched the entire police payroll for the first pay period in 2021. As of January 9, 2021, APD payroll shows that there are 953 sworn officers and now only 48 cadets in the academy. Why the discrepancy from January 3 to January 9?
I am sure APD and Keller knew that the end of the year brings a lot of retirements for APD. Why did Keller / APD give the Journal the end of 2020 numbers instead of the reality of the real 2021 numbers? Because 2020 would make Keller look better.
If APD payroll records are correct, and why wouldn’t they be, APD has only the slimmest chance of getting to Keller’s 1,000-officer goal in March 2021, a year later than he promised. Keller would have to pray that no cadets nor officers leave the department in the next three months. Based upon past performance that certainly does not seem likely. Knowing the number of officers that APD continues to lose on a yearly basis to retirements, terminations and resignations, my hunch is APD will still hover around 950 officers when January of 2022 comes around.
Mayor Keller promised us a year ago that his police department would attain 1,000 cops in 2020, it didn’t happen. Keller promised that APD was doing great with the DOJ consent decree when they weren’t. Keller clearly mislead the public in these two issues during his 2020 speech, it makes me wonder what else has he mislead us on?
Three years after Keller became mayor APD is still a mess. Albuquerque is still overrun with crime. It is clear from Keller’s 2020 speech that he would rather fudge facts and numbers to appease Albuquerque instead of taking ownership of this mess. 2021 is an election year, I hope Albuquerque is fed up with smiling untruths and elects a mayor who will fix this mess.