Federal monitor says Albuquerque police slow to reform

AP News
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Posted: Mar 19, 2016 4:56 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal monitor overseeing Albuquerque police reform says the department is still having problems writing new policies.

Monitor James Ginger wrote in a report released Friday that the department has reached operational compliance with only eight of 227 reforms and compliance with 22 of 277 primary tasks, according to The Albuquerque Journal (http://bit.ly/1Sa7URO ).

"It still remains a rough spot," Ginger said. "Until we're out of that rough spot, we're not going to get very far."

Ginger's recent statement follows previous status reports critical of the department's policymaking process. Ginger said Friday that problems have continued.

City Attorney Jessica Hernandez said the city has hired former U.S. Magistrate Judge Lorenzo Garcia to lead policy writing. Garcia has experience in examining police policy and training in the wake of lawsuit.

Albuquerque police came under scrutiny starting several years ago for dozens of police shootings since 2010. It's one of several agencies nationwide under a court-ordered agreement with the Justice Department.

As part of that settlement Ginger is serving as an independent monitor to ensure the department is making necessary changes.

Despite the slow work, Ginger said the police have recently attempted to clarify the policy writing process which could lead to positive changes.

Currently, Ginger said for many of the three- or four-page policies the department has submitted, the monitoring team and Department of Justice officials have had to make 70 or 80 suggestions and changes.

"What's happening right now isn't working," he said. "I'm anything but pleased."

At a briefing Friday, members of the City Council asked for more frequent updates from Ginger to help them hold the city and police administration accountable.

"We feel responsible to hold somebody accountable," Council President Dan Lewis said. "This is the council that requested the DOJ investigation."

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com