Friday, July 10, 2015

On The Crime Beat: Baltimore Police Chief Gets Axe And Critics Want Same Here, Plus: Pay To Not Play; Stop Being An ABQ Criminal And Get A Grand A Month? 

Berry & Chief Eden
The news that the mayor of Baltimore has fired the city's police chief amid a spike in violence and riots over the death of a man in police custody grabs the attention of police watchers here. They wasted no time urging ABQ Mayor Berry to take the same action in his crime-ridden city. Dan Klein, APD critic and a retired APD sergeant, put it this way:

Baltimore has a mayor who actually holds her appointees accountable. Maybe Richard Berry should fly off to Baltimore. APD has lost 47 officers since the beginning of 2015. They only have around 9 APD cadets in the current academy. 911 response times are at over 11 minutes! Higher than I ever remember. Albuquerque murder rate is 300% higher when compared to this time last year, with many unsolved. Yet Eden and Berry say APD is doing great, why APD recruiting has had a million hits on their website. A million hits and only 9 cadets! Will Berry show the same leadership that her honor in Baltimore has shown? We know the answer.

And former ABQ City Councilor Pete Dinelli opined:

That's how Mayor Berry and the ABQ city council should be reacting to our police chief. ABQ has seen a dramatic increase in violent crimes, the horrific increase in response times to 911 calls and now has only 404 field officers taking 69,000 priority one calls. Yet we get a mayor who says APD is on the "right track" under Chief Eden's leadership and a city council that refuses to show any backbone in dealing with APD's continuing crisis.

Supporters of Chief Gordon Eden argue he has steadied APD, works well with the US Justice Department and is a cool head in a hot house environment. As for the council, it decided to send to the voters in October a city charter amendment that would require the council to confirm the police and fire chiefs.


The ABQ lawlessness recently spread to Lomas and Tramway, in the far NE Heights where Mayor Berry's political support is strongest. But the senseless murder of 60 year old Steve Gerecke--gunned down in his driveway by a group of juvenile thugs burglarizing area homes--has to rattle the Berryites. The crime patch is no longer confined to the so-called War Zone in the SE Heights or the Valley. It seems to be on a slow creep taking in more and more acreage.

Berry and the authorities will congratulate themselves for tracking down and arresting the juveniles but the story is that this was no gang-on-gang slaying. This was a hard-working family man residing in a neighborhood that has been pretty much immune to such tragedy. That's the story. Gerecke's death will not be in vain if it awakens the citizens in the far Heights that the APD crisis is a story they must stop turning away from.


One of our Legal Beagles checks in with an unusual and controversial program they think crime besotted ABQ might want to consider. It's out of Richmond, CA. which saw it's homicide rate skyrocket and then this:

An estimated 70 percent of shootings and homicides in Richmond in 2009 were caused by just 17 individuals, primarily African-American and Hispanic-American men between the ages of 16 and 25. We employed street-savvy staff members. . . to build healthy, consistent relationships with those most likely to shoot or be a victim of gunfire. Once we’d identified the city’s potentially most lethal young men, we invited them to a meeting. Then came the big innovation of the Operation Peacemaker fellowship program. We offered those young men a partnership deal: We would pay them--yes, pay them--not to pull the trigger. The deal we offered was this: If they kept their commitment to us for six months--attended meetings, stayed out of trouble, responded to our mentoring--they became eligible to earn up to $1,000 a month for a maximum of nine months.

In 2014, Richmond had the lowest number of firearm assaults and homicides in more than four decades. Maybe APD Chief Eden and Mayor Berry ought to take a field trip?

Thanks for stopping by this week.

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