Tuesday, October 20, 2015
The Great Escape: Mayor Berry Goes Blameless As APD Problems Continue With No End In Sight; Officer Shortages, Low Response Times And Soaring Property Crimes; Our Silent City
The average response time to the most serious 911 calls has slowed from 8 minutes and 56 seconds in the 2010 fiscal year to 10 minutes and 43 seconds in the 2015 fiscal year, which ended in June. In that same time, the number of Priority 1 calls Albuquerque police handled went from 53,000 to about 69,000, according to police records. In 2010, there were 30,663 violent and property crimes in Albuquerque. In 2014, there were 35,371, according to FBI statistics. While APD is losing officers and trying to recruit new ones, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office is close to fully staffed.
And then there's the tens of millions of dollars in lawsuit settlements because of police misconduct. That's on top of the Dept. of Justice having to to come in here and reform the APD at an additional cost of millions.
Folks, this is not a partisan position. This is an utter lack of accountability in which the City Council and the conservative citadels of power--the Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Forum, NAIOP and the newspaper--share the blame as well as the Republican Mayor who has been at the helm since Deember 2009 and who now fully owns this mess.
ABQ's unsafe climate and reputation for crime is killing business development and making increasing swaths of city acreage unattractive for everyday living.
The solutions are out there: Replace the APD command structure that has presided over this disaster, bring in a new first-class police chief from out of town, double or triple our cadet classes and if need be double or triple the budget to do it, pay our police officers among the best in the nation and demand the best cadet candidates and restore community policing in high crime areas.
We won't belabor the point but if this town faced the crime crisis it has today when Democrat Marty Chavez was Mayor they would have strung him up in Old Town Plaza and left him to swing in the wind.
Until you hear cries of pain from Berry's office, what you see is what you get.
Speculation that Mayor Berry will seek the '18 GOP gubernatorial nomination in the face of his administration's failure in the public safety arena as demonstrated by the inarguable facts noted above is nothing short of incredulous. It's almost as incredible as the police chief telling us that the shortage of police officers will get even worse.
For whatever reasons, ABQ is demanding much less of its leadership and it's getting less. No wonder the gun shops here are doing land office business.
THE BOTTOM LINES
We note the passing of former ABQ City Councilor, Bernalillo County Commissioner and UNM civil engineering professor Marion Cottrell. He was one of the first councilors when the city switched to the mayor/council form of government in 1974. His times were filled with passion, including the long-running battle over how the city should grow.
In 1981, after two terms on the council and two years as its president, Cottrell, a Democrat, ran and lost a race for Mayor in a field of ten candidates. He had a gravelly voice that sometimes had listeners leaning forward to discern, but it was a voice that was heard loudly and clearly in the political life of the Duke City. Marion Cottrell was 86.
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2014. Not for reproduction without permission of the author