How much is Albuquerque prioritizing public safety?
November 09, 2017 05:48 AM
Editor's note: The Albuquerque runoff election is Tuesday, and KOB invited former mayoral candidate Gus Pedrotty to be a special guest that night. There are few people who know Tim Keller's and Dan Lewis's message better than Pedrotty. He spent months on the campaign trail, attending more than 40 forums and debates with them.
Since the general election, Pedrotty has been educating others about important city issues. As a special election night analyst for KOB, here's what he thinks you should know about public safety budgets in the city.
The videographer for this piece was Joshua Romero; find more of his content on Instagram at @romshua. The artist for this video was Diego Villegas; find him at @diegoprobably.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – On Tuesday, we all have the opportunity to use our vote as our voice to elect a new mayor of Albuquerque. The biggest conversation during this election has been crime and public safety.
But this discussion is missing you. Turning our city around doesn’t just take police, fire department personnel or contracted services – it takes everyone.
The first step we can take to make our city safer is to become informed voters. You’ve probably heard the sound bites, but here are simple facts and sources so you can make better decisions and ask better questions. Those sources can be found simply: Through the hyperlinks on this page.
WHAT KIND OF INFORMATION CAN I FIND, ANYWAY?
Public safety is complicated. In Albuquerque, it takes up almost 30 percent of the city’s entire budget.
One way we experience this utility is in the response time to an incident. Over the last few years, response time to incidents has been increasing. You can easily find historical averages, current year goals, actual and projected stats, and the plans for the future in the city budget on page 204.
There are many variables that affect response time. We’ve all heard about an officer shortage, so let’s pick a different one to look at: The city’s emergency dispatch center. This doesn’t just include police, but also fire and medical services.
Your tax dollars went towards an important study by Weiss Consulting that shows we can reorganize our dispatch to provide more effective and efficient service.
And yes, if an officer shortage is part of it, then that also deserves a response. What is it about the workload or structure around the 845 sworn officers in our police department that requires more? We know that the structure of our police department and its six bureaus will change with our next mayor.
One bureau that provides patrol over our city’s six area commands is the Field Services Bureau, with 527 members in the field. Other than recruitment, both mayoral candidates have pledged to change the interaction and organization of brass and beat officers to increase area patrol.
With public information available to us in the budget and Weiss report, as well as recent candidate forums, we can ask better questions and track the rollout and impact of these changes.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that even one emergency response can affect all of us. Before calls happen, before emergencies happen, it’s you that can be out there making your city safer. How? By choosing to know your neighbors, going out downtown, playing in the parks and living all over your city.
And, by making sure to vote in this election.
This information and its reality belong to the voters, so take your city back by the ballot box, and use the resources at hand to hold your candidates and elected officials accountable.
Updated: November 09, 2017 05:48 AM
Created: November 08, 2017 02:31 PM
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