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Ricardo Chaves

September 07, 2017 05:34 PM

Editor's note: KOB did not edit the responses from the candidate.

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Q: How would your administration select a qualified police chief for the Albuquerque Police Department?

A: I will conduct a nationwide search for someone outside of the current APD command structure who has a proven history of turning around police departments. We must find someone beholden to no one, who can do the job without being micromanaged by the mayor and council.

Q: Using specific language, what do you believe is the appropriate staffing level for sworn officers at the Albuquerque Police Department and how do you plan on achieving that level?

A: Studies show that a city of our size requires about 1,200 police officers. We’re not going to get there overnight. It takes time to attract, hire and train new officers, and they won’t come without changing the leadership of the police department.

Q: Do you believe that the Albuquerque Police Department is properly funded? Please explain your answer.

A: No, I don’t think the police department is properly funded. I will fully fund the APD in my first budget, while cutting waste and unnecessary duplication and bureaucracy from the APD’s budget and putting those savings into hiring more officers on the beat.

Q: From 2010-2016, auto thefts in Albuquerque increased by 177 percent. What specific ideas do you have to reverse that trend?

A: The issue of skyrocketing auto thefts is personal for me, since I even had my car stolen a few months back. Luckily, it was recovered, but I know others weren’t as lucky. We have to get the proper level of police officers so they can investigate auto thefts and even prevent them by having a strong community presence through community policing.

Q: In the same time frame, homicides in Albuquerque increased by 52 percent and robberies increased by 97 percent. What specific ideas do you have to reduce violent crime in Albuquerque?

A: We must put more police on the beat, where they can fight crime effectively, and deter it. A strong community presence through community policing and outreach by the department will help do this, and we’ll immediately see a decrease in these kinds of crimes.

Q: There is much distrust in local law enforcement right now. According to the 2017 Garrity Perception Survey, only 55 percent of respondents stated police officers are trustworthy people. How would you change that perception?

A: Right now, the department has a crisis of leadership and training. We have to get a new police chief and make changes to the command structure to begin to solve these internal problems.

Q: In recent months, APD’s public information staff has been accused of lying, destroying and tampering with evidence to help APD’s image and intentionally misleading the public and local media. What expectations would you set to ensure the public has a transparent view into the Albuquerque Police Department?

A: I was very upset to learn that the APD’s public information officers and the chief himself lied about the APD’s handling of the Victoria Martens case, and of other instances of lying. I expect the APD, from the chief down, to always tell the truth, and to be transparent about the cases they’re investigating, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their investigations.

Q: What kind of legislative bills would you instruct City of Albuquerque lobbyists to advocate and advance in the New Mexico State Legislature? Please be specific.

A: They should work to fully fund the DA’s office, so they can properly and completely prosecute case, and we can stop the revolving door of career criminals.

Q: Conversations about reducing crime must go hand-in-hand with addressing the city’s economy and job opportunities. What will you do to improve Albuquerque’s economic health?

A: Albuquerque's economy is in a downward spiral. Cutting the tax burden on our citizens, cutting regulations for businesses, and solving our crime problem, will spur economic growth, attract companies, and create new jobs. This city is ready to grow if we just had the courage to take action, but politicians seem unable to act. Very few people are building here anymore, and businesses aren't moving here. It seems like the only construction being done is by the government, at taxpayer expense. This has got to change.

Q: Are there best practices from other cities that have a proven record of success in reducing crime that you would like to try in Albuquerque? What are those ideas and how would you implement them?

A: I’ve always admired how Rudy Giuliani in New York City turned around their police department in the 1990s. They effectively used the “broken window” theory – that you don’t allow small things to slide, which signal’s the police department’s determination to crack down on larger crimes. We don’t have the manpower to stop speeders or patrol neighborhoods routinely, and the criminals know it.

KOB

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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