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Endorsing Tim Keller for mayor, firefighters union releases hard-hitting ad

Caleb James
September 29, 2017 06:10 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- It gives you that feeling right away something's wrong. In a new political ad, a team of firefighters can hear screams inside a Northeast Heights home. They're powerless to respond.

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One voice says, "Engine one to alarm, ETA on police?" The reply: "Alarm to engine 1, there are no officers available."

The campaign ad for Albuquerque mayoral candidate Tim Keller is about as in-your-face as it gets. The Albuquerque firefighters union, IAFF Local 244, paid for the spot that hits airwaves Friday. Union President Diego Arencon said it's no more dramatic than real life.

"That's the reality of the situation we're in [here] in Albuquerque," Arencon said.

Perhaps the most ominous response to the ad Thursday comes from APD officers themselves. The police union tells KOB: "With our extremely low staffing, this is absolutely a scenario that could turn into reality. The lack of officers has a much bigger effect on the public's safety then most people are aware. It truly compromises the safety of everyone on the front lines, as well as those on the other end of the 911 call."

"We have no choice but to sit and wait until PD comes in," Arencon said.

For firefighters like Arencon, it's deeply personal.

"I remember waiting outside of a domestic call much like this," he said. "That's where it was born -- out of personal experience, out of having to wait an exaggerated amount of time. Not by the fault of PD. It's because there weren't officers available."

Arencon said the department already faces its own challenges: calls for service to Albuquerque Fire have skyrocketed 40 percent in a decade. Arencon said there's more need and more dangerous situations for first responders, but less police to respond.

The ad supports Keller for mayor in the upcoming election. It's an official endorsement from the largest firefighters union in the state.

Credits

Caleb James

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

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