New administration vows to improve relations with DOJ monitor
January 08, 2018 10:09 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- On day one, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and interim Police Chief Mike Geier were already behind on Department of Justice reform.
Years of often publicly displayed internal conflict between APD leaders and the department's court-appointed monitor have put the process to reform New Mexico's largest police department behind schedule and over budget.
Many questions come on the heels of 2018's first spending report detailing the money pouring into DOJ reform over nearly four years. Spending is on track to be significantly behind initial estimates. It's up to a new administration to change that.
APD's court-appointed monitor James Ginger has been frequently caught in the middle of what he referred to as resistance by former APD leadership to adopt and implement reform. Just months before Mayor Richard Berry left office, former city attorney Jessica Hernandez released secretly-recorded video of Ginger in an attempt to prove he held a bias against the department.
A federal judge admonished Hernandez for releasing that video.
On Monday, Keller's public safety spokesman Gilbert Gallegos told KOB the new city leadership is on track to change the relationship.
"Those meetings are coming up actually, starting next week," Gallegos said. "The team will be down here and everyone's working really hard."
Gallegos said Ginger and his monitoring team will meet with APD and city administrators. Gallegos said leadership is confident in early indications from Ginger that he will offer a clean slate to Keller's office.
"I think we've already gotten that impression. I think they are looking forward to a new administration, a new relationship," Gallegos said.
According to financial summaries released this month, stalled reform progress under Berry's administration has put spending on DOJ reform on track to surpass initial estimates by at least hundreds of thousands of dollars. Gallegos said what's done is done and it's about the future now.
"It's 'what are we going to do to make people feel safe?'" he said. "And right now that's working through this process and getting the resources to these officers so they can do their job."
Updated: January 08, 2018 10:09 PM
Created: January 08, 2018 09:27 PM
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