Updated: January 02, 2020 12:15 PM
Created: December 30, 2019 10:43 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— The city not only broke its own homicide record earlier this month, but continues to add to it. Early Monday morning, the number of homicides hit 80 after a body was discovered in northeast Albuquerque.
City officials said they are working on new strategies to ease the workload on officers and homicide detectives.
“I would say in the long term if I was looking at a long-term solution—I believe we need two homicide units. I think the best practices around the nation normally have two homicide units. Detectives should be balancing between three to five investigations and we're nearly double that,” said APD Commander of Criminal Investigations Joe Burke during an Oct. 10 city council meeting.
In addition to the 80 homicides this year, detectives are also taking on active cases from previous years.
Since Mayor Keller took office, there has also been a push for more officers. Commander Burke said since 2017, APD has seen an increase of 20 detectives in specialized units.
The homicide unit is one of them. There are now 10 detectives with one opening and one sergeant.
“We absolutely need detectives in criminal investigations. And I was happy when I went over at the end of July and was briefed on the status of the unit that there's a plan in place within the executive staff that when cadets are graduating from the academy that we're going to get a certain percentage specifically for the criminal investigations bureau,” Burke said.
Burke said the department is still working toward reaching 1,200 officers in order to expand those special units.
City officials said it would be ideal to have more homicide detectives to solve cases. They are also investing in other units for gang operations and a gun violence reduction unit.
The new cadet class is expected to graduate in spring 2020.
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