Keller welcomes federal help to fight crime in ABQ, but skeptical about Trump's Operation Legend | KOB 4

Keller welcomes federal help to fight crime in ABQ, but skeptical about Trump's Operation Legend

Keller welcomes federal help to fight crime in ABQ, but skeptical about Trump's Operation Legend

Ryan Laughlin
Updated: July 23, 2020 06:38 PM
Created: July 23, 2020 04:45 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller is hesitant to trust Pres. Trump following his announcement that federal agents will be deployed to help fight crime in Albuquerque for Operation Legend.


"So there's a history of two-facedness coming from D.C.," Keller said. 

The Trump administration said the agents who are sent to Albuquerque will not look like the agents in Portland, who have clashed with protesters.

Prior to the president's announcement, Keller categorized the federal agents as "secret police." KOB 4 asked Keller if he regrets classifying the agents in that manner.

"Well it was just two days ago when that's what the president was explicitly talking about," Keller said. "So you know, one day has changed. And what we see is, we're all very concerned about what this is and what it's not. Because the president is saying one thing and I think our local officials are saying another."

Attorney General Bill Barr said 35 federal agents will be sent to the Duke City to assist with investigations. The federal partnership is not an uncommon practice for the Albuquerque Police Department.

"It's really the original plan from Operation Relentless Pursuit," said APD Chief Michael Geier.

Geier claims Operation Legend is essentially the same thing as Operation Relentless Pursuit, which was rolled out in late 2019. Barr said the program was paused due to the pandemic.

"It seems to be the same thing. From everybody I talked to today in the federal partners they insist it is the same thing and that - again - they're not even here to take it over from us," Geier said. "They're going to work side by side with us."

Under Operation Legend, APD is eligible for millions of dollars to hire more officers. Geier said the department could use the money and resources.

"Well we definitely need it," he said. "We're at about 1,000 officers now, but we're still understaffed."

In 2019, Albuquerque broke a record for homicides, and Chief Geier said the violent crime in 2020 is at about the same rate as it was the previous year.

Keller disputes the idea that politics are playing a role in his criticism of the president's offer to help. Keller said the city has requested help in the past.  

"Well I would just say the facts are really important, and we have asked for assistance in numerous ways and continue to," Keller said. 

Keller said he welcomes the help from the federal government if the agents meet the values Albuquerque and follow city ordinances.

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