Updated: February 25, 2020 06:14 PM
Created: February 25, 2020 06:12 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—A new city council committee focused on public safety hosted their first meeting Tuesday. The group of five city counselors who make up the Public Safety Committee will look at the issues that law enforcement officers face before the whole council takes a vote on them.
One of the topics for the Tuesday meeting was APD recruitment. APD told city councilors they plan on hiring over 120 new officers this year, which include 40 officers from different agencies.
"One of the greatest things I took out of today's meeting was the recruitment numbers. I really meant it when I said that I think it's a little bit of positivity to see what they displayed,” said District 4 Councilwoman Brooke Bassan. “The numbers are way more impressive than I expected them to. I am eager to see what the attrition rates are estimated to be even on a short term goal because we got to make sure to compensate for that in the recruitment."
City councilors also discussed the city motions to be released from some of their requirements from the Department of Justice.
"Well we're still hopeful. The city is still hopeful that we can move forward with some of our reporting required under the agreement. The cost of the federal monitor is quite expensive. Even if we could start self-reporting and get the judge to agree to that it'll be in the city's best interest,” said District 2 Councilman Isaac Benton.
The committee will meet once a month and focus on things like drug abuse, crime and budgets for the city’s police and fire departments. The group will forward their recommendations to the city council based on the data they receive.
A similar public safety committee existed in the past until city councilors voted to disband it in 2012. Eight years later, council members voted to bring it back under Mayor Keller’s administration.
City officials said this new committee gives them more time to ask questions and make informed decisions.
"It's great because it's a really good, intimate way to find out a little bit more of the details. It's a quieter atmosphere,” said District 4 Councilwoman Brooke Bassan. “It was something that we were able and capable of getting more information in a short period of time but then we can ask for more so that when it goes before the full council we can even have more answers.”
The public is welcomed and encouraged to take part in public comment at the committee meetings.
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