APD officers work together to restore car for injured officer

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – After officer Mario Verbeck was critically injured last month in a shootout with a robbery suspect, APD officers are coming together to rebuild one of Verbeck’s old cars. But after weeks of work, they are running into more problems.

In his garage, officer Louis Hernandez has been working on a secret project, repairing the car of his good friend and coworker officer Verbeck who is still recovering after he was shot in the line of duty.

“As of this moment he believes the vehicle is just being stored here, he is not aware we are working on it,” Hernandez said.

Multiple officers from the Foothills substation have been spending their Saturday’s in Hernandez’s garage. Many times from 9 a.m. until midnight.

“We are police officers by day and mechanics by night,” Hernandez said.

What they thought was going to be a quick tune up of the engine has turned into an even bigger project.

“You know the saying how do you eat an elephant, well that’s what we have been doing trying to eat and elephant one bite at a time for the 3 of us it has been monumental,” Hernandez said.

So far they have rebuilt the front suspension the rear suspension, rebuilt the rear axle, replaced the exhaust system, flushed out the fluids, installed new shocks, and are still working on the engine. After all of that they say:

“We are still nowhere near completion of this vehicle,” Hernandez said.

Not only have they spent a lot of time on this car, they’ve also spent a lot of money

“We have been pulling a bunch of money out of our own pockets to buy tools and equipment to do this and we are just starting to run short,” said fellow APD officer Dustin Shrouf.

But they don’t want to give up now, so they are asking for any help or donations they can get from the community

“This was something that I wanted to jump in on because it’s helping out in a different way rather than just the GoFundMe type stuff,” Officer Shrouf said, “Mario is the sole provider for his family and he’s barely mobile at this point, it’s going to be years before he has the opportunity to even work on something like this so we want to finish it for him.”

So with every turn of the wrench these officers have Verbeck’s family in mind.

“Mario has been a friend of the family for 15 years, so if we want to do it, we want to do it right so that is why we took on the monumental task of literally rebuilding this vehicle,” Hernandez said.

If you want to help with the rebuild, you can drop off donations at any substation and let them know it is for Mario Verbeck’s car. If you have any questions on specific needs of the project, email lehernandez@cabq.gov or call 505-768-2267 and ask for officer Hernandez.