APD working to add more detectives to homicide unit

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The Albuquerque Police Department is trying to get a better understanding of what’s behind the city’s increased homicide count.

In 2021, there have been 42 victims and 10 people have been charged.

"2021 is trending higher though, absolutely, we’re not in denial of what that is," said Kyle Hartsock, APD deputy commander. "Something we’re already trying to do is increase the homicide unit up to 16 full time detectives. That process doesn’t happen overnight."

Hartsock said the homicide unit currently has 10 officers that are operational. The others are still in training.

"So we’re looking at each of those guys with about 4 cases," said Sgt. Rick Ingram. "Some of them vary quite a bit, and we’re in month 5, so we expect that to go up as the year goes on."

Hartsock says the national standard is four to six new cases a year per detective.

While those new detectives get on board, Hartsock said they will also be introducing a new detective academy.

It’s a two-week training course that will begin in June.

The first one will be mainly for current detectives, but other officers will have the opportunity to join.

"Allowing patrol officers to also attend the training is always a benefit because they are always the first on scene," Hartsock said. "The evidence is the freshest when they arrive, so giving them the training and the tools and the confidence to handle these things before the call-out occurs is always going to be beneficial."

In addition to beefing up the homicide unit, Hartsock the department will also be adding a full-time victim advocate to help better address the needs of grieving families.

"With the increase in homicides, it just makes the detectives really, really busy, and unfortunately they are not always able to return phone calls or answer certain questions the family might have and families deserve to have their questions answered," Hartsock said.