$5M in funding available to tackle warrant backlog in Bernalillo County

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BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. – On Saturday, the funding for a new crime fighting plan officially hit the bank accounts.

The $5 million in funding is meant to help find suspects with felony warrants in Albuquerque. But, police say they’re too busy, or understaffed to go get them.

“If you don’t serve them, you can’t do anything about it,” said state Rep. Joy Garret. 

Garret is talking about warrants that’s the focus of this year’s Metro Crime Initiative

“The past year, constituents in my district and across the state have really indicated that fighting crime, reducing criminal activity, and gun violence are their number one request,” said Garret.

The Albuquerque Police Department says they served almost 2,000 felony warrants, and made more than 1,100 felony warrant arrests since January.

When the funding was first announced, officials said some of the $10 million would go toward overtime for officers to work on warrants. 

Recently, APD announced plans to put that in motion.

“We’re actually moving some schedules around to make our investigators have one day of the week where they do nothing but pickup warrants. So, we’ve changed their schedules to a 4 to10. That means on the fifth day, they’re gonna go out thanks to our Legislature, and the funding, and go out and use that fifth day to pick up a lot of those felonies warrants that are still outstanding,” said APD Deputy Chief Josh Brown.

Garrat says there’s always more that can be done during the legislative session, but on this matter, both sides of the aisle were united.

“This is a nonpartisan issue. Republicans, Democrats, Independents – we all agree that we have to fund the programs, provide the money, so we can get crime under control,” said Garret.

She says clearing the warrants is a major part of helping lower crime in the metro, but it has to be a multipronged approach.

“The other things that I think are really important to do is to fund behavior, and mental health treatment plans. Because we know some of the criminals have issues they have root causes that are part of the problem,” Garret said. 

She says updating technology for law enforcement is crucial as well. While funding is available Saturday, the county is still working out how its share will be allotted.

Garret says she’s excited to see the initiative move forward.

“I’m hopeful and expected that this will make a major dent,” said Garret.