APD announces changes to use-of-force policy

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Albuquerque Police Department has revised its use-of-force policy to clarify how and when officers can use non-lethal force.

APD’s updated policy outlines when officers should and can use certain levels of force, such as tasers, beanbag shotguns and K-9 deployments.

Police said they have removed the language of “immediate threat” and kept the term “imminent threat” in their policies to reportedly eliminate any confusion.

“We wanted officers to be clear on when they could use less lethal force,” said Victor E. Valdez, superintendent of police reform at APD and retired judge. “We found officers should be able to use less lethal force sooner than they were formally able to under the previous policy. These revisions allow better protection to both the public and the officers when confronted with a violent individual.”

Police said the changes have been approved by the Department of Justice. The DOJ started overseeing APD in 2014, citing a pattern of excessive force over the years. Part of that agreement was suspended last August.

“De-escalation continues to be the main objective for our officers,” APD Chief Harold Medina said. “Our goal with these changes is to make sure that if de-escalation is not possible, we exhaust every tool available to apprehend offenders, only using a firearm as a last resort.”

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