What is the process for police officers to check into court?
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For two weeks, KOB 4 has been uncovering a federal investigation into several officers from the Albuquerque Police Department’s DWI unit.
Many of you have asked how someone didn’t catch on when these officers were reportedly missing court dates. So what is the process for officers to check in for those appearances?
In 2007, the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court implemented a digital officer check-in system.
“Now that the majority of hearings are virtual, we are able to access that system from their patrol cars, from home, wherever they may be appearing for virtual court,” said Camille Baca, public information officer for Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court.
Baca says Metro Court is one of the few courts in the country with this technology.
Here’s how it works. When officers have to appear in court, they check in virtually. Officers will select which agency they are from, verify that the information is correct, and receive a notice that they have successfully checked in.
The system helps judges know which officers have checked in and which ones have not. However, it is not used to track which officers are repeatedly missing court.
“The liaisons from each of the law enforcement agencies that would appear in Metro Court, they do have access to our officer check-in system where they are able to input notes, such as if an officer is running late, may be on a call, or if an officer may be out sick for the day, whatever it may be,” Baca said.
APD Chief Harold Medina already said he’s asked the courts to help them track who’s missing court dates, and Baca confirms a local law enforcement agency reached out with that request.
“We don’t have the details ironed out at this time,” Baca said. “As I mentioned, this is something that the court has agreed to do as a courtesy. It is not the court’s responsibility to get these witnesses to court, so this is what the court is doing for help.”
Something important to note is a lot of the time when officers do appear at Metro Court, it’s for a traffic citation rather than a DWI case. In fiscal year 2023, Baca says there were nearly 18,000 traffic citations filed in Metro Court and just less than 2,000 misdemeanor cases.