Posts Tagged ‘New Mexico’

Re-funding proposal in Albuquerque

June 22, 2020

Albuquerque’s mayor has proposed creating a Community Safety Department staffed by specialists “who would be dispatched to homelessness and ‘down-and-out’ calls as well as behavioral health crises,” as reported here. The new department would be under the public safety umbrella along with police and fire. An official said “the city needs a pipeline of trained professionals to staff the department and that city leaders plan to work with state colleges and universities to create a pipeline program in which the city can help fund education for students who commit to coming to work for the new department after they complete their education.” Funding details have not been worked out, but city leaders argue the plan will allow police to focus more on their core functions, including community policing and investigations.

Meth and OIS in Colorado

February 7, 2020

These two Public Radio segments (Part 1 and Part 2) discuss the connection between methamphetamine abuse and police use of force in Colorado. For the period 2014-2019 the state had the nation’s 5th highest rate of fatal shootings by police, trailing only Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. During that period, 44% of the deceased suspects had meth in their system, according to autopsies, far higher than for any other substance. Experts say that heavy meth use leads to paranoia and delusions and “when people are using this drug, they’re significantly more likely to act out in a violent or hostile manner.” They also tend to be unfazed by less-lethal responses such as pepper spray and Tasers.

5 facts about crime in the U.S.

October 21, 2019

A useful synopsis of crime in the U.S. as of 2018 is available here from the Pew Research Center. Violent and property crime are down dramatically over the last 25 years, although these gains are not always recognized by the public. Crime rates vary substantially around the country — Alaska and New Mexico have violent crime rates 4 times higher than Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Shooting reviews in New Mexico

August 31, 2019

Per capita, New Mexico has had more police-involved fatal shootings than any other state in 3 of the last 4 years, according to this article. Family members and critics express frustration over the length of investigations, lack of transparency, and inconsistency across the state’s 33 counties and district attorneys. Proposals have been made to shift the responsibility to the state’s attorney general or some other state agency but legislation has not been enacted so far.

2019 POP Conference agenda

July 25, 2019

The 2019 POP Conference will be held November 11-13 in Santa Cruz, California. The preliminary agenda and registration information are here. The 5 finalist agencies for the Herman Goldstein award will present their problem-oriented policing initiatives and there will be 18 other sessions, some repeated twice. The range of topics includes domestic violence, opioids, chronic nuisances, auto burglaries, reducing alcohol-related harm, and much more, including introductions to POP, problem analysis, and situational crime prevention.

Rape kits in New Mexico

December 17, 2018

New Mexico has cleared its state crime lab backlog of 1,400 rape kits, while Albuquerque PD has cleared about half of its nearly 6,000 kit backlog, according to this article. The city’s testing has led to 575 matches so far, including both previously identified and unidentified suspects. To date, only 4 new cases have been referred for prosecution. Police say that once they get a match, they “begin a lengthy review of the evidence in the case and identify witnesses before reaching out to victims about the outcome of the rape kit tests.”

Navajo Nation police revival

October 3, 2018

The largest tribal police force is Navajo Nation, which covers an area larger than West Virginia. The agency struggled for almost a decade without a permanent police chief, but recently re-opened its police academy and graduated a new class of officers, with another class underway, according to this article. A senior officer says homegrown policing is key: “We are from this community. We understand the language, the personalities, the puns that we have. We understand our own people better than anyone who would come in.”

DNA errors

September 27, 2018

DNA evidence is widely regarded as iron-clad. Particularly when the evidence is a mixture from several people, however, crime labs are prone to make errors, according to this op-ed column. In one study, 74 out of 105 labs incorrectly implicated an innocent person in a test sample, and the labs’ calculations of probability statistics varied hugely. Independent reanalysis of DNA has recently led courts to overturn 5 convictions. Efficient methods are now available for reanalysis of DNA mixtures in past cases, but labs and prosecutors do not seem anxious to adopt them.

Federal judge rules against Albuquerque civil forfeiture

July 31, 2018

This article reports a federal district court ruling that Albuquerque’s civil forfeiture procedure for vehicle seizure is unconstitutional. The city had a practice of seizing cars involved in DUI and driving while revoked cases even though the offending driver was not the owner, and then requiring the owner to prove their innocence in the case and pay heavy fines before getting the vehicle back. Also, the city used the revenue from the program to directly support program staff, creating a clear incentive to raise funds at the expense of vehicle owners.

Improving line-up procedures

July 16, 2018

This article reviews suggested modifications to police line-up procedures designed to reduce mistaken identifications by witnesses, which account for 29% of post-conviction exonerations. Better procedures have been well known for 20+ years and have been endorsed by professional organizations, but not all departments have adopted them. Louisiana recently enacted statewide requirements, with proposals also pending in California, Iowa, and New Mexico.