APD Announces Changes After Review of Officer-Involved Shootings
By: ABQRAW staff
Posted: 3/23/2023 @ 4:30PM
Albuquerque - At a news conference today the Albuquerque Police Department announced new ways for which they are going to train and equip officers to help lessen and or prevent future officer involved shootings.
Here is the full press conference:
Increased training on hands-on/empty-handed tactics
More effective use of hands-on tactics may have allowed officers to bring some situations to a resolution prior to the use of deadly force. APD will consider increased maintenance training for officers regarding hands-on tactics. APD will ensure the training is provided by qualified staff and delivers consistent instruction.
Increased consideration of Less-Lethal Munitions
The working group identified several OIS incidents in which there was potential opportunity for the use of less-lethal munitions prior to the use of deadly force. APD identified an issue with the policy, which has already been addressed in revisions to APD’s use of force policy published in January 2023. These revisions clarify the circumstances under which less-lethal force may be used and standardize the justification for using similar types of less-lethal force. APD has released a brief training video to address these issues ahead of planned start date of April 2023 for more in-depth training on the revised policy. Further, APD drafted its upcoming Reality-Based Training scenarios to focus on situations commonly faced by officers as well as issues discussed during the working group. In addition, APD will ensure officers continue to receive training on weapons selection to ensure less-lethal options are effective. Specifically, APD will continue to issue reminders about the limitation of Electronic Control Weapons (ECW) during colder months due to bulky clothing.
In several of the OIS incidents, there were critical situations that might have benefited from a supervisor on scene and/or more active involvement from supervisors. The working group will ensure APD return into policy for both APD and Emergency Communications that supervisors respond to certain calls for service. Finally, APD will increase focus on command and control during maintenance training for supervisors to include scenario-based training.
A significant number of officers involved in shootings had less than six years of experience. This observation is not surprising as the majority of OIS incidents occur with the Field Services Division and less-experienced officers tend to be assigned to FSB, during night shifts. APD officers complete a lengthy training academy as well as field training program upon graduation. However, to ensure newer officers continue to benefit from the guidance of more experienced officers, the working group recommends APD evaluate implementing a policy that Patrolmen Second Class (officers with a year or less experience) are not sent to calls for service with other P2C unless there is an urgent need. APD already limits the number of P2C officer bidding into the same squad.
Additional Equipment for Officers
One of the trends that emerged from review of 2022 OIS incidents is the number of times individuals fired upon officers. APD will evaluate providing all supervisors with a ballistic shield who will provide the shields to their officers during critical incidents when necessary. Additionally, APD will evaluate providing magnifier optic for officers with rifles. Magnifier optics can provide increased visualization for officers and may assist officers in evaluating the threat presented by an individual from a distance.
At least one OIS incident occurred after the primary suspect was taken into custody. Although policy and several legal doctrines allow officers to briefly search the area where individuals are taken into custody, APD will evaluate these policies to ensure officers do not have potentially unnecessary confrontations with individuals who are not suspected of a crime. To the extent a warrant is issued for a particular residence, APD will consider whether additional resources are necessary to execute a search warrant.
APD policy requires that officers attempt to render medical aid following an OIS incident, where officer safety considerations allow. One OIS incident was referred for further investigation for failure to render medical aid. Although APD does not have sufficient information to make a determination as to whether additional efforts would have improved the individual’s outcome, APD remains committed to ensuring officers provide appropriate medical care within their abilities. APD will ensure officers continue to receive training on wound care and will include post-incident wound care in future RBT scenarios.
Future Shooting Reviews
APD intends to convene this working work on a semi-annual basis moving forward to discuss any future OIS.