Mayor, Chief, and Other Top Law Enforcement Officials Propose $10 Million Metro Crime Initiative
By: ABQRAW staff
Posted: 1/7/2022 @ 1:00PM
Entire press conference video link
Newly appointed BERNCO DA Sam Bregman
APD civilian PIO Rebecca Atkins hosted a press conference where several law enforcement partners discussed how they would start tackling the felony warrant backlog in Bernalillo County.
Law Enforcement Leaders Outline Metro Crime Initiative Capital Requests
ALBUQUERQUE – Mayor Tim Keller and Chief Medina announced a proposal today to create a $10 million warrant overtime fund to tackle a major backlog of felony arrest warrants that are crippling efforts to fight crime statewide, with $5 million dedicated to support the Albuquerque Metro area.
Mayor Keller was joined by APD Chief Harold Medina, BCSO Sheriff John Allen, District Attorney Sam Bregman, and US Marshal Sonya Chavez at a news conference on Friday to highlight the proposed new fund that will be used to support the personnel overtime needed to reduce the warrant backlog in Bernalillo County.
“Right now, in Albuquerque, there are 5,000 criminals with felony warrants walking our streets, including 35 who are wanted for murder,” Mayor Keller said. “We must fix this dangerous backlog and hold criminals accountable. Getting known violent criminals off our streets, working shoulder to shoulder, is something we can do right away to make our city safer.”
The $10 million request to the Legislature would create a Warrant Backlog Fund to cover overtime for cross-jurisdiction warrant operations. Rather than each agency doing occasional warrant operations, this fund would pay for a sustained effort between APD, BCSO, State Police and the U.S. Marshals Service to clear the backlog.
“We understand from experience that the entire county benefits from lower crime when law enforcement from APD or BCSO devotes resources to the backlog of warrants,” Chief Medina said. “With help from the Legislature and cooperation among all agencies, we can make a real difference in our community and support our officers.”
“The MCI door has been opened, and the Sheriff’s Office is happy to walk through that door with our partners, to work together to fix a broken criminal justice system and make our community safe,” said BCSO Sheriff John Allen. “Investments in technology and our officers will help us make a difference in Bernalillo County.”
“Dealing with the warrant backlog will have an immediate and profound effect on crime in ABQ,” said District Attorney Sam Bregman. “I cannot imagine anything more important than spending the necessary resources to go after violent criminals. My advice to anyone with a felony warrant: save some time and turn yourself in.”
“The US Marshal service is committed to Albuquerque and Bernalillo County in support of this initiative,” said US Marshal Sonya Chavez. “Finding felons is our business, and we do it in collaboration with our partners every day. Clearing the backlog is something we can do now.”
Mayor Keller and Chief Medina highlighted additional legislative requests for public safety infrastructure money. The public safety projects are designed to complement the Metro Crime Initiative, an effort started in 2021 to address the gaps in the criminal justice system and to collaborate on crime-fighting in the metro area.
The public safety projects include:
$10M to establish a Warrant Backlog Overtime Fund
$5M for Albuquerque metro warrant fund, $5M for statewide efforts
$10M for the Southwest Public Safety Center
$4M to create a University area command
$7M to expand capacity and at APD Academy
$2.8M for Real Time Crime Center and Technology Improvements
$20M for Coronado Park Recovery
Includes a Special Operations facility
Under Mayor Keller’s leadership, the City has made more than $70 million in technology investments to fight crime. APD is now at the forefront of tech advancements with the department’s Digital Intelligence Team, the Real Time Crime Center, ShotSpotter Technology and access to more than 6,000 cameras citywide. These additional investments will allow the APD to keep up with the needs in the Metro and use as many tools as possible to support public safety.
The Metro Crime Initiative includes several policy and budget requests, including support for officer recruitment and retention, increased funding for narcotics investigations, stronger penalties for gun crimes and expanding resources to combat domestic violence. In November, the City outlined its 2023 policy priorities for MCI in the upcoming session. You can read the priority list, here.