Newest APD Officers Not Street Worthy, Department Still Short Staffed
By: ABQRAW staff
Posted: 5/9/2022 at 12:00PM
ABQ - At this past Monday evenings marathon meeting of the full City Council body questions were asked by Councilor Louis Sanchez addressed to Chief of Police Harold Medina. Councilor Louis wanted a breakdown of how many "boots on the ground" Officers were actually patrolling the streets of ABQ.
The Councilor asked the question to find out if there has been any "improvement" in the numbers which the Keller administration promised to increase to 1100-1200 over four years ago.
City Councilor Louie Sanchez District 1
Councilor Sanchez was specific about "boots on the ground" numbers because often administrators at the department and at the Mayors office provide highly inflated officer numbers to the public.
The term "boots on the ground" refers to actual officers in uniform, in patrol cars, available to answer calls for service when citizens call for assistance whether it is a 911 call or non emergency situation.
In a ploy to confuse citizens or give a false sense of security often the department through a rogue PIO will give numbers of officers to include cadets in the academy who wont be on the streets for a year and other non uniformed Officers. These inflated numbers also include ranking administrative officers who wear polo shirts or t-shirts and cargo type pants in unmarked GOV vehicles with civilian license plates and are in no position to answer calls from citizens. APD Detectives are also not in patrol cars and wear plain clothes working out of offices and are also not answering any calls or writing reports from citizens therefore they should not count as "boots on the ground". Chief Harold Medina
During the meeting Chief Medina told council that the department has a total of 895 officers employed by APD far fewer than 1100-1200 budgeted. Of that 895 Officers, 469 of them are said to be on patrol in marked patrol cars answering all calls for service in ABQ. This is a scary number for a city our size. However internal sources have provided evidence that the last bid numbers had patrol at just over 326 officers. Where are the other 143 Officers which Medina claims are on the streets? Who is telling the truth? and who is lying about the numbers?
Councilor Sanchez commented that "we aren't getting any better" when referring to the amount of Officers keeping ABQ safe. He went on to say its their job as councilors to "make sure these things improve, and if they don't improve then things need to change". Medina responded that he agreed with councilor Sanchez that they need to "work together to make sure things improve"
Bullet resistant vests can be seen under an Officers uniform and are considered extremely critical for officer safety
Finally it was revealed on Tuesday after the meeting, that Medina's count included 28 Officers to include one (AFD arson investigator) who had just graduated from the 125th police academy. It was learned and confirmed that those newly sworn in Officers were not able to work the streets immediately because the bullet resistant vests were not available until after graduation.
We reached out to the purchasing department for the city of Albuquerque to ask who the vendor for vests was but they told us to use the IPRA (Inspection of Public Records) route and they had no comment. We did learn APD has been buying Angel Armor vests from a mysterious vendor for at least the past three years.
We also reached out the President of the APOA (Albuquerque Police Officers Association) Shawn Willoughby for comment and he is "embarrassed". President Willoughby is unsure of where the discrepancy is between the bid numbers and the numbers provided by Medina. He is also concerned that newly hired eager officers and now going to be sitting around because of an apparent clerical error. When asked about the vests for new Officers he said " It's embarrassing. Those guys need to be on OJT (on job training). The field needs their help, I don't know who dropped the ball, but somebody dropped the ball and it should have been done (ordering of the vests). That should not happen." He went on to say "Because they (Officers) need to be protected because they don't have bulletproof vests. That's embarrassing."