Friday, July 20, 2012

A Good Move

Kudos to Mayor Richard Berry for bringing in a new civilian director of the Albuquerque Police Academy.  It is good news for us who want a police force made up of public servants instead of heavily armed and costumed men with the ingrained training to shoot.  I can tell you that this is a gutsy move for Mayor Berry who will suffer from APD's incestuous make up.  His new man, Joe Wolf, will certainly have his work cut out for him.  If you think it isn't necessary then just look at the Journal story today about the itchy trigger fingers of the SWAT team in a recent operation.  The members were contemplating leaving the suspect at the home of the Mayor or a Journal reporter's front steps.  In other words, "Why don't they let us kill him and get it over with."  That comes from bad training.

I have opined for years that the training at APD was responsible for its reputation as a force that was violent beyond necessity.  It was always a problem.  When I was Mayor I brought in a police chief from outside to try and fix things and made some little progress with the academy until Mayor Chavez put everything pretty much back to square one in return for support of the police  union.

I am hopeful the media will pay some attention to this effort.  It will take some effort other than regurgitating videos from officer's chest cams and car cams.  It will require keeping an eye on the training curriculum for our officers and the support the old-timers will give in compliance.

1 comment:

Bubba Muntzer said...

Training is critical. I remember having police tell me that in high intensity situations they merely reacted on their training.

I think it goes beyond that, too, this shoot first policy of the Albuquerque police, when violence is an accepted way of solving problems. From the government waging war to the governor carrying a concealed weapon to the ritualized violence of football, and on an on.

It's such an integral part of our culture that it's hypocritical to arbitrarily say to this one that it's OK and to that one that it's not. It doesn't take an Aurora, Colorado to see that.