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Press Release

Justice Department and City of Albuquerque Seek Partial Termination of Consent Decree for Albuquerque Police Department After Consistent Policing Reform Progress

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department and the City of Albuquerque, New Mexico, filed a joint motion today seeking court approval to terminate certain portions of the consent decree covering the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). The joint motion comes on the heels of the independent monitor’s 19th report, also filed today, which concluded that the city and APD have reached full compliance with 96% of the consent decree’s terms, the highest level of compliance APD has achieved to date.

The joint motion asks the court to terminate 93 provisions of the consent decree with which APD has been in full compliance for at least two years. The provisions cover a range of topics, including use of firearms, crowd control and incident management, use of force reporting and training, behavioral health training, reporting misconduct, on-body recording devices and community and problem-oriented policing. 

“Our joint motion to terminate parts of this consent decree demonstrates that the Justice Department’s ultimate goal of ensuring constitutional and effective policing is closer to becoming a reality,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Albuquerque Police Department has shown that real progress is possible through consistent improvements in its policing over the last eight years, while also fulfilling its obligation to protect public safety. The Justice Department will continue working with police and city leaders and the community as they work to achieve full compliance with the remaining provisions of the consent decree. We will continue pushing for fair and constitutional policing in Albuquerque because residents deserve nothing less.”

“Meaningful change is always gradual,” said U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez for the District of New Mexico. “Partial termination is the natural next step after years of hard work from the City of Albuquerque and the brave men and women of the Albuquerque Police Department who chose service every single day. The goal of training wheels is to figure out how to ride without them, not how to install them permanently. My congratulations on this milestone; together, we will build the department that we deserve.”

APD has made substantial changes in reaching compliance with provisions of the consent decree the parties seek to terminate, including:

  • APD has ensured that all officers are properly trained on using firearms and APD tracks all critical firearm discharges;
  • Use of force is properly reported within APD and officers are required to record all use of force incidents;
  • APD’s use of force training is based on constitutional principles and officers and supervisors receive necessary training on an annual basis;
  • APD provides behavioral health and crisis intervention training to all new officers, as well as behavioral health training to all new telecommunicators, and ensures that existing officers and telecommunicators receive biannual behavioral health-related in-service training;
  • APD and the Civilian Police Oversight Agency have ensured that there is an effective and efficient system in place to accept, classify and track civilian complaints of police misconduct;
  • All new APD supervisors receive 40 hours of supervisory, management, leadership and command accountability training before assuming supervisory responsibility, followed by a minimum of 24 hours of annual management training;
  • APD has fulfilled all requirements regarding on-body recording devices (OBRD), including implementing approved policy and training on OBRD, requiring that officers operate OBRDs according to policy and holding supervisors accountable for ensuring that officers use OBRDs as required by APD policy;
  • APD has integrated community and problem-oriented policing principles into its operations, including its staffing allocations and deployment; and
  • The city has established Community Policing Councils that facilitate communication and cooperation between APD and local community leaders to enable collaboration on addressing crime and safety issues.

The U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico entered the consent decree in June 2015. The decree, as well as information about the Civil Rights Division, are available on the Special Litigation Section Cases and Matters website. Additional information about the implementation of the consent decree is also available on the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico’s website. If you believe your civil rights have been violated, please submit a complaint through our online portal.

Updated May 13, 2024

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 24-608