APD highlights reform success in court

Albuquerque, NM (KKOB) — APD leaders testified in federal court Tuesday, highlighting the 100% compliance with all requirements in the Court-Approved Settlement Agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, marking the most important milestone since the reform process started in January 2015.

DOJ officials said during today’s court hearing that if the department continues to meet reform requirements, the settlement agreement could end for APD by November 2025.

“Albuquerque has achieved compliance with all of the requirements in the consent decree that apply to the Albuquerque Police Department,” said Paul Killebrew, deputy chief of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. “This has been a victory that we’ve long waited to see.”

Today’s court hearing before U.S. District Judge James O. Browning was held to go over the 19th report issued by the monitoring team overseeing the settlement agreement. The Monitoring Team determined that APD reached “operational compliance.”

“The road to get here has not been easy, but we never gave up,” Mayor Tim Keller said. “We believed that real reform was possible. We believed that we could support law enforcement and maintain the highest standards of accountability, and we’ve done both.”

“Now that we are in full compliance, the next step is to stay in compliance,” APD Chief Harold Medina said. “And the job of reform and improving APD will continue to evolve. The community deserves to be safe, and the community deserves a department with the highest standards and an unwavering commitment to Constitutional policing.”

Killebrew also addressed concerns raised by some critics who questioned whether APD’s success in reaching compliance represents meaningful reform for the department. Killebrew said the same methodology that was used in its 2014 investigation into APD has been used by the Independent Monitoring Team to judge the department’s progress since then.

“That can sound like box checking; they (APD) have just done all the things that the court ordered,” Killebrew told the judge. “But that is not at all what this is about.” He said the monitoring team has thoroughly scrutinized real incidents involving APD officers using the high standards created through reform.