The Civilian Police Supervisory Board publishes its findings

ALBUQUERQUE- The Albuquerque City Council got a detailed view of the work the city’s Civilian Police Oversight Agency completed between July 1 and December 31 Wednesday night at its meeting. The agency’s chief executive presented the report for the council’s acceptance.

The report highlights that the agency handled 172 complaints during the reporting period. He received a total of 307 complaints, but some were either out of jurisdiction or repeated.

However, the agency only resolved 22 of those complaints, down from 104 resolutions during the same period in 2019.

“Honestly, he struggled early on to keep up with the number of complaints,” said City Council member Pat Davis. “And I think that’s what this report tells us is that we are still struggling.”

The agency’s executive director, Edward Harness, cited a staffing shortage and COVID-related adjustments as reasons for the low number of resolutions.

He also mentioned the fact that two of his investigators spent hundreds of hours investigating complaints related to protests on the subway last summer.

“One of the investigators spent over 500 hours reviewing video of these incidents,” Harness said. “And another investigator spent 300 hours viewing the video.”

The report also mentions recommended ODA policy changes.

ACPO board chairman Eric Olivas said they found two, surrounding video from the rear view camera and the department’s air support unit.

“One of the great things about these rear-view cameras is that they give us really pretty definitive evidence of what happened, what was said, what wasn’t said,” said Olivas said. “And they can really help us determine if a complaint is valid or if a policy has been violated.”

The agency asked the ODA to keep the video of the reverse longer and to prohibit officers from reviewing the video before their first statements. He also asked police to use the video to analyze politics and find trends in policing. As for the air support unit, the council asked the police to measure the effectiveness of the unit and whether funding it benefits officers and the public.

“A lot of times I think it comes down to a policy issue or a training issue,” Olivas said. “Where there is no good policy in place or if there is a training problem, the policy in place.”

The agency has already reviewed the numbers for the first half of 2021 and said it has already closed 67 investigations.

Harness said the agency should be fully staffed with four investigators by October.

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