Albuquerque Police Failed In Use-Of-Force Reviews, State Redraws Medicaid Cuts To Hospital

Jul 2, 2016

Albuquerque Police Failed In Use-Of-Force ReviewsAssociated Press

A federal court monitor's report says the Albuquerque Police Department has struggled to adequately review use-of-force cases, while the SWAT units are doing a better job of de-escalating standoffs and other high-stress situations.

Court-appointed monitor James Ginger delivered the assessment in his latest report for a federal judge. Ginger is tasked with tracking reforms mandated in a settlement agreement between the U.S. Justice Department and the Albuquerque Police Department, which came under scrutiny for a high rate of shootings by police between 2010 and 2014.

The police department is one of more than a dozen law enforcement agencies nationwide under a consent decree with the Justice Department.

Ginger's 352-page report filed Friday reviews the police department's reform efforts between December and March.

The Albuquerque city attorney says that since March, all police department supervisors have been trained on a new policy for conducting use-of-force investigations.

State Redraws Medicaid Cuts To Hospital, DentistsAssociated Press

New Mexico will cut Medicaid payments by less than originally planned for the University of New Mexico Hospital in response to concerns raised by Native American tribal leaders and others.

The Human Service Department that oversees Medicaid health care for the poor and disabled also is slightly reducing cuts to dentists. Most new rates went into effect Friday.

New Mexico is struggling to keep up with growing Medicaid obligations, as state revenues recoil from the downturn in energy markets and policy makers seek to preserve spending increases on education and public safety.

Documents obtained by the Associated Press show reimbursement rates still being cut by 2 percent for dentists, and by up to 5 percent at hospitals. The University of New Mexico Hospital had been singled out for higher cuts.

14-Day Quarantine Of One Barn At Ruidoso Downs Is LiftedAssociated Press

A two-week quarantine of one barn at Ruidoso Downs has been lifted.

Officials at the track say one horse in that barn tested positive for equine herpes virus on June 18 and was humanly euthanized.

They say the stable was placed under quarantine and there have been no positive tests in that barn or any other stable at Ruidoso Downs since that incident.

Officials say the strain confirmed in the horse was the neurotropic form of EHV-1, which can cause severe neurological problems in horses.

According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners, EHV-1 is contagious and spread through contact — either directly from horse to horse, or indirectly between horses via their human handlers, feed and water buckets, grooming gear, riding tack and trailers.

Forest Service: Wildfire Sparked By Forest Thinning EffortAssociated Press

The U.S. Forest Service says preliminary investigations indicate a wildfire that destroyed a dozen homes in the Manzano Mountains of New Mexico was caused by a wood chipping machine being used to clear wood and brush to prevent fires.

Forest Service Special Agent Robin Poague said Friday at a news conference in Chilili that he was confident that a wood masticator caused the Dog Head Fire that began June 14 in the mountains south of Albuquerque.

The fire is 95 percent contained. The wood chipper was operated by a contractor hired by the Forest Service under an agreement with the Pueblo of Isleta.

The crew operating the machinery first reported the fire.

Investigators continue to examine evidence are creating a detailed timeline from emergency dispatch records for public release.

New Mexico Men Among White House Summer InternsAssociated Press

Two New Mexico men will be spending the summer interning at the White House.

The White House announced Friday the names of nearly 170 participants from across the country who are taking part in the summer internship program.

The list includes Daniel Ahrens, of Los Alamos, who is a student of UC Berkeley in California, and David Maestas, of Las Vegas, who is a New Mexico State University student.

The program is aimed at preparing future leaders for public service.

The interns will work in one of several departments within the White House such as the Office of Communications, the Office of the Vice President and the National Economic Council.