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Records Show Little Planning Before State Police Surge In ABQ

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Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham sent 50 state police officers to Albuquerque this summer to fight escalating violent crime. Public records show there wasn’t much coordination between state police and Albuquerque police before they came.

During interviews, spokespeople for both law enforcement agencies evaded questions about planning for the metro surge. APD’s chief said he heard state police were coming two days before the operation began, according to an Albuquerque Journal report.

It took weeks for the state Department of Public Safety to hand over the public records KUNM requested about instructions or tactical plans for the operation. Those records show that memos at both police departments didn’t go out until days after state police began patrolling in Albuquerque.

Early in the operation, state officers were involved in two separate shootings in the same evening that appeared to be out of line with APD’s use-of-force policies. State officers also don’t use body cameras, though APD is required to. And state police made at least one arrest for marijuana paraphernalia—which was no longer a criminal offense under city code, though it was still illegal under state law until July.

The surge of officers drew concerns from neighbors and advocates about the way the operation was unfolding and who was being targeted.

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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