KUNM

Albuquerque Police Department

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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.

LEAD Santa Fe

Let's Talk NM 9/5, 8a: Communities across New Mexico are trying a new approach to substance use disorder: having law enforcement work with service providers to get people into treatment instead of sending them to jail. We wrap up our summer series on recovery with a discussion of Law Enforcement-Assisted Diversion and similar programs. We want to hear from you! If you've quit using drugs or alcohol, how did interactions with the criminal justice system help or hurt your recovery process? How do these diversion programs make a difference for people who want to quit using? Do they go far enough in treating addiction as a public health issue rather than a criminal issue? Email questions or comments to LetsTalk@kunm.org, or call in live during the show at (505) 277-5866.

New Mexico sent state police officers to patrol Albuquerque in May after a UNM athlete was shot and killed. Residents in some communities here raised concerns about over-policing and said their neighborhoods were being targeted. Officials said the state officers would be staying until around the Fourth of July. But as that exit date approaches next week, state police don’t have any idea about when they’ll be leaving.

David Holt via Flickr / Creative Commons License

A bill that would require universal background checks for almost all gun sales is a signature away from becoming law in New Mexico.

More than two-dozen sheriffs signed a letter opposing it, but the Albuquerque Police Department’s on board.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

There are headlines around the country about officers abusing their power, coercing, assaulting or trafficking sex workers. Not being able to trust police enough to report violent experiences is part of what makes people especially vulnerable to serial killers and rapists. Now, 10 years after a mass grave was discovered on the West Mesa, the Albuquerque Police Department is trying to rebuild trust and stop that from happening again. 

Three detectives are still working a combined 40 hours each week to solve the murders of nine woman and two teen girls whose remains were discovered on Albuquerque’s West Mesa in 2009.

KUNM spoke with Lt. Scott Norris, who took over the violent crimes section of the Albuquerque Police Department about a month ago and is now overseeing the investigation.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

It’s no secret that sex workers often don’t trust law enforcement and don’t ask police for help after incidents of violence. Officers around the U.S. are themselves arrested for trafficking, raping and abusing people on the street. Here in New Mexico, those stories pop up, too. And people who do that kind of work here say there’s a feeling that it’s either not safe, or that police won’t respond well if they report they’ve been attacked or assaulted. That can mean serial offenders go unchecked.

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Albuquerque is the worst city in the U.S. when it comes to vehicle thefts and break-ins. But auto thefts and burglaries are each down now by almost one-third, according to a report released Sunday.

Public Domain Pictures via CC

Pedestrian fatalities are up all around the United States—and New Mexico is no exception. We’re on track to have one of the worst rates in the country, and one of the worst years we’ve had in a while. Seventy-eight people were killed this year, and that number doesn’t count December. Better Burque blogger Scot Key has been following the problem for years, and he talked with KUNM about the reality of these deaths.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Jonathan Sakura looked at the spot where his car was parked outside his home a couple nights ago when someone smashed the rear window and grabbed his girlfriend’s bag. "It’s a bummer. It’s violating," he said. "You know, this is our property. This is our stuff. And somebody taking something that doesn’t belong to them— it’s kinda disheartening, and morale drops a little bit."

West Midlands Police via Twitter / Creative Commons License

New evidence has shattered the widely believed narrative of how 10-year-old Victoria Martens was killed in Albuquerque. Right after her death in 2016, detectives interviewed her mother Michelle, and based on that, they pinned the homicide on her and two other adults. But two years later, the District Attorney says that story is false, and DNA evidence points to another killer, who’s still out there.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

UPDATE: The Office of the Medical Investigator determined that the bones construction workers found are ancient and not related to the gravesite discovered in 2009.

Melorie Begay

The search committee for Albuquerque's new police chief drew criticism this weekend when community members questioned the search process. APD Forward hosted the event at the Albuquerque Convention Center to give the public an opportunity to speak to the committee about the city's hunt for a new police chief. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

All around the United States, students filed out of their classrooms on Wednesday, March 14, to stand for school safety. It’s been a month since the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

In New Mexico, school administrations had mixed reactions to the planned walkouts. Over the last couple of weeks, KUNM followed the students at an arts charter school in Albuquerque, as they organized with the support of school staff.

The city of Albuquerque says the monitor charged with overseeing reform of the police department is not neutral and has an ax to grind. James Ginger released his sixth report on APD’s progress. The Albuquerque Police Department also just last week  rolled out its own website: APDreform.com. A coalition of community groups called APD Forward says the site is little more than spin meant to hide lingering problems on the police force. 

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