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Reports of sexual assault and misconduct at the University of New Mexico have been on the rise since the school entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, according to recent crime statistics. 

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Let’s Talk New Mexico 9/21 8a: It’s the No. 1 issue on voters’ minds heading into the municipal election on October 3. Some mayoral and Council candidates in Albuquerque are calling for more police officers on the force and a new police chief. What do you think it will take to decrease the number of violent crimes and property crimes?

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

A lawyer with the Department of Justice said in Federal Court on Wednesday, May 10, that the Albuquerque Police Department has made “remarkable progress” in its reform process. But Judge Robert Brack said a recent report is troubling.

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KUNM Call In Show Thu. 4/27 8a. For years, the University of New Mexico’s been heavily criticized about how it handles sexual assault, and it’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This Thursday morning at 8, we’ll be talking about how UNM can do a better job of helping students who’ve been assaulted—and stopping this kind of violence on campus.

Students, we want to hear from you. What needs to change? How can trust be rebuilt between students and the university?

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

It’s been about a year since the Department of Justice released the results of its investigation into how New Mexico’s flagship university handles sexual assault cases. The federal report was heavily critical and said assault and harassment have caused students to leave the University of New Mexico. Last night, students stood in solidarity with survivors.

Marla Brose / Albuquerque Journal

Two former Albuquerque police officers are facing murder charges for what could be the first time here. The effectiveness of the SWAT team in dangerous situations has come into play during the trial, and police who were there the day James Boyd was shot in 2014 have been testifying in court. It’s the first time the public has heard directly from many of these officers. 

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  The U.S. Department of Justice said in a court filing last week that it’s unconstitutional to keep people behind bars just because they can’t afford to pay bail. Some bail bondsmen in New Mexico argue people in poverty shouldn’t be allowed to skirt the law.

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There are 13 federal prisons around the United States that are run by private companies. One of them is in New Mexico. And today the Department of Justice said it’s going to stop using corporations to run federal prisons.

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The Department of Justice has scrutinized just two universities in the country about campus assault and harassment: The University of Montana and the University of New Mexico. Results of the DOJ probe in Montana were revealed in May 2013. The findings letter for UNM came out at the end of April this year.

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There’s expectation in the air when students go off to college—an expectation of independence and learning—and even safety. But for many people on campuses around the country who experience sexual assault or harassment, the illusion of safety can fall away. Now, the federal government has begun looking at why.

DOJ Report on UNM Sexual Violence Policies

May 23, 2016

Sun. 5/22 7p: In this show, we discuss the Department of Justice’s 37-page report on UNM’s handling of sexual assault on campus. We will hear from May Sagbakken of the Rape Crisis Center of Central New Mexico, students and Cathy Cook from Students for Reproductive Justice. We discuss the report and what resources are available for all survivors of sexual violence. 

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The White House has been calling for college campuses to better protect students from sexual assault. And last year a task force presented recommendations for what should change. But universities across the country may be struggling to keep up. We checked in on how the University of New Mexico is faring—and one way technology might help.

Rita Daniels

Members of the board tasked with overseeing policy changes for the Albuquerque Police Department are concerned that public trust in the department is eroding.

APD Critics Hopeful About Reform Agreement

Jun 3, 2015
Rita Daniels

A federal judge approved the U.S. Department of Justice’s agreement with Albuquerque to reform the city’s police department this week, which has made some critics of APD hopeful. An investigation revealed that APD engaged in a pattern of unconstitutional policing and use of excessive force.

District Judge Robert C. Brack said the months of negotiations between the city and the Department of Justice were fair and honest.

Substance abuse treatment is not available for everyone who needs it in New Mexico, and this shortage is at the root of some tragic altercations with police.

Mike Gomez met me in a park in Albuquerque, holding a framed photo of his son Alan. “He was a good kid, a normal kid,” he said. “He graduated high school on time. He was a Little League All-Star.”

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