"[F]ewer beat cops are taking more calls and say they're swamped. City Councilor Brad Winter is right to request a list of officers and assignments to help ensure the policing workload is distributed and the troops deployed in the most equitable and efficient manner possible." - ABQ Journal (Subscription Required)The Journal has in essence, taken the position that we have here.
"We can sit around and argue numbers all day long, but that doesn't change the fact that APD will take longer to get to you when you really need them. All of the excuses - like having to respond to burglary calls, 10-44's (accidents without injuries), and animal in danger calls - don't change the fact that we are not getting the police protection that we are paying for. - The EyeWho's responsible for the decline in response times, and the failure to be able to keep and even increase officers in the field? For an answer, follow the chain of command. The chain over at APD ends not on the 5th Floor of the city/county law enforcement center, but on the 11th floor of city hall. In fact, if you follow it link by link you'll find yourself sitting in Marty's chair.
We believe in elected officials being able to choose the people that work around them. They are elected to exercise their judgment; and they in turn should be judged by their choices. In the Mayor's case, he gets to choose the leader of APD. He also has the authority to remove a police chief if he feels that it's necessary or politically expedient (See Chief Gallegos). Therefore, if there's a problem on the 5th floor, Marty should feel the weight of that chain pulling at him until he has taken the appropriate steps to correct the problem.
Unfortunately, Mayors of Albuquerque have traditionally gotten a pass when it comes to problems over at APD - from the media and from all of us. The Chavez administration has been little different.
Organizations tend to take on the attributes of their leaders. There's no doubt that Marty has higher ambitions. There's no doubt that he is extremely media conscious. And there's absolutely no doubt that he is constantly trying to build a legacy. Is it any surprise then, that the 5th floor is so politically driven?
We've said it before and we'll keep saying it until it's no longer true... APD has a problem. The power and the responsibility to fix those problems lay with Mayor Marty and NO ONE ELSE. However, Marty is preoccupied with building a legacy (trolleys, arenas, pandas) to propel him to higher office, rather than fulfilling the first duty of any Mayor... keeping our city free of crime.
If Marty continues down the path that he has thus far chosen to tread, he will have a legacy of shiny new city toys and a police department characterized by poor performance and low morale. The responsibility will be his and his alone.