ALBUQUERQUE – The results of a recent online survey of some Albuquerque residents show reducing violent crime and police reforms should be among the top priorities for the city’s next police chief.
The city released the results Wednesday, saying nearly 2,300 responses were submitted. The city also made public a list of the 39 people who have submitted applications for the position, noting that not all of them met the qualifications set forth in the job description
Albuquerque officials have held more than 40 community meetings over the last two months focused on the search and will be identifying those candidates most in sync with the community’s priorities as the selection process continues, said Mike Puelle, who serves as Mayor Tim Keller’s chief of staff.
According to the city, communication, leadership by example and accountability were the attributes most valued by the survey respondents.
Those qualifications considered as very important by a majority of respondents included experience with reducing use of force and procedural justice, crisis management and knowledge of crime prevention and law enforcement strategies. The top priorities identified by respondents included reducing violent crime, protecting civil rights and improved training for officers.
City officials said they will work with community advocates, law enforcement professionals and business leaders to identify the applicants with the qualities needed to move forward for consideration.
Albuquerque was put in the spotlight earlier this year when President Donald Trump announced it was one of several cities in the U.S. where federal agents would be sent to help combat crime. For years, violent crime, vehicle thefts and shootings had plagued the city.
The police department this week highlighted its efforts to curb property crime, saying there has been a reduction in auto theft of 39% between 2017 and 2019. It also announced earlier this month that it was adding staff members to its homicide unit.
Police officials also touted a recent report released by the Major Cities Chiefs Association that showed Albuquerque was one of only two cities that did not experience a spike in violent crime during the coronavirus pandemic.
Aside from addressing crime, the next chief will have to deal with court-mandated reforms and a federal monitor who has been tracking the effort.