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Berry Owns APD “Frankenstein”

Berry Owns APD “Frankenstein”

To say that Mayor Richard Berry owns the Frankenstein monster he has created would be an understatement.

My beloved police department is but a shell of the proud agency I joined 34 years ago.

While Albuquerque has grown tremendously in population since 1983, the APD has barely increased at all.

The last seven-and-a half-years have been disastrous for the APD in almost every way. To say that Mayor Richard Berry owns the Frankenstein monster he has created would be an understatement.

When Berry became mayor, he made three colossal mistakes which drove officers away.

First, Berry voided a legally signed contract with the police officers. Second, he got rid of retention bonuses for veteran officers, and third, he instituted a college requirement for new officers (but didn’t pay college wages).

Among the litany of mistakes Berry made in running APD, these three, done in the first year in office, stand out as the most ruinous for police staffing.

I don’t know if Berry purposely went out of his way to ruin the APD, or if he did it by accident. I suppose neither one is a good option. You could say he’s either a diabolical maniac or a bumbling idiot. I don’t think the 10,000 people who had their cars stolen last year in Albuquerque would care either way.

I did some research to show just how bad things have become at APD under the Berry administration.

Here’s what I found:

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Terminations 5 2 1 5 4 8 0 1
Resignations 18 15 14 22 24 39 18 2
Retirements 36 49 57 52 39 57 39 9
New Officers 39 28 32 17 53 34 93 24
Total Sworn 1065 1097 992 907 895 832 846 861
No. Authorized 1,100 1,100 1,100 1,100 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000

During the Berry years, APD has lost a whopping 490 officers to retirement and resignations. This is almost half of the current authorized force of 1,000 officers, a number that Berry has never been close to achieving.

Losing this many officers is a drain on our city. It cost millions of dollars to train those 490 officers, and yet they’re all gone.

During the same time, APD has graduated a meager 320 new officers, making for a deficit of 170 officers when compared to those who have left.

You can’t grow a police department when you have more officers leaving than are being hired, yet Berry seems oblivious to APD’s issues.

I have been told that 2017 is going to be another big year for retirements and resignations. As it stands now, it doesn’t appear that APD will come anywhere close to the 100 officers they were hoping to hire this year.

I could put up a graph that shows how crime has risen during this same time period, but you live here, you already know. There is a direct correlation between a dwindling police force and a rising crime rate, and everyone but Berry seems to know this.

I do believe that under new leadership, APD will turn this around. I only hope that voters remember Richard Berry and what he has done, if he ever runs for political office again.

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Dan Klein

Dan Klein is a retired Albuquerque police sergeant. Reach him via Facebook and Twitter via @dankleinabq.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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