Wayne Johnson said APD's use-of-force policy is “unworkable, a drain on officer resources, and potentially dangerous to officers..."
Calling the city’s police department reform settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice “disastrous,” mayoral candidate Wayne Johnson said he’d try to renegotiate the agreement so that it deals only with excessive use of force cases.
“The Court-Approved Settlement Agreement is overly broad and burdensome. It covers everything from recruitment to public engagement, to use of force and is largely subjective,” said Johnson’s crime-fighting plan, which was released Aug. 21, said.
“The path forward requires a renegotiation of the settlement agreement with the intent of narrowing the focus to the DOJ findings of excessive force and most importantly creating clear, objective performance measures.”
Johnson, a Bernalillo County commissioner, said APD’s use-of-force policy created under the CASA is “unworkable, a drain on officer resources, and potentially dangerous to officers, suspects and the public. We must rewrite the use-of-force policy so that it takes into account real world conditions. For example, simply handcuffing a resisting suspect should not be considered a use of force.”
Johnson’s crime-fighting plan, which is posted below, has five major elements:
— Hiring more police officers and working with other law enforcement agencies to identify the worst repeat criminal offenders and get them off the streets. “The goal will be to identify the 20 percent of criminals who commit 80 percent of the crime and send them to prison where they belong,” Johnson’s plan said. “It doesn’t matter where or who incarcerates these repeat offenders. What matters is that these proven dangerous individuals find a new home in a state or federal prison.”
— Renegotiating the settlement agreement with the DOJ.
— Creating a healthy work environment at APD by empowering officers. “Command staff will be responsible for setting mission parameters, but they will also need to step out of the way and allow those officers in the field to utilize their judgment and creativity to fulfill those mission parameters,” Johnson’s plan said. “Command micromanagement leads to paralysis in a paramilitary organization as it creates a culture of distrust an suspicion.”
— Fixing a “broken” criminal justice system. “The 2nd Judicial District is broken. It has been broken for a long time,” Johnson’s plan said. “We must fix the broken pre-trial services program that is currently being misused by a criminal court system that places pre-trial release above public safety.”
— Creating a better behavioral health system. Johnson said he would work with the county to create a network of behavioral health providers that share data with law enforcement agencies and the courts.
Johnson added that until the city’s crime problem is solved, the area’s economy will continue to stagnate.
“Crime is inextricably linked to the prosperity of our community,” Johnson said. “Job creation, education, behavioral healthy, and our quality of life all depend upon a safe city. Public safety is the first responsibility of government. Once we can stamp out the crime fire burning across our city, we will have gone a long way to achieving the prosperity we all deserve.”