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Special: Policing in 2020 and Beyond

This week features a New Mexico in Focus Special: Policing in 2020 and Beyond.

New Mexico is dealing with difficult times, from economic struggles, to a worldwide pandemic and civil and political unrest. The COVID-19 outbreak has laid bare many systemic failures here in New Mexico, often revolving around the issue of racial inequality. This week on a New Mexico in Focus special, we lean into these challenges with candid conversations about just one such example, reforming policing.

Here in Albuquerque, the issue has been front and center for years, as the city entered into a Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) with the department of Justice back in 2014 after a series of high-profile police shootings.

True reform of the Albuquerque Police Department starts with asking the tough questions and being willing to have difficult conversations. That’s what we intend to do this week, by breaking the issue down into four distinct discussions:

1) DOJ Consent Decree – Where do we stand today? Have we made any progress in the last 6 years?

2) Black Lives Matter Movement – Recent protests have kept the issue of police brutality in the headlines, but are they enough to move the needle on true reform?

3) Legal issues – The state has now created a civil right commission to study the issue of qualified immunity, which makes it hard to bring legal action against corrupt officers and their employers. But will it lead to any real changes?

4) Behavioral Health – Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller wants to create a new Department of Community Safety, which would shift some emergency calls to behavioral health specialists, homeless advocates and social workers instead of armed officers. But will it work, and does it address the need for culture change in the APD?

These are by no means the definitive conversations on these issues, but it is a start. We will be following up in future episodes with more voices and more discussions.

Host: Gene Grant

In Focus Interviews:
Dr. Thom Allena, Community & Organizational Psychologist
Laquonte Barry, Black New Mexico Movement Organizer
Sean Cardinalli, Truth to Power New Mexico Dr. Finnie Coleman, American Literacy Studies Associate Professor, UNM Department of English
Reed Easterwood, Lawyer & Activist
Wayne Lindstrom, V.P. of the Western U.S., RI International, Inc.
Kate Lynnes, Mental Healthcare Advocate
Alfred Mathewson, Professor Emeritus, UNM Law School
Marshal Ray, Criminal Defense & Civil Rights Lawyer
Peter Simonson, Executive Director, ACLU New Mexico
Steve Torres, APD Forward
Renetta Torres, Activist
Frazier Wilson, Clinical Social Worker

The Line Opinion Panel:
(No Line panel this week)