ALBUQUERQUE, NM – All but three of the 456 APD officers who responded to a police union survey said morale within their department is “low,” and many added comments saying morale is at an “all-time low.”
When asked what the mayor should do to improve APD, at least 80 officers – 18 percent of those who responded – said he should bring in the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate APD.
Union officials hired a private company in September that sent out the 25-question survey to each of its roughly 900 members. The survey’s aim was to take the pulse of rank and file police officers on “how they felt about all the things that are going on within their department, with the media, with protests, with all of those things,” Albuquerque Police Officers Association President Greg Weber said at a news conference Tuesday.
APD’s problems have been the focus of intense media scrutiny for more than two years. Among the issues: 25 men shot, 17 fatally and most of them Hispanic and in their 20s or 30s, since 2010; several officers fired over use of force incidents; other types of misconduct that netted lesser punishments; a union scandal involving potentially misspent dues money and payments of up to $500 for officers involved in shootings; and millions of dollars in taxpayer money spent on defending police officers and paying people who have sued APD.
The Justice Department has been considering since last summer whether to launch a civil rights investigation into APD. The DOJ has not yet announced its plans.
The union survey found that the majority officers aren’t happy about the job the APOA has been doing, either, although Weber did not provide specific figures on that finding.
“They do not feel that we have been representing them in the way that we should be,” Weber said. “The officers feel that they have lost their voice.”
He called the 99 percent low morale response “staggering” and said union leaders hope the survey will be a “wake-up call to our leaders.”
Among the survey’s other findings:
Berry did not respond to a request for comment.
Schultz in an email declined to comment on the survey’s findings, saying he hadn’t seen the results. The chief said he was “extremely disappointed” that union leaders told him they planned to release the results to the media just 90 minutes before Tuesday’s news conference.
Union leaders “know that my office is always open to discuss any issues of concern they may have,” Schultz wrote in the email. “I look forward to discussing the survey in detail with them to include the methodology utilized in the survey.”