Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The future of APS' Police Force is on the line

APS is pushing legislation, link, that will enable the board to certify their own police "department".  Currently they run a police "force".

The justification; that only as a police department, can they really guarantee the safety of our children at school, is unsupported.

They would have legislators believe that only as a police department, can they train themselves to deal with students.  In any other setting but a legislative hearing room, if ask them if the APS Police force is doing a great job protecting students, they will tell you they have the best trained police officers anywhere.

The really important thing to understand is; in allowing this school board to establish their own police department, it means they will not be overseen by the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office.  There will be no external oversight over their conduct and competence.

As is, Sheriff Dan Houston commissions APS' police officers.  Without his commissions, they are security officers not police officers.  He is in a position to insist that they comply with certain standards or forfeit his certification.

Houston has allowed the leadership of the APS to hide evidence of felony criminal misconduct before his time.  He says all the records disappeared about the time Darren White left office.

White's Deputies, and by logical extension White himself, had been complicit in a felonious abuse of the NCIC criminal data base by senior APS administrators doing background searches on a number of APS whistleblowers , and a Deputy Supt's fiancee.

For as long as APS' police force is accountable to Houston, APS is clearly prohibited from ever again, being the sole self-investigators of their own felony criminal misconduct, and creating such a blatant appearance of conflicts of interests.

While Houston is overseer;

  • h. Any report of a crime which may be determined to be a felony offense, excluding property crimes, shall be promptly reported to and investigated by BCSD or APD.
  • i. All crimes which may be determined to be felony offenses, including property crimes, shall be documented utilizing a New Mexico State Uniform Police Report...
  • j. Any evidence collected by APS police in relation to any crime that may be determined to be a felony, excluding property crimes, shall be submitted to BCSD or APD for tagging and safe keeping.
When the APS School Board becomes the only overseer over their own police force, their Praetorian Guard, they will again have the authority to be sole self-investigators.  And, more importantly, the opportunity to hide their findings from criminal prosecutors.  The opportunity to abuse power without consequence, corrupts, absolutely.

Would they do such a thing?

They are doing such a thing right now.  They're hiding ethical redactions of finding of at least three investigations into felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators.  The scandal was reported in the Journal, link.

The Journal reported that cash had been moved from evidence to petty cash and spent without record keeping; a violation of state statutes and a fourth degree felony.  The Journal reported that (NCIC) criminal background checks had been done (on whistleblowers) and on Dept Supt Tom Savage's fiancee; a federal crime and a felony.

The Journal never followed up.

The bill reads;
Police officers employed by a district) may enforce all applicable laws on school district property. emphasis added
There is no justification for allowing officers discretion in which applicable laws they will enforce.  It creates the opportunity and therefore the pressure to compel officers to turn their backs on administrative and executive criminal misconduct.

The legislation would legitimizes;
oversight by the local school board and superintendent.
Its OK for the fox to guard the henhouse.

The bill will authorize;
The superintendent of a school district, pursuant to authority granted by the local school board, may employ and assign duties to police officers for the school district.

It will give Winston Brooks the power to order a publicly funded private police force, a Praetorian Guard, to arrest any citizen whose free exercise of their Constitutionally protected human rights to free speech and to petition their government, makes him or any member of the board feel in anyway uncomfortable, like;
why won't you produce ethically redacted findings of felony public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS Police force?

So basically, same old, same old.

photos Mark Bralley

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