Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Conceptually, APD reform could not be simpler.

Conceptually, reform of any agency of government could not simpler;

  • Identify appropriate and meaningful standards of conduct and competence, and then
  • enforce them ruthlessly.
There are, in the known universe, meaningful standards of conduct and competence for police departments and police officers.  If there are not, then there is the problem.

The standards are clear and equivocal.  They are high enough to protect the public interests in the APD.

There is not the will to find those standards and then enforce them ruthlessly.

The problem is that it isn't possible to create a system that holds (future) politicians and public servants accountable for their misconduct and incompetence, that does not also hold accountable current office and position holders for their past incompetence and corruption.  Their incompetence and corruption is not going to be "grandfathered" in; they have no choice but to resist reform however surreptitiously.

If you really want to end any particular incompetence or corruption, all you have to do is create a place or opportunity for complaints alleging incompetence and corruption to enjoy due process.

All you have to do is to create a place or opportunity where the least powerful can file complaints against the most powerful and those complaints will be adjudicated honestly.

One of the accoutrements of power is the opportunity to self investigate allegations of your own incompetence or corruption.  The Albuquerque Police Department has "internal affairs", and the leadership of the APS has RCI, link

Every good ol' boy oligarchy in government has some way of keeping a lid on the truth about incompetence and corruption in their domain; whether it be their own or their subordinates'.

If there is corruption, the guilt falls first on the corrupt.  It should fall next on the politician or public servant whose own corruption or incompetence enabled the subordinate's corruption to take place.

It doesn't.

If you give people the opportunity to cover up their own failure to hold subordinates accountable, they will.  Consider the cover up of the corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS Police force.  APS self investigated and then hid, and are still hiding the findings from the District Attorney.

Chief Tellez whispers in Winter's ear.
How often do you hear about a government official being held accountable for incompetence or corruption beneath them?  Is APS COO Brad Winter going to be held accountable for the circumstances that led his chief of police to believe he could misappropriate public property for his own use?

The solution to the problems in the APD, the APS, and every other agency of government that is abusing power, is to stop letting them control investigations and findings of their abuse.

The solution is truly independent and powerful investigations whose findings cannot be redacted by the subjects of the investigations.

photo Mark Bralley

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