The police department in Albuquerque, New Mexico has a big problem on its hands.
Reports indicate that nearly two dozen Albuquerque police officers have resigned from the department’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) after one of their colleagues was put on leave as a result of their actions at a recent protest.
According to the local KOB 4, the resignations include one lieutenant, two sergeants, and 17 officers, all of whom will remain with the department but will no longer serve on its specialized protest response team.
Another 20 officers were said to have stepped down from the department altogether over the last two months, KOB 4 reports.
“They don’t feel supported”
According to KOB 4, the series of resignations from the department’s ERT stemmed from an incident involving “an armed man” who was said to be “taunting demonstrators.” The man was detained, but says he was never charged with a crime.
An officer was subsequently placed on leave over the incident.
The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) described the situation as a “breakdown in the chain of command,” according to the Washington Examiner. Other officers, however, seemed to place the blame on leadership.
According to Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association president Shaun Willoughby, the situation left officers on the emergency response team and elsewhere in the APD feeling unsupported and “second-guessed.”
“They don’t feel supported here, and they don’t feel trust,” he told KOB 4. “They feel second-guessed, and they don’t feel that they can do their job, no matter how perfect they do their job, without getting in trouble.”
Notably, the APD has run into trouble in the past. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice found that the police department had violated federal law by engaging “in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force.” As a result, the APD is required to undergo biannual reviews, as the Examiner notes.
Between a lack of support from both local leaders and federal officials, it’s no wonder law enforcement officers are leaving Albuquerque in droves.
“Morale, let’s not even talk about it because it doesn’t exist,” Willoughby told KOB 4. “There is no morale. Your Albuquerque police officers are absolutely miserable at work — nobody’s happy.”