On Wednesday, it was reported that 20 officers who serve on the Albuquerque Police Department’s (APD) Emergency Response Team (ERT) would be resigning from the team. However, they are not resigning from the force itself.
The move comes after a far-left counter-protest to a nonexistent event supposedly being put on by the New Mexico chapter of the Proud Boys, although sources close to the organization claim there was no protest originally planned at all that day.
According to Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association president Shaun Willoughby, the resignations from the ERT are because of the protest that happened on Civic Plaza over the weekend. According to KOB, “During the protest, officers said an armed man was taunting demonstrators, so APD field officers detained him. At the time of his detainment, the man was not charged.”
“APD officials later reversed that decision and put an officer on leave for the day to conduct an investigation. APD said there was a breakdown in the chain of command about whether charges would be pressed against the armed man.”
Seventeen officers, one lieutenant, and two sergeants resigned from the team that handles protests, according to Willoughby. The officers feel over-scrutinized, so they decided to take a stand together.
Willoughby says, “This comes down to a lack of trust,” adding that “They’re damned if they do, and they’re damned if they don’t.”
“They don’t feel supported here, and they don’t feel trust. 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,” Willoughby added.
However, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller’s APD spokesperson released the following statement:
“Chief Medina made it clear that we cannot have a breakdown in communication during critical incidents. We have worked hard to earn back the public’s trust. We will lose that trust if we resist accountability and culture change.”
“I think Mayor Keller needs to make a serious decision of what this police department’s priority structure is,” Willoughby said. “I think that he needs to carry that sentiment down to the police chief, so that your police officers feel supported.”
According to Willoughby, over 20 APD officers have quit the force altogether within the last two months, following an all-out assault on law enforcement during the legislative session earlier this year and Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller having social workers respond to some calls instead of officers. There have also been many proposals from the Albuquerque City Council to “defund” parts of APD.
“We are seeing a dramatic increase of Albuquerque police officers applying to go to other departments,” Willoughby said. “Morale, let’s not even talk about it because it doesn’t exist. There is no morale. Your Albuquerque police officers are absolutely miserable at work— nobody’s happy.”