Last week, Mayor Tim Keller announced his intention to accept and sign onto a Department of Justice grant agreement that will give the City of Albuquerque $9.7 million to fund an additional 40 police officers in our city. The funding is part of a larger federal effort to stop persistent violent crime that is occurring in cities like Albuquerque, with a particular focus on stopping gun violence. Separately, the Department of Justice has deployed 35 additional federal agents to Albuquerque to help local law enforcement identify, arrest, and seriously prosecute violent criminals. According to a recent article in the Albuquerque Journal, nearly three dozen arrests were made as part of this initiative between July 22 and August 31 in Albuquerque, mainly on gun- and drug-related charges.
In a letter to Mayor Tim Keller and City Councilors, the Chamber urged both the Mayor and the Council to sign the grant agreement, which has been hung up over language negotiations relating to the City’s “immigrant-friendly” policies and status. “The business community supports our local law enforcement agencies – including police departments and the D.A.’s Office – collaborating regularly with federal law enforcement agencies to identify serious criminals, arrest them, and prosecute them to the fullest extent,” the letter read. “A well-staffed and well-funded police department is key to that goal.”
This issue will be voted on at tonight’s City Council meeting.