Police Complaints

APD claims to have lost every single video from the Prisoner Transport Center

A local police oversight activist was recently researching a citizen’s claim of excessive force. The activist made an IPRA demand to inspect the surveillance video taken on a particular day at the Prisoner Transport Unit, where arrestees are processed before being transported to the jail. He had hoped to see video evidence supporting or disproving the citizen’s claims.

The police department claims to have lost that video. Incredibly, they claim to have lost every single video taken at the PTU before August 8, 2012. Here is their response:

From: Chavez, Reynaldo L. [mailto:chavezr@cabq.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 1:23 PM
To: XXXXXXXX
Cc: Bailey, Amy B.
Subject: IPRA/ All Video Recordings from the Prisoner Transport Unit on July 27, 2012. (COMPLETED 08 28 12)

Mr. XXXXXXX,

From the PTU [Prisoner Transport Unit] Lt.

The PTC DVTEL Video System had a critical failure during a power outage on Aug 2nd which caused the system to crash and lose all archived video. The system was down for 6 days and repaired on August 8th. The only video I have on the system is from Aug 8th to present. I do not have video from July 27th.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Kind regards,

Reynaldo L. Chavez
APD Records Custodian/Records Supervisor
Office (505)768-2007
Cell: (505) 235-2160
Fax: (505) 768-2540
chavezr@cabq.gov

If the data loss is as extensive as this email seems to suggest—apparently every single archived video before August 8 has been destroyed—then the APD needs to take immediate steps to recover the data. This will require hiring data forensic experts to locate the lost files before they are completely overwritten by new files. An audit of APD’s data retention and backup policies also should be begun immediately.

This is an outrageous destruction of public records, records that could be used as evidence in prosecuting hundreds of criminal cases—or used to document police misconduct at the Prisoner Transport Center.