Police Complaints: Pc News

"Unfounded" vs "Not Sustained" (corrected)

At last week’s POC meeting, commissioners reviewed a citizen complaint alleging that an APD officer had behaved rudely. The IRO called the complaint “unfounded” because the preponderance of evidence did not support the claim. Commissioner Siegel suggested a more appropriate finding would be “Not Sustained” but IRO Hammer repeated that “Unfounded” was the correct finding.

We believe that Mr Siegel had the better of that disagreement. In fact, a proper finding might even be “Exonerated”.

Calling a complaint “Unfounded” is only appropriate (Correction: See comments below) when a citizen makes a claim that, even if true, would not be a violation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). For example, a complaint that an officer was chewing gum would be unfounded since there is no SOP (that we know of) that prohibits gum-chewing. In this case, the citizen claimed rudeness, which is a violation of SOP (1-04-1-F), but the evidence disproved the claim.

Therefore, the finding should have been “Exonerated”.

(UPDATE: This story has been corrected. See comments.)

Police now required to video-record almost all citizen encounters

Police Chief Ray Shultz has issued an order requiring the use of video cameras in almost all police-citizen contacts. The new order is extremely broad and would appear to generate a lot of new work for police officers. Officers are warned that discipline may result from failure to record a citizen contact, even one that does not result in an arrest and is not anticipated to lead to a citizen complaint.

According to the new order, issued May 4, 2012, all Albuquerque police officers must now record “each and every contact with a citizen” that results from:

  • a dispatched call for service
  • an arrest warrant
  • a search warrant
  • a traffic stop

Text of the order follows. You can also download the Special Order: Use of Lapel Cameras

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