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Albuquerque Police Department reformers ask for deadline extension in first steps


ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — The parties responsible for reforming the Albuquerque Police Department have asked for the first deadlines in the process to be pushed back, but the groups say they can still attain the major performance requirements in the four-year agreement.

The reform is meant to address a U.S. Department of Justice investigation that found a pattern of excessive force and a culture of aggression within the police department.

The first deadlines have already passed, and the city, the DOJ, the Albuquerque police union and the monitoring team are asking U.S. District Judge Robert C. Brack for a seven-month delay, The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1NGYOus).

Albuquerque City Attorney Jessica Hernandez said the delay is needed because Brack didn't sign off on the reform deal until seven months after the agreement was filed in November, and the independent monitoring team didn't begin its work until June.

Hernandez said those working to reform the department are only looking to extend deadlines that were originally set at 18 months or less.

"It's one of the more aggressive timelines that the DOJ has in any of the cities that it is working," she said. Extending the deadlines "won't change the four-year end date."

Hernandez said the new deadlines will go into effect unless the judge rules against them.

The monitor should have published the first report on APD's progress with reforms, and the APD should have provided its own status update under the initial deadlines set in the agreement. The first report is now expected to be made public in November with the city's response due the following month, Hernandez said.

According to city documents, Albuquerque police have spent more than $1.9 million in response to the DOJ investigation in fiscal year 2015, which ended June 30.

Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com

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