Around 5:30 Thursday night, I was on my way to the fairgrounds to volunteer at a booth. Going south on San Pedro from Lomas, the car in front of me suddenly stopped when a police man jumped out from behind an unmarked car with a radar gun. Several other cars had also been pulled over.

It surprised me, because the guy didn’t seem to be going fast. I pulled into a lot to park and walked down the street to find a small paper speed limit sign “25 mph” taped over the regular “35 mph” speed limit sign. Many of the drivers were probably on their normal commute down San Pedro and didn’t even see the new sign.

I parked and walked over to the police officers with the radar guns.
Jill: “Hi, what’s going on?”
Older Cop: “We’re stopping speeders because people need to slow down; the speed limit has been lowered for the fair.”
Jill: “That makes sense. It gets pretty congested up the road. But those 25 mph signs are really hard to notice. If the goal is to PREVENT collisions and protect pedestrians, why not put up a big sign near the beginning of the street that blinks, like they do for construction zones?”
Older Cop 1: That’s not our job. Talk to Your Mayor Marty about that; that’s his thing (sarcastic tone).
Younger Cop 2: “Hah, what do you want? Do you want us to put out clowns and balloons, too?”
He gets into my personal space with his arms back, chest pushed out like he wants to fight me.
Jill: (pretty shocked by the immediate snide comments and confrontational behavior) No, I wasn’t saying clowns and balloons. I’m just thinking it would be better and easier to stop people from speeding ahead of time instead of catching one out of thirty of them after the fact. In fact, even if you parked regular police cars here instead of marked cars, people would see them and be warned to slow down.”
Cop 1: We don’t want to warn them; we want to stop them.
Cop 2 to me: Ah, You’re just pissed off because you got stopped for speeding. People need to learn how to drive.
Jill: I agree with you about people “learning to drive,” and no, I *did not* get stopped and I wasn’t speeding!
Cop 2: Well, you’re just a fool like the rest of them.
Jill: You’re calling me a “fool”? How dare you call me – or anybody - names! This is pointless, what you’re doing is entrapment. You don’t seem to care about public safety at all.
Cop 1: Imitates me, laughs and jumps out in the street to stop another car.
Jill: You seem to be enjoying this.
Cop 1: We are. We’re enjoying it because we’re getting paid overtime. Ha ha! Overtime pay!
Jill: If you have any ideas about who I can talk to, maybe I can get them to put warning signs up so drivers will slow down before they get here.
Both cops mocking and imitating me.
Cop 1: You’re an idiot. Do you want to talk to my supervisor?
Jill: Did you just call me an IDIOT? Yes, I do want to talk to your supervisor.
(Cop calls him on the phone)
Supervisor shows up, strides over and immediately starts barking at me in a threatening manner. When I tried to speak, he broke in and asked me a question. When I tried to answer again, he’d interrupt to say “Huh? Huh? Huh?!” so I couldn’t talk. I was shocked and horrified at this point. If I’d been any more upset, or drunk or mentally unstable, I would have punched this guy in the face. This is exactly what my older brother used to do to me to turn me into a raving, violent lunatic.

Instead, I decided it would be best if I just walked away. I started to walk away and the younger cop lunged out and grabbed my arm and squeezed it hard.
Cop: Good, get lost.

Sure, I should have dropped it before I did. I let them get to me and I regret that. But why did they want to egg me on? How would things have been different if the first policeman had said, “Yeah, big warning signs would be good. I’ll pass that along. But radar guns are another intervention and we have to do everything we can to slow the traffic down here for the safety of pedestrians. I’m sure you can see that.” I would have walked away calmly at that point.

I’ve seen this macho, inciting response from police before; approaching homeless, intoxicated or mentally ill people, coming into the middle of a dispute, with an antagonistic, bullying “us and them” attitude and immediately escalating the situation. Several times, I’ve heard really offensive profanity and racist terms used by cops on arrival to a volatile situation. This has to stop.

There are other police officers who see and treat the public as human beings and take their jobs - preserving peace and public safety - seriously. They enter emotional situations with a calming, mediating presence. You feel right away that they are sensitive, intelligent leaders; that they are there to help and protect you and deserve your respect. These are not hard skills to learn. I have no idea how these good cops stomach working with the bad ones.

Instead of simply hiring hundreds more cops to “stop crime” in Albuquerque, I’d like to see resources put into improving training, raising standards, promoting good cops into leadership roles to train and mentor others, and raising pay to attract good candidates. More of the same is just scary.

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dont suppose you got a name or badge # ????
I got badge numbers, but promptly forgot them. It wouldn't be hard to identify which police were running the speed trap on San Pedro at 5:30, Thursday night. There was also a witness to the encounter; the guy selling parking spaces next door. He suggested I call Channel Seven news. I sent an email to Mayor Chavez. I will report it to Internal Affairs. Right now, though, I just want it behind me because it was very discouraging and exasperating.
That incident doesn't surprise me but it's still pretty disturbing...
Good thing they didn't shoot or taser you. That seems to be the APD response to every situation they are called to.
With elections coming up in two weeks, and Richard Romero saying that he would fire the chief, maybe now is the chance to affect some change on these happenings!
I hate to say it, Slick, but I wonder how things might have deteriorated if I had been a non-white male.
Man, sounds similar to a couple interactions I've had with APD. From many conversations with other Burquenos,it seems like this is more of the norm than them acting responsible and respectful. And then people wonder why so many dislike and feel threatened by APD.
I moved here from a smaller Florida city. What's amazing to me is that Pensacola, population about 80,000, requires all its police officers to have college degrees.

Of course a graduate would learn more about the criminal justice system and probably more of the "nuts and bolts" of the job. But the officer would also be exposed to new ideas and would probably have a more critical thought process. And requiring a degree could probably weed out some potential bad apples.

Salaries would have to be raised for more qualified police...but geez, these guys walk around with guns and have the power to lock people up. I wouldn't mind if they were more qualified.
APD officers get extensive paramilitary "boot camp" style training, but very little in the way of community policing or conflict resolution. Mayor Baca attempted to implement that kind of thing, but it was mostly wiped away (with strong police support) once Mayor Marty came back. The result is exactly the kind of us-and-them, intimidating, macho behavior you describe. There are no doubt lots of good officers on the force, but APD encourages a culture of tough-guy officers with a cops-and-robbers mentality who are mostly interested in confronting "bad guys" rather than maintaining public order or serving the citizens of Albuquerque.
Techniques in mediation and diffusion of emotional situations are easily taught. When I worked as a salesperson at a store and an angry customer approached me, I learned to say, "I don't blame you for feeling that way. Let's see how we can make this right." It works immediately almost all of the time.

Police regularly are called to situations that involve frightened, angry, drunk or mentally unstable people. In their roles as public servants with the intention of keeping the peace and protecting public safety, it would make sense for them to know how to diffuse heated situations instead of to incite them. This is important even if they are just concerned about protecting their own safety.

I approached these officers in a calm, respectful way. They immediately responded in a defensive, confrontational manner with the apparent goal to anger and incite me, which they succeeded in doing, unfortunately. I have no idea who this serves. I have seen it before.

I have also seen and interacted with APD officers who are respectful, have a calming manner and sincerely want to help people. I have no idea how these "good" cops manage to survive working alongside the macho, arrogant, "us and them" cops on the force.

I updated my account and added some details and reported it online to APD internal affairs.

In the interest of full disclosure:
I wasn't walking away when the officer grabbed my arm. I was walking toward the supervisor's car after he had stopped in the parking lot. The cop who grabbed me claimed that he was keeping me from being hit by a car. The patrol car had already stopped.
I called them "jackasses" as I left, and then he said, "Good, get lost."

I live right near there and noticed the same problem with that speed trap. I didn't see a sign until *after* rolling past the cop with the radar gun (bit unnerving knowing you're being tagged but not knowing how slow you're supposed to be going in the first place).

Thanks for speaking up initially and for following-up in response to their behavior. went looking for a fight, and you are surprised that a fight is what you got?

I assume you knew APD didn't put the 25 mph sign up, right? And you didn't get a ticket because of this sign, right? So...just why did you go up to these cops?

The cop was right, if you think you had legitimate concerns you should have expressed them to traffic engineering, or the mayors office, or have called 311. That apparently isn't what you wanted, though, you wanted to pick a fight.

Congratulations on getting what you wanted.
No, that's not right. As JMG explained, she walked up calmly, and, in my perspective, did not come up to the cops acting confrontational or irrational. She has every right to do that and shouldn't feel like she doesn't have the right to question the actions of someone who's job is supported by their taxpayers dollars. That's where the serve in "serve and protect" comes in. If you would have read her comments as well, you would have seen that she noted that she's had prior conversations with police that were civil and respectful. I'm assuming she was expecting the same from this conversation.


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