Morning Fix: Born in Arizona, Moved to Babylonia

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Comment by Benny the Icepick on February 10, 2014 at 7:45am

Oh boy.  I know exactly what kind of comments to expect on the duping-the-welfare-system story.

Comment by Dee Cohen on February 10, 2014 at 8:47am

There should be many repercussions on Omaree's death. He'd lived with a loving aunt who begged CYFD not to give him back to his mother but they did anyway. He was brave enough to tell a teacher who called protective services- then they interviewed both the mother & child together so he got scared and changed his mind. More poor protocol.Then the cops let the adults off the hook after that horrendously abusive 911 call. How many chances did they have to save him and didn't?

Comment by Hunter on February 10, 2014 at 9:28am

Over the years I have observed many high profile occurrences that have spurred lawmakers into "feel good" legislation.  I say "feel good" because in many instances the act ultimately passed, in in effect at the time, would not have prevented the instigating event.  HB 333, billed as a child protection measure, focuses on specific "evidence of abuse".  Based on the video of the June 911 response, I see none of these markers on Omaree.  It has also been noted that he was not crying.  My guess, he learned long ago that crying only resulted in further abuse.  There is nothing in the bill that requires any policies by police agencies, only on CYFD.  As I read it, under this bill, APD would still not have had cause to notify CYFD.  How would this bill, if in effect last June, have changed the outcome of the APD response?

Comment by once banned twice shy on February 10, 2014 at 9:37am

You make good points about the bill, Hunter, but regarding APD's response to that 911 call--they didn't listen to the call even though the dispatcher urged them that they needed to listen to that call before going into the house.  Do you think their investigation might have changed had they listened to the call?  Many balls dropped in that poor boy's case.  One wonders how many other balls are being dropped...

And I am all for banning texting and driving, but there are two problems:  one, the fine is too low.  No one is worried about being fined $25.  The second problem is lack of enforcement.  Sanchez is being ridiculous, thinking that cops will pull people over for glancing down.  The cops don't pull people over for talking on the mobile phone   without a hands-free device--what makes him think the cops will pull someone over for texting? 

Comment by Hunter on February 10, 2014 at 10:20am

obts - That's what I'm getting at, even if APD listened to the call, when they arrive at the scene there are no visual signs of abuse or emotional trauma.  What then, would be their authority to remove the child or contact CYFD?   The statistics are pretty clear that children aren't being protected in New Mexico.  Here in Albuquerque, under the HEART ordinance, animals have more rights and are offered more protection than children. 

Comment by Phil_0 on February 10, 2014 at 10:49am

While that may be technically the case, Hunter, if the two officers had done their due diligence, listened to the call, and reviewed the kid's casefile before heading out, it's unfathomable that they wouldn't have found evidence for abuse. The call itself is evidence for abuse - it is abuse - and if they'd even followed their dispatcher's instructions they'd have known that. Both APD and CYFD dropped the ball, repeatedly, and there should be serious consequences. 

For my money, the elephant in the room is the fact that neither agency is staffed up to even the level their current, presumably inadequate, funding provides for. I suspect that under Martinez and Berry, returning allocated money to the general fund is seen as a sign of virtuous cost-cutting, rather than the failure to provide legally mandated services that it is.

Comment by Dee Cohen on February 10, 2014 at 1:15pm

There was enough emotional abuse on that 911 call to refer to CYFD. But the cops didn't even listen even though they were asked by the dispatcher at least twice. If CYFD heard the tape, then spoken to the boy (alone!), then checked him out physically and discovered all the old bruises, burn marks, bites on him, maybe he would have been placed back with his aunt.

Comment by once banned twice shy on February 10, 2014 at 3:20pm

I suspect that under Martinez and Berry, returning allocated money to the general fund is seen as a sign of virtuous cost-cutting, rather than the failure to provide legally mandated services that it is.

Ding, ding, ding--we have a winner!

Comment by ramon t on February 10, 2014 at 4:11pm

Can anyone lead me to info on what funding for staffing levels are for APD?  Also, what historic levels are?  A very quick search lead me to Councilor Don Harris' website that makes mention that at times between 2009-2011 APD has reached 1000 officers but is down around the mid 900's, where it has been for the last decade.  His site mentions that the staffing levels are near average for similar cities in the region.

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