New Mexico is dealing with difficult times, from economic struggles to a worldwide pandemic and civil and political unrest. The COVID-19 outbreak has laid bare many systemic failures here in New Mexico, often revolving around the issue of racial inequality. This week on a New Mexico in Focus special, we lean into these challenges with candid conversations about just one such example, reforming policing.
Here in Albuquerque, the issue has been front and center for years, as the city entered into a Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) with the Department of Justice back in 2014 after a series of high-profile police shootings.
True reform of the Albuquerque Police Department starts with asking the tough questions and being willing to have difficult conversations. That’s what we intend to do this week, by breaking the issue down into four distinct discussions:
1.) DOJ Consent Decree – Where do we stand today? Have we made any progress in the last six years?
2.) Black Lives Matter Movement – Recent protests have kept the issue of police brutality in the headlines, but are they enough to move the needle on true reform?
3.) Legal issues – The state has now created a civil right commission to study the issue of qualified immunity, which makes it hard to bring legal action against corrupt officers and their employers. But will it lead to any real changes?
4.) Behavioral Health – Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller wants to create a new Department of Community Safety, which would shift some emergency calls to behavioral health specialists, homeless advocates and social workers instead of armed officers. But will it work, and does it address the need for culture change in the APD?
These are by no means the definitive conversations on these issues, but it is a start. We will be following up in future episodes with more voices and more discussions.
New Mexico in Focus is involved, informed, in-depth media airing weekly on New Mexico PBS. The program debuts Friday nights at 7 p.m. on NMPBS 5.1 (KNME-HD) and appears online shortly thereafter. The show rebroadcasts on NMPBS 5.1 (KNME-HD) Sundays at 7 a.m. and on NMPBS 9.1 (WORLD) on Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.
In Focus Interviews
- Dr. Thom Allena, community & organizational psychologist
- Laquonte Barry, Black New Mexico Movement organizer
- Sean Cardinalli, Truth to Power New Mexico
- Dr. Finnie Coleman, associate professor, American Literacy Studies, UNM Department of English
- Reed Easterwood, lawyer & activist
- Wayne Lindstrom, vice president, Western U.S., RI International, Inc.
- Kate Lynnes, mental healthcare advocate
- Alfred Mathewson, Professor Emeritus, UNM School of Law
- Marshal Ray, criminal defense & Civil Rights Lawyer
- Peter Simonson, executive director, ACLU New Mexico
- Steve Torres, APD Forward
- Renetta Torres, activist
- Frazier Wilson, clinical social worker
The Line Opinion Panel (no panel this week)
New Mexico in Focus is the New Mexico PBS prime-time news magazine show covering the events, issues, and people that are shaping life in New Mexico and the Southwest. NMiF takes a multi-layered look at social, political, economic health, education, and art issues, and explores them in-depth with a critical eye to give them context beyond the “news of the moment.”
The producer of New Mexico in Focus is Matt Grubs, with Kathy Wimmer, associate producer. The NM PBS Public Affairs executive producer is Kevin McDonald.
The McCune Charitable Foundation provides NMiF funding, along with viewers like you.
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