- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 15, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The Albuquerque Police Department plans to boost its ranks and move more detectives from police headquarters to neighborhoods under a major reorganization that comes as part of a court-mandated study into staffing at the troubled agency, officials said Tuesday.

The restructuring expected to begin early next year would move more than 80 officers from APD’s downtown headquarters to six neighborhood substations, Police Chief Gorden Eden said.

In addition, officers assigned to the six command areas would have to commit to their posts for three years, instead of just one.

The longer assignments are meant to improve community policing practices that the U.S. Justice Department deemed inadequate last year after a federal investigation into a “culture of aggression” among Albuquerque police.

“This is not new to police work,” Eden said about community policing. “You can’t treat it like a program, it has to become a philosophy of the police department.”

Eden, who became chief in early 2014, said the planned restructuring would be the first for the department in more than a decade. The plan must be submitted to the Justice Department before it is implemented.

He also said the yearlong study by an independent consultant that found work schedules for officers were inefficient confirmed some of his own concerns about the structuring of the force.

Alexander Weiss, a national policing consultant from Chicago, conducted the $72,000 study into staffing and resource levels within APD. He said there are too many levels within the chain of command and the department is top-heavy with management.

Even within specialized units, the analysis found a lack of accountability, Weiss said.

He also determined APD was significantly understaffed with about 850 sworn officers and fewer than half of the force working in the field.

Weiss said the number of officers within the department should be closer to 1,000 officers - a staffing level that Eden said he hopes is reached in two years.

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