Officials call for Police Oversight Comm. overhaul

Posted at: 01/27/2013 9:24 PM
Updated at: 01/27/2013 10:23 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A city group in charge of investigating complaints against Albuquerque police may be in for a major makeover.

A recent, explosive meeting is adding to the effort to bring about changes to the Police Oversight Commission in Albuquerque.

It was supposed to be another opportunity for residents to voice their complaints about the Albuquerque Police Department.

But a Dec. 13 Commission meeting went awry when commissioner rearranged discussion items on the meeting agenda.

That meant public comment wasn’t allowed when it came to allegations of conflict of interest regarding then-Chairwoman Linda Martinez.

Officers even removed one man from the meeting at the request of Martinez.

The Albuquerque City Council appoints Commission members.

Council President Dan Lewis and Councilor Don Harris said they hope proposed changes to the Commission will prevent similar incidents from happening again.

In part, they want to clear up commission meeting rules regarding public comment.

"Right now, there's been a lot of concerns and we're trying to make a systemic change to the police oversight process so that going forward we can restore that faith," said Don Harris.

Harris and Lewis will introduce proposals at the council’s Feb. 4 meeting asking to implement seven of 25 recommendations from a 2011 independent study on the oversight commission.

One recommendation is for the Commission’s Independent Review Office to be provided with an analyst to monitor citizen complaints.

None of the commission members would talk on the issue Sunday.

The city plans on holding public forums about the commission in the coming months.