Public Health New Mexico
3:03 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Three POC Members Resign

  Three members of Albuquerque’s Police Oversight Commission resigned yesterday, saying the commission lacks the ability to provide real oversight of the city’s police force.

Strongly worded resignation letters from Richard Shine, Jennifer Barela and Jonathan Siegel paint a picture of dysfunction in the city’s oversight process.

Shine’s letter recalled times when the commission’s authority was stunted as it tried to study the use of Tasers, as well as officer-involved shootings. He wrote that the City Attorney’s Office blocked those efforts.

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  Siegel said that the commission is expected to rubber stamp the Independent Review Officer’s decisions, and that she is fully aligned with APD’s Police Chief Gorden Eden. "With the IRO not at all independent, the work product of the POC is arguably suspect," he said.

But Review Officer Robin Hammer said she makes her decisions based on evidence, and that she has at times disagreed with all of the police chiefs she’s worked with.

Councilors Brad Winter and Rey Garduño introduced a measure to overhaul the POC, and it says current commissioners wouldn’t be allowed to serve on the next oversight entity.  Hammer said Shine, Barela and Siegel resigned so they can be on the coming version of the Police Oversight Commission. "I think it's reasonable to infer that these individuals are interested in being on future POCs, and as sitting members, they could not do that," she said.

So who is watching the watchmen? Three commissioners remain, and there are six empty seats.

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Richard Shine's resignation letter

Jonathan Siegel's resignation letter

Jennfier Barela's resignation letter