Crime is Tim Keller’s Albatross

If at first you don’t succeed, try the same thing over again for another four years, at the cost of hundreds of human lives and millions of taxpayer dollars. That’s Tim Keller’s plan. 

In 2017, Tim Keller campaigned for mayor on the promise to fix crime in Albuquerque. It was his quote-unquote “#1 priority”.

Four years later, Albuquerque has already surpassed record homicides with three months left in the year. Downtown businesses battle homelessness and vandalism on a daily basis, and our streets and parks are full of needs and transients. 

But that’s not stopping Keller from using the same campaign speech he made four years ago to seek a second term.

In his latest TV ad, Keller boasts of tripling the homicide unit, hiring 400 new officers, and building a medical center (to the tune of $17 million dollars) that will house less than a hundred of the city’s 5,000 homeless people.

It’s a well-produced ad that hits Sheriff Manny Gonzales hard for committing campaign fraud and under-reporting homicides in the county, but the attempt to distract from Keller’s record on crime can’t be ignored.

What Keller leaves out of his ad is that he hasn’t come close to staffing the Albuquerque Police Department to the levels needed to have an effect on crime. The APD’s union representative said recently they have lost 120 officers this year, with expectations of 150 total calling it quits by the end of the year. 

Keller may have brought in 400 “new” officers during his four years in office, but it doesn’t account for how many he’s forced out the door due to the APD’s loss of faith in his leadership.

It doesn’t matter how much money you have budgeted for a program if you can’t bring in quality candidates to staff it, and keep it staff. With a mayor who doesn’t back the police, blames them for our city’s crime problem, and focuses more attention to “social workers with snacks” than he does trained officers on the streets, crime is getting worse. And so is APD morale.

Officers are working harder and longer. They are demoralized by the constant investigations and new rules — not only imposed by the DOJ, but imposed by Keller on top of and far exceeding the DOJ requirements.

Keller doesn’t care.

He recently bragged about how his “efforts at reimagining policing are getting national attention”, citing a Washington Post article celebrating Keller’s “new” approach to fighting crime. 

The article is titled “In New Mexico, a bold experiment aims to take police out of the equation for mental health calls” and highlights one specific police shooting of a mentally ill Albuquerque resident named Elisha Lucero, who police shot after they say she rushed them with a knife.

The article is surprisingly accurate for the Washington Post. It explains Keller’s plan to a T. 

Keller’s new “community policing” staff wear T-shirts instead of body armor, drive Hondas instead of squad cars, and are equipped with “water and snacks” instead of a badge and a defense weapon, with only their wits and de-escalation training — the same training armed police receive — to handle the city’s growing population of mentally ill. 

Rather than send trained police when relatives call 9-1-1, Keller would send unarmed “social workers” to be ambushed by mentally ill people wielding knives.

It’s a recipe for disaster, and by disaster that means fatalities.

Worse of all, it’s directing resources away from the REAL PROBLEM in Albuquerque, which is homicides, not police shootings. The Washington Post’s own database for police shootings show that New Mexico AS A STATE has had 133 police shootings in the last SIX YEARS. Albuquerque alone is on track to surpass that many HOMICIDES in 2021 alone.

Keller has his priorities wrong, which is why he’s running from his record and distracting voters with half-truths about what he’s “accomplished” in the first term.

Crime is Keller’s albatross. He owns it, because that’s what leaders sign up for when they become mayor. Running from the facts doesn’t change anything, and running on the same empty rhetoric that got us into this mess doesn’t either.

Keller is proud to make national headlines with his “new approach” to policing, but “new” doesn’t mean “effective.” It’s not that he lied or failed to do what he said he would do. He campaigned on this “new” approach, and he implemented it. 

The problem is that it hasn’t worked, and he admits it. 

Crime is up, homicides are through the roof, homelessness is rampant. Keller's solution is to continue throwing money at a problem instead of tackling it with proven tactics: boosting officer pay, supporting the officers on the street, fighting federal pressure for woke reform programs, and putting enough officers on the streets that they can actually do their jobs effectively.

Eddy Aragon has the blueprint to cut crime by half. And he’s the only candidate who has promised to fulfill his campaign platform or not run for re-election.

That’s the accountability people need at City Hall if they want to see real change in their city.

To do the same thing over and over and expect a different result is the definition of insanity.

Electing a mayor who thinks his failed approach to crime will work in the next four years despite being a dismal failure in the last four years is also insanity.

Keller has to go.

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