This story is a staff report from The Paper.

New Mexico State Auditor Brian S. Colón announced Friday the results of the special audit regarding overtime practices by the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).

The state auditor designated the special audit as a result of allegations of abuse of police overtime and a disregard of APD procedures. A City of Albuquerque internal audit previously found that in fiscal years 2019 and 2020, APD paid $17.9 million and $18.3 million in related overtime. That audit found that officers were paid for working overtime they did not complete or, in other cases, supervisors failed to require documentation required by policy before approving the overtime. “For example,” the city audit found, “in one week an officer worked 55 hours of contract-based overtime, but only had [Computer Aided Dispatch records] to support 6 hours of that time.”

Auditor Colón issued the following statement on the matter:

“Continued failure to provide oversight, monitoring and accountability has resulted in abuse and contributed to the public’s mistrust. This special audit is one of at least seven reports on concerning practices at APD that must be corrected. Residents of Albuquerque deserve better and it’s long overdue,” Auditor Colón said. “The City and APD must not waste any time in implementing the identified opportunities for improvement.”

State Auditor Brian Colòn

The special audit was designated after the OSA received allegations that the City and APD failed to take action following calls from the Civilian Police Oversight Agency to address concerns regarding APD’s failure to follow its own overtime policies.

“The results of the special audit highlight a pattern of inadequate oversight from the City and APD to address years’ worth of findings and recommendations, which is necessary to fix and prevent the issues reported,” Auditor Colón concluded.

While the City’s Internal Audit Department has since begun developing an internal report of all open audits and unresolved findings, this was not in place during the period covered by this special audit, Auditor Colón said.

A severe breakdown and lack of internal controls is noted throughout the results of the special audit, he said, which has resulted in a fractured tone at the top and damaged the organizational culture as a whole.