Editor’s Note: Readers will recall that LR Net has begun a policy of “getting local.” We’re covering political races in a number of different towns, counties, and cities around the nation. Currently, we’re looking at Tim Keller, candidate for mayor of Albuquerque, NM, and which LR Net has recently endorsed.
The otherwise attractive high desert community of Albuquerque, New Mexico, has an unfortunate reputation as a city of crime and violence. A combination of drugs, poverty, and an underfunded and over-stretched police department have made for a toxic cocktail of too many incidents and not enough responders.
As a result, crime has emerged as a major issue in the city’s ongoing mayoral campaign. Indeed, the conservative candidate, Dan Lewis, has made “getting tough on crime” a centerpiece of his platform.
However, it is the liberal candidate, Tim Keller, who has won the endorsement of the city’s notoriously prickly police union, which has traditionally been no friend of warm & fuzzy types on the Left.
Why did the Albuquerque Police Officers Association (APOA) pick Keller? Local news reports (see, for example, “Albuquerque police union endorses Keller for mayor,” by Chris McKee, KRQE webpage, September 21, 2017, 10:03 pm Updated: September 22, 2017, 1:08 pm) indicate that the Union felt that Keller understands the city’s needs in terms of policing, and is willing to work with the union and the department.
Keller has, in fact, been pretty clear about his plans for dealing with the city’s crime problem should he be elected. His campaign website includes a downloadable, 1500+ words-long document, “Real Solutions for Making Albuquerque Safer,” spelling out his intentions. These include plans to upgrade the police force, increasing its numbers and addressing some of its problems with pay and training; to move in the direction of community policing (i.e., to have officers on the ground in individual neighborhoods rather than simply reacting to crisis); and to address the various scandals that have plagued the police department in recent years.
Regardless of whether Keller wins in the city’s upcoming run-off election, his endorsement by the APOA could signal an intriguing new trend in local elections. Where once Progressives ran against local police forces, Keller seems to show that you can run with them, and still be a liberal.