Albuquerque ORC program honored
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—The Albuquerque Police Department has been honored with two top security awards for its 6-year-old Albuquerque Retail Assets Protection Association, a private-public program to fight organized retail crime.
“They—and we—are just ecstatic about what we’ve been doing,” said Karen Fischer, strategic support division manger for the Albuquerque Police Department, who is heavily involved in the ARAPA program and its spread to other jurisdictions nationwide.
The Security Industry Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police awarded the Albuquerque Police Department and its ARAPA the Michael Shanahan Award for Excellence in Public-Private Cooperation.
“By working together with the private sector, law enforcement can continue to keep communities safe. And when communities are safe, they thrive,” IACP President Walter McNeil, chief of the Quincy, Fla., Police Department, said in a prepared statement.
Albuquerque’s ARAPA program shows how security technology can be used most effectively, Don Erickson, chief executive officer of SIA, said in a prepared statement. “Technology can provide amazing solutions for law enforcement and security professionals, as the police department and businesses in Albuquerque are demonstrating,” he said. “By combining the resources of the public and private sector, they are managing risk, increasing security and locking up criminals.”
The Albuquerque Police Department also received the annual IACP/Motorola Webber Seavey Award for Quality in Law Enforcement. The jointly sponsored award honors programs targeting serial criminal activity, youth intervention and transient interdiction. In less than nine months [in Albuquerque], the organized crime unit made 132 felony and 62 misdemeanor arrests and nearly 100 cases were forwarded to the district attorney’s office for felony prosecution, award sponsors said in a prepared statement.
The Albuquerque program got its start in 2006, under the direction of Police Chief Raymond D. Schultz, with the goal that the police department and local retailers could share information about retail crime. The success of the model, which includes a members-only, secure website where security professionals can post information about recent incidents, has spread. The ARAPA model was being used in a dozen jurisdictions last year at this time, and eight more have come on board since, most recently the state of Georgia. Los Angeles, San Diego, Cook County in Illinois and the state of Ohio also have set up ORC sharing networks.
“We started out with ORCA [Organized Retail Crime Organizations], and it has mostly been replicated in areas of ORCAs, however the model is easily replicated into other business sectors, and that’s where there’s starting to be growing interest,” Fischer told Security Director News. “They’re saying, OK, now that we’ve done this, how can we move towards construction? There is so much overlap in criminal activity, so it continues to expand and grow.
“The interest is there. It’s such an easy way of just enhancing any community public-safety ability,” Fischer said. “It’s a foundation of ‘you’ve got to trust who lives there, we have to work together, we’re in this together.’”
Police departments have seen their budgets cut and personnel lost because of the economic downturn, she said. “There’s the understanding now that that won’t come back.” Law enforcement is still expected to provide the same high level of services, and the future is such that that will have to be carried out with public-private partnerships, she said.
“It has been fun,” she said. “We kind of stumbled on this whole partnership thing. We adopted it as a great way to do business, but it is expanding into something that is growing in other ways.”