ALBUQUERQUE (AP) - Albuquerque police might stop going to the thousands
of minor fender benders that take place around the city each year.
Police leaders said Monday that the move would free up officers for more
pressing calls and ease inconvenience for drivers in small, noninjury
Police Chief Gil Gallegos is to review and decide upon the plan in the
next few weeks.
"We're just inundated, so we can't provide the kind of service the public
expects," said Capt. John Gonzales, who heads the department's traffic
Mayor Martin Chavez said he wants to see the department's research before
weighing in on the issue.
Albuquerque police tried a similar plan a decade ago but it was promptly
dumped after strong public outcry.
City police have traditionally responded to all traffic wrecks, except
some foul-weather days when more accidents occur. Motorists involved in
fender benders are then asked to go to police stations to make their own
According to the department, police during one recent 10-month stretch
investigated nearly 16,000 property-damage accidents.
Gonzales said under the new proposal, police would stop going out to
noninjury crashes in which both vehicles can still be driven and police
enforcement isn't needed.
The proposal would be phased in over 12 to 18 months. During the first
months, drivers would be educated on what to do in the event of a crash,
accident report forms would be made available at sites throughout the
Police said officers would still respond in cases where a driver insists
on having police at the scene.