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The mayor of Albuquerque, where police have shot 23 people in the last two years, urges that the practice end.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Albuquerque police officers involved in a rash of fatal shootings over the past two years were paid up to $500 under a union program that some have likened to a bounty system in a department with a culture that critics have long contended promotes brutality.
Mayor Richard Berry called Friday for an immediate halt to the practice, which was first reported in the Albuquerque Journal during a week in which Albuquerque police shot and killed two men. Since 2010, Albuquerque police have shot 23 people, 18 fatally.
"The administration has nothing to do with how the union conducts their business," Berry said in a statement, "but I was shocked yesterday when made aware of this practice. I cannot stand aside and condone this practice. It needs to end now."
"Frankly, it's insulting and very insensitive that somebody would believe that a police officer would factor in a payment for such a difficult decision," said Joe Clure, president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association.
Clure said his union gives officers who fire their guns in the line of duty a $25 dinner card and a few movie tickets. On rare occasions, the union will give as much as $500 for a hotel room and travel for an officer who is having an especially difficult time in the aftermath of a shooting, although he doesn't recall that happening in about 10 years.
In Idaho, State Police Cpl. Fred Rice, chairman of the Idaho State Police Association, said his organization made a conscious decision not to give cash or checks.
"That would almost look like to me, if I gave every time an officer involved in a shooting a $500 check, someone might think, 'Oh, that's a quick way to make money,'" he said.