Abq Reports: Has APD Really Changed?

Following is an article by retired APD Sergeant Dan Klein published by ABQ Reports on May 14, 2018.

The Klein article is followed by what I believe is the answer to the question.

HAS APD REALLY CHANGED?

May 14, 2018
By: Dan Klein, Retired APD Sargeant

Has the Albuquerque Police Department changed, really changed? Soon we will find out.

It’s time to make accountable those who think working for the City of Albuquerque is like working at a brothel.

Two court cases this month are dragging up old, painful memories of a police department that fell from grace through poor leadership and management. The first case involved a civilian scientist, Furman Sizemore, at the APD Crime Lab. He sued the City of Albuquerque over violations of the human rights act. His lawsuit stemmed from actions by his supervisors at the APD Scientific Evidence Unit in 2015, when Gorden Eden was Chief of Police. D 202 CV 2016 05356, Sizemore vs City of Albuquerque.

The jury in this matter agreed with Sizemore, stating that his race (Sizemore is African American) was a “motivating factor in his supervisors discriminating in matters of compensation” against him. Basically, the jury said that because he is black, APD management didn’t give him a raise that they gave others who were not black. And yes, you and I are going to pay for this discrimination.

If this sounds like Groundhog Day it is, the citizens have been paying for egregious actions by APD management for years now, with no one at City Hall ever holding them personally accountable.

The second case is scheduled to start on May 14, 2018 in federal district court (Welch vs City of Albuquerque). In this case current Albuquerque Airport Police Lieutenant Terysa Welch is alleging sexual harassment and discrimination during the time she was an APD detective in the Repeat Offenders Project (ROP). This alleged harassment occurred slightly less than ten years ago when Ray Schultz (the Nature at Play chief) oversaw APD.

The allegations that Welch make are disturbing to anyone with a moral compass that works. Her complaint includes unwanted touching and hugging by her supervisors and fellow detectives, a request for her to refer to her supervisor as “daddy,” and an offer of a “three-way” sex act with one of the detectives and his wife.

Welch make a lot of other disturbing allegations such as physical threats by her fellow detectives and that they refused to provide her backup when needed. If any of this is true, it will just be one more reminder of how low APD sunk under the command of people like Schultz.

I used to tell officers in my squad that it is always darkest right before it goes completely black. Of course, it could be that it is darkest just before the dawn of a new day. This is the question Albuquerque citizens need to be asking of Chief Geier and Mayor Keller.

Will Geier and Keller ignore these two court cases and their verdicts? Or will they step in front of the cameras and put forth to the citizens and officers at APD that this is a new day and this type of activity will not be tolerated any longer.

Some of the people involved in these cases still work for the city of Albuquerque. What I hope happens is that Geier will call for an Internal Affairs investigation into Sizemore’s discrimination and Welch’s sexual harassment. If any current APD employees are found that they participated Geier must discipline them.

And this isn’t just a problem at APD. If you remember the Parking Division had their own supervisor who cost the city a couple hundred thousand dollars because he sexually harassed his subordinates.

This brings me to Mayor Keller and the strong leadership he promised. Mayor Keller, I know this crap didn’t happen under your watch, but as a Albuquerque taxpayer I am disgusted in the millions of dollars paid out for disgusting antics by people in management at the City of Albuquerque. Keller needs to put forth several policies to protect our checkbook.

Keller must enact a city policy regarding “nature at play.” It’s time to make accountable those who think working for the City of Albuquerque is like working at a brothel. Keller must also put forth a policy that if the actions of a city employee cost the taxpayers money in court settlements or verdicts, an immediate investigation must be opened. If that employee if found to have acted in violation of city rules and regulations then the punishment should be swift and sure.

I am tired of the embarrassment. I am tired of my tax dollars being handed out with no one being held accountable. Chief Geier and Mayor Keller, is this a new day or just more of the same?

TO ANSWER THE QUESTION: PROBABLY NOT

Appointing Michael Geier as interim chief was one of the better appointments Keller has made.

Geier has done a good job of calming things down at APD.

But doing a good job for the first six months does not in any way mean that there is a “culture shift” within the department nor any shift in attitudes by management let alone the rank and file police officers.

Appointing a new interim police chief who is a retired APD commander and former Rio Rancho Police Chief is not changing the traditional way of managing APD.

The is no real indication nor proof that engrained attitudes developed over the years have changed that contributed to the culture of aggression found by the Department of Justice.

Chief Michael Geier’s appointment is a throwback to former APD Chief Ray Schulz and Gordon Eden management styles.

Notwithstanding the work Chief Geier is performing, Candidate Keller said if elected, he would do a national search for a new APD Police Chief and make sweeping changes to the department.

However, after almost 6 months in office, Keller finally announced a national search to for hiring a new permanent Chief.

Immediately upon announcing the national search for a permanent APD Chief, Interim Chief Michael Geier immediately announced he was applying to be made permanent, something Mayor Keller encourage by all accounts.

Chief Geier and his Deputy Chiefs represent the “old guard” of APD management.

The current command staff reflects APD’s past.

The Chief Geier’s Deputy Chiefs are not outsiders at all but have been with APD for some time.

The Deputy Chiefs of Police appointed by Mayor Keller include Harold Medina who retired from APD as commander after serving 20 years, Rogelio Banez who was the area commander in southwest Albuquerque, and Eric Garcia who was a Deputy Chief under APD Chief Gordon Eden.

The command staff under Chief Geier do not reflect a new generation of police officer fully committed and trained in constitutional policing.

All the previous commanders under the previous administration have been shuffled around with a few retiring, with no firm commitment that they will be kept as commanders.

The current organization of APD under Mayor Keller is a remarkable look alike consisting of even older faces replacing the old faces under former Chiefs Ray Schultz and Chief Gordon Eden and people brought up through the ranks of APD over the last 20 years.

Thus far, we are not seeing any real visionary change to APD and a return to a reliance on past management of the department.

It was the past APD management practices that resulted in the “culture of aggression” found by the Department of Justice that lead to the federal consent decree after 18 police officer involved shootings and the findings of excessive use of force and deadly force by APD.

APD needs a clean sweep in management to remove anyone who may have assisted, contributed or who did not stop the culture of aggression found by the Department of Justice and who have resisted the reform process during the last 3 years of the consent decree.

Once a permanent APD Chief is appointed, that person should be given a wide range of authority to surround themselves with who they want as Deputy Chiefs and Commanders, even if that means hiring people from outside of the department, from around the state or for that matter from out of state.

However, if Chief Geier is made permanent, it is likely he will keep the Deputy Chiefs already in place that are a throwback to the past and nothing is going to change.

The Keller Administration should consider creating a Department of Public Safety as advocated in my May 1, 2018 blog article “Create Department Of Public Safety; Abolish APD Internal Affairs; Create Salary Structure”. (See link below).

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/05/01/create-department-of-public-safety-abolish-apd-internal-affairs-create-salary-structure/

https://www.abqreport.com/single-post/2018/05/14/The-Future-of-APD-is-Now

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About

Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.