Mayor Tim Keller has announced that the city is in the middle of national search for a permanent police chief, who they hope to have chosen by June.
Interim Chief Michael Geier has held the position since December 1, 2018 when MayorTim Keller administration took office in December.
The city said it has been getting advice from an outside consulting firm since March on a national search.
This is very good news.
Just two days ago in my blog article below and enetitled “Nothing New About APD Command Staff Nor Police Union’s Tactics” I wrote:
“Appointing a new interim police chief who is a retired APD commander and former Rio Rancho Police Chief really is not changing the traditional way of managing APD. Chief Michael Geier’s appointment is a throwback to former APD Chief Ray Schulz and Gordon Eden management styles. The obvious big difference is Chief Geier has stronger management skills that he performs with honesty and integrity free from personal vendetta or political agendas totally unlike his two predecessors. 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 5 months in office, there has been no announcement of a national search committee nor of the process that will be used to hire a permanent chief.”
FINDING A PERMANENT CHIEF SHOULD BE FIRST STEP
Chief Geier and his Deputy Chiefs represent the “old guard” of APD style of management.
The current command staff is a reflection of 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.
Deputy Chief Eric Garcia has received high marks for his work on the DOJ reforms, but once again he was part of the previous administration’s management team and eligible to retire.
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 Berry Administration have been shuffled around with a few retiring, with no firm commitment, at least not yet announced, that they will be kept as commanders.
There has been an elimination of the positions of Major which was created a mere 3 years ago by the previous administration.
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.
Once a new 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.
Additionally, 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)
APD CHIEF OF POLICE JOB DESCRIPTION
Following is the full job description for Chief of Police that has been released by the city:
City of Albuquerque Chief of Police
Depends on Qualifications
The Chief of Police is responsible for the administration of the Albuquerque Police Department, which has approximately 1,500 employees and an annual budget of about $170 million. The position is responsible for overseeing and directing activities related to crime prevention, law enforcement and related policing services. The Chief of Police is expected to exercise sound judgment, proficiency and innovation in establishing and administering Department operations. The Chief of Police must demonstrate and promote high ethical standards within the department, advance collaborative and inclusive community initiatives and effectively implement constitutional policing practices. The Department is under a court-approved special agreement with the United States Department of Justice, relating to use of force and other issues. The Chief of Police is expected to provide strong reform-minded leadership as the Department works to achieve and maintain compliance with the special agreement. The unclassified at-will position reports directly to the Chief Administrative Officer.
This is a safety sensitive position subject to random drug/alcohol testing.
This is an unclassified at-will position.
Job descriptions are intended to present a general list of tasks/duties performed by employees within this job classification. Job Descriptions are not intended to reflect all duties performed within the job.
Minimum Education, Experience And Additional Requirements
• Bachelor’s Degree or higher in criminal justice related field (Master’s degree is preferred).
• Ten (10) years or more of experience in law enforcement management/supervision (Preferably with a law enforcement agency within a major metropolitan area, at or above the rank of Captain/Commander or equivalent).
• Completion of Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command or the FBI National Academy (Preferred).
• Ability to successfully pass a background investigation.
• Ability to obtain a New Mexico Driver’s License.
• Ability to obtain a New Mexico Law Enforcement Certification: Must currently hold a law enforcement certification and be eligible to qualify for the New Mexico Law Enforcement Certification by Waiver course (Non-NM applicants).
• Understanding of the Report on the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Constitutional Policing, Procedural Justice and building Trust and Legitimacy in a Community.
• Principles of Community Policing programs.
• Functional knowledge of U.S. Department of Justice settlement agreements.
• Advanced knowledge of crime prevention and law enforcement strategies.
• Knowledge and experience utilizing a centralized technology center (e.g., Real Time Crime Center) to direct proactive, predictive, and preemptive policing concepts.
• Principles and practices of quality victim services; understanding of specific challenges related to mental health, homelessness and victims of interpersonal violence and sexual assault.
• Understanding of the needs of businesses and the tourism-based community and its impact on public safety.
• Principles and practices of organizational management and leadership of a large law enforcement agency.
• Applicable Federal, State and local laws and regulations.
• Understanding of collective bargaining agreements.
Preferred Skills & Abilities
• Effectively direct, plan and organize the activities of a large police department.
• Critically analyze problems, identify alternative solutions and implement recommendations in support of goals.
• Effectively implement, facilitate and expand community policing initiatives.
• Promote collaboration and innovation.
• Exhibit exceptional communication skills.
• Weigh risks and consequences and make clear decisions.
• Equitably interpret and apply City policies, procedures, rules and regulations.
• Diffuse conflict and gain cooperation through discussion and persuasion.
• Motivate, select, supervise and evaluate personnel with integrity and accountability.
• Promote fiscal responsibility in administering a departmental budget.
• Develop and uphold professional standards for police; deliver quality training.
• Develop and maintain effective partnerships with community groups.
• Perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.
Mayor Tim Keller was swept into office with a 62% vote landslide giving him a mandate for change.
Keller promised to make sweeping, visionary change to APD and its management.
Mayor Keller appears to be making good on his promise made during the election that he was committed to a national search for a new Chief of Police.
Time will only tell if there will also be a change in the entire command staff including the Deputy Chiefs and Commanders.