Mayor Tim Keller announced the appointment of a five-member APD Chief Selection Committee.
A national search for a permanent police chief has been underway since mid April.
To assist in the APD Chief selection process, the city hired the local firm Avtec for $10,000 to consult on both the police chief and animal welfare director hires.
The goal is to accept applications, conduct interviews, summit names to Mayor Tim Keller and have the city council vote on confirmation by mid-June.
THE APD CHIEF SELECTION COMMITTEE
The selection committee members hired and appointed are:
• HERB CROSBY, recruitment coordinator: Mr. Crosby is the President and CEO of Avtec, Inc., the management and consulting training firm that is being paid $10,000 to consult with the city. Mr. Crosby has an MBA from Pepperdine University School of Business and Management and has over 30 years of extensive training and consulting experience in the areas of civil rights, alternative dispute resolution, labor management, mediation and strategic planning facilitation for both the public and private sectors. He also teaches at the UNM School of Public Administration.
• BOB MARTINEZ, President of Fraternal Order of Police: The New Mexico Fraternal order of police is an organization of law enforcement officers, corrections officers, federal agents and probation and parole officers of the United States and is affiliated with the State Lodge and National Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police. The organization strives to create better working conditions for members of the law enforcement profession by solidifying their strength and promoting their mutual welfare in the City of Albuquerque, the State of New Mexico and the Nation. Mr. Martinez has been a federal law enforcement official himself and is repected in the law enforcement community.
• JAMES LEWIS, Mayor Keller’s Senior Adviser For Public Safety: James B. Lewis is a highly respected former government official with a long history of state, county and city government service. Mr. Lewis has held many titles and won many elections and appointed to positions including Bernalillo County Treasurer, New Mexico State Treasurer, Chief of Staff to former Governor Bruce King, Chief Administrative Officer for Mayor Marty Chavez. He has also worked for President Barrack Obama at the Department of Energy and appointment to work on Mayor Keller’s transition team. Mr. Lewis has been hired by the Keller Administration on a $75,000 contract to serve as Senior Advisor for Public Safety.
• ED PEREA, private attorney: In 2016, Mr. Perea was a candidate for Bernalillo County District Attorney, running as a Democrat. He has previously served as a Special Prosecutor for the 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and was an Adjunct Professor of Law and worked at the University of Phoenix. He spent nearly 24 years with the Albuquerque Police Department, is a former APD commanding officer and retired from APD.
• CAROL PIERCE, Mayor Keller’s Director of Family and Community Services: Ms. Pierce has thirty years of experience working in the health field in the public and private sectors. She was the Program Manager for the UNM School-Based Health Program, which provides integrated medical, behavioral and often dental services, health education and case management services at six Albuquerque Public Schools. She has provided consultation services to advance the performance of organizations through strategic conversations, quality improvement, vision and value alignment. Through her work with a wide range of government, private and nonprofit organizations and schools, qualitative analyses and assessments have been completed and strategic plans implemented to improve health outcomes. Prior to her consultation work, Ms. Pierce served as New Mexico Department of Health District One Public Health Director.
Chief of Staff and Deputy CAO Sunalei H. Stewart is providing support services to the committee.
Mr. Stewart is an attorney and work for Mayor Keller in the State Auditor’s Office.
One of biggest criticisms of the selection committee is that the committee consists exclusively of former law enforcement officials or Keller Administration employees with no one from the general public nor affected groups.
In particular, there are no representatives on the selection committee from the American Civil Liberties Union, APD Forward, any Hispanic, Native American nor other minority groups and communities affected by police actions, the District Attorney’s Office nor Public Defenders Office, nor any one from the stake holders in the federal consent decree and the mandated police reforms.
THE RUSH TO HIRE TIED TO VACATION BREAK AND BUDGET
On May 19, 2018 a “listening session” was held by APD Forward with the APD Chief Selection Committee on the selection process.
APD Forward is a group comprising of several organizations involved and that advocate civilian police oversight and implementation of the Department of Justice mandated reforms.
Ed Perea was the only member of the selection committee who did not attend to listen to the public.
During the listening session, Mayor Tim Keller’s chief of staff Sonale Stewart said publicly that the APD Chief position officially opened on May 1, 2018 for applications and will close May 21, 2018, less than 3 full weeks to collect resumes and do interviews by the committee.
The Keller Administration wants to complete the selection process and have the new APD Chief confirmed by the City Council before the City Council goes on summer break in mid-June.
The Keller Administration also wants a new chief in place before the new fiscal year begins on June 1, 2018.
The time frame of two to six weeks to recruit, interview and select a new chief was one of the main concerns of APD Forward and the multiple citizens who spoke at the “listening session” meeting.
During the last 40 years, the traditional approach for the selection of an APD Chief has always been a political appointment with the Mayor almost exclusively deciding who would be APD Chief of Police.
The overwhelming number of APD Chiefs have been appointees who have come up through the ranks of APD and have included Chiefs Bob Stover, Whitey Hanson, Sam Baca, Joe Polisar, Gill Gallegos, Ray Schultz and Allen Banks, all who I knew or worked with in some capacity or another during my legal and political career.
The two main exceptions of Chiefs not appointed from within have been Gerry Galvin and Gordon Eden.
Gerry Galvin was the former Police Chief in Cleveland, Ohio appointed by Mayor Jim Baca.
Gordon Eden was the former New Mexico Public Safety Cabinet Secretary and former US Marshal and Eden was appointed by Mayor Richard Berry.
Virtually all the Chiefs mentioned above had managerial experience with municipal police departments with the sole exception being Gordon Eden.
A so called “national search” was done when former APD Chief Gordon Eden and Chief Gerry Galvin were selected.
When Gordon Eden’s named appeared on the list of applicants and before the interviews were even done, it was a foregone conclusion by city hall insiders who was going to be selected.
Gordon Eden was appointed APD Chief despite the fact he had absolutely no prior experience managing a municipal police department and contrary to the job description.
SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT HIRE
The single most important political appointment Mayor Keller will be making is the next permanent APD Chief.
Mayor Keller needs to hire a police chief and a management team that can turn the department around and reform it.
Since 2010, an estimated $64 million has paid in legal settlements by the city in APD civil rights violation cases, excessive use of force cases and deadly force cases.
During the last 8 years, there have been 34 police officer involved killings.
In April, 2014, the United States Department of Justice completed an investigation of APD after 16 killings with the Department of Justice finding a “culture” of aggression within APD.
For the past three years, the city and APD have been under a federal consent decree mandating sweeping reforms to APD.
For the past 3 years, the DOJ consent decree reforms were resisted by APD and its command staff with little progress in implementing the reforms.
Over my forty year career as an attorney, prosecutor and judge, I have seen what a good APD Chief can accomplish and I know how incompetence and failed leadership has destroyed a once great police department.
Appointing a new interim police chief who is a retired APD commander and former Rio Rancho Police Chief understandably was necessary given the two-week time frame Mayor Keller had from his election to his swearing in.
Mayor Keller replacing the APD command staff was a good start, but still there is nothing new about the command staff itself.
The “new” command staff is a reflection of APD’s past and all have been with APD for some time.
The current command staff are not a new generation of police officer fully committed and trained in constitutional policing.
The selection committee is exclusively administration officials and former law enforcement.
A major mistake the Keller Administration has made is not appointing anyone from the general public, private sector nor affected communities or government agencies that have to work with APD and the APD Chief.
The selection of a single qualified person as Chief of Police is not going to resolve many of APD problems and the full implementation of the DOJ reforms.
APD needs not only a new permanent Chief, but 3 new Deputy Chiefs.
APD needs a complete management team from the outside to take over APD who are totally and firmly committed to and trained in constitutional policing practices as mandated by the Department of Justice consent decree and the reform process.
The selection committee needs to be expanded to include members of the general public and other stake holders to get input and be involved in the screening process of applicants.
Further, the selection committee needs to expand the application process time to substantially increase the pool of applicants and to guarantee that a national search is in fact being conducted.
There is no need to rush the selection process in six weeks.
The city council’s calendar and its summer break in no way should be rushing the process.
The selection committee should interview for the position of Chief and 3 deputy chief police positions in order to hire a management team that can take over APD.
Mayor Keller simply cannot get this one appointment wrong because too much is at stake for the city.