The May 30, 2018 Albuquerque Journal’s front-page story and especially the accompanying photo, was very problematic calling into question who is really in charge of APD.
The story headlines were “A line in the sand; APD, mayor promise review, changes after child abuse case”.
The entire article can be read here:
The 4 and a half inch by 7 inch accompanying front page color photo of Mayor Tim Keller and Chief Michael Geier sitting attentively at a table in the APD conference room and listening and looking up at APD spokesman Simon Drobik as he talked behind a podium with an APD logo on the front and American flag behind him spoke volumes.
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.
The front-page story was about Mayor Tim Keller and Chief Geier’s press conference announcing an APD Internal Affairs Investigation to investigate if policy and procedures were violated by APD’s encounters with relatives and teachers of a 7-year-old girl.
The child’s blood-stained underwear was collected by a teacher and APD refused to tag it into evidence and just threw it away.
The APD officer had just met with the parents and the child on a welfare check before going to see the child’s teacher at the elementary school.
Just days before the press conference, both Mayor Keller and Interim Chief Geier repeatedly bent over backwards to defend the actions of APD saying no policies or procedures were violated.
During the press conference, Mayor Keller made the stunning admission that he and Chief Geier were not initially given the full story of the police department’s handling of the case.
At the beginning of the press conference, both Keller and Geier spoke for about 5 minutes and then sat down.
After speaking, Keller and Geier turned the entire press conference over to APD Spokesman Simon Drobik who spoke an responded to questions for about 45 minutes.
Drobik contradicted the Mayor and Chief for the need for the IA investigation when he said:
“We can’t just generate complaints based on speculation. … Somebody has to say something happened.”
The fact that the child was reported by the teacher to have been unkept, dirty and smelling of urine time and again and had blood stained underwear was sure the hell not “speculation” of child neglect and screamed out something was happening to the child.
No doubt Drobik thinks that a 7 year old child is capable of knowing when she is being neglected or abused so she can say something happened.
What is pathetic is that the investigating officer on his lapel camera video released showing him talking to the child’s teacher did not show the slightest sign of curiosity, concern nor desire to take the child’s underwear and go back and talk to the child to find out if something was wrong like he had done just hours earlier.
After six months in office, what happened at this press conference is yet another prime example that the Keller Administration is slowly developing the reputation that it and their public information officers (PIOs) do not know exactly what they are doing nor when nor how to stay on message.
Even worse, Albuquerque may have a Mayor whose PIOs have no idea or understanding what his directives are, what he wants said to the media nor what he wants his top executives to be saying.
Until Keller gets a handle on his PIOs we can expect the “amatuer hour” to continue on the eleventh floor of city hall and the 5th floor of APD main.
It’s called getting your story straight so as to avoid looking incompetent with your decisions and the messaging you want to convey.
APD Spokesman Simon Drobik needs to learn when to shut up so as not undercut his superiors, especially a Mayor who is giving direct orders.