On September 2, 2020, Interim APD Chief Harold Medina issued “DEPARTMENT SPECIAL ORDER SO 20-75” to “ALL DEPARTMENT PERSONNEL”. The subject line read: FOOTBALL APPAREL FRIDAY”
The memo reads as follows:
“Effective immediately, all plainclothes civilians/sworn personnel are authorized to wear football apparel on Friday of every week, during football season. Personnel will ensure that their apparels are professional and do not represent the city of Albuquerque or the Albuquerque Police Department in a negative manner’.
BY ORDER OF:
Dan Klein is a retired Albuquerque Police Sergeant after 20 years of public service. He has been a small business owner in the private sector now for 16 years. Mr. Klein has been a reporter for both on line news outlets the ALB Free Press and ABQ Reports.
On October 14, the following article written by Dan Klein was posted in ABQReports:
HEADLINE: Playing Football While Albuquerque Burns
Albuquerque has a crime problem. Albuquerque Police Department has a leadership problem. Mayor Tim Keller has a public relations problem (his name is Mike Geier). How will the brilliant Tim Keller and his new police chief fix these problems? How will Interim Chief Medina show that he is the man for the job?
They issue an order allowing non-uniformed members of APD to wear their favorite NFL football jersey on Fridays. Yeah, right, football jerseys will fix all of Albuquerque crime woes.
Wearing a football jersey is a PR stunt, it won’t help reduce crime. This should not come as a surprise because Keller’s tenure as mayor of Albuquerque has been heavy on PR stunts—PR stunts to further his political career—and light on solving Albuquerque’s crime and police leadership problems. One only has to sit back and watch the bickering between ex-Chief Mike Geier and Keller’s staff to realize that the kindergartners have been running the city. (Apologies to kindergartners.)
With that in mind, I would like to award a free meal, at your favorite restaurant, to the first APD Homicide detective who wears a Buffalo Bills O.J. Simpson Jersey to work on Friday. How about a New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez jersey? Or maybe a Carolina Panther Rae Carruth jersey? Or a Kansas City Chiefs Jovan Belcher jersey? Or Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens. Yes, you guessed it, all of them were accused of murder. Three of them were accused of murdering their girlfriends. If you were the family of a murder victim how would you feel if the detective interviewing you wore one of these jerseys? Not so good.
Why not have a sex crimes detective wear a Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger jersey? He has been accused of sexual assault twice in his career. Maybe a Crimes Against Children detective could wear an Adrian Peterson jersey. Maybe a detective investigating animal abuse could wear a Michael Vick jersey. The list goes on and on, as do the dumb ideas from Mayor Keller’s office. For Keller it’s all PR all the time.
The football jersey order is stupid. Allowing detectives to wear football jerseys makes the officer/detective appear less than professional to the public he is serving. It’s been almost forty years since I went through the APD academy, but I still remember the academy instructors demanding that our uniforms be perfect. Why? Because when you put on that badge, whether in uniform or in detectives, you are representing the entire city of Albuquerque. You are an ambassador to our city and therefore you must represent it with pride. Football jersey Friday doesn’t reflect pride, it reflects a mayor that is out of solutions so everything he does now is to further his PR political career. That’s a disservice to Albuquerque citizens.
APD has some big issues in front of it. Allowing detectives and officers to not represent our city in a professional manner will only make those issues grow. A police officer should take pride in wearing the uniform. A detective should take pride in wearing in wearing a suit or other professional attire. APD isn’t a fast-food restaurant or brewery, officers and detectives must hold themselves to a higher standard, and part of that is their appearance. Your appearance reflects your attitude. Professional attire equals professional actions.
Keller must stop treating APD policy as a public relations stunt for his political career. Albuquerque citizens deserve professionalism from their police department and mayor. Albuquerque police officers are professionals who deserve a professional mayor.
As of now, a professional Albuquerque’s mayor has been missing, or he is incognito in sunglasses and a hat, sitting at Coronado Park?
The link to the ABQReports article is here:
APD STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES ON GROOMING STANDARDS AND ATTIRE
The Albuquerque Police Department has 6 pages of standard operating procedures (SOPs) dealing with agency grooming standards and attire that apply exclusively to APD. SOP 1-3-3 Procedures covers “Grooming and Attire” and covers all levels of grooming, hygiene and attire, including personal hygiene, haircuts and styling, including wigs and toupe’s, cosmetics, facial hair, fingernails, tattoos, jewelry and body piercings, and dental ornamentation.
A link to APD’s grooming standards is here:
When it comes to Interim Chief’s Medina’s special order allowing the wearing of NFL Jersey’s, what he is doing is declining to enforce the departments SOP’s that apply:
“1-3 GROOMING STANDARDS
1-3-1 Purpose The purpose of this policy is to provide the grooming standards that shall be adhered to by all department personnel.
1-3-2 Policy Department policy establishes that all employees meet appropriate grooming standards as prescribed by the Chief of Police. All employees, while on duty, unless otherwise directed by their commanding officer, shall be well groomed and clean. Clothes and shoes shall be clean and properly cared for. Attire shall conform to department rules and regulations. All department personnel are expected to dress appropriately for the work place. The Chief of Police reserves the right to determine the appropriate standard for personnel in a particular assignment.
1-3-3 Procedures A. Grooming and Attire – All Department Personnel
1. Personal Hygiene …
2. Attire . …
a. Clothing is to be neat and clean, without rips, tears or holes and appropriate for the work environment. Employees should not wear suggestive or provocative attire, halter tops, non-uniform shorts, flip flops, T-shirts and other similar items of casual attire, nor should attire be unusually tight fitting, short, or low-cut.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
At first blush, many people would say it is no big deal when a boss allows subordinates a little leeway to relax a little once a week on the job to show pride in their favorite sports team. The reality is, the Albuquerque Police Department is a “para military” agency. Unlike other city departments, it must be held to a much higher standard because its mission statement to “serve and protect” and that includes a very stringent dress code. Truth is, as the old saying goes “cloths make the person”. Virtually every court in Bernalillo County has a dress code for court appearances when it comes to attorneys and court personnel. Police Officers appearing in court in football jerseys on a Friday to testify no doubt would be sent home to get dressed properly for court.
Virtually all APD sworn personnel, whether in uniform or as plainclothes detectives, are representing not just the city of Albuquerque but law enforcement as well. Uniforms and dress apparel are just as important as any badge and a gun in order to convey professionalism and dressing appropriately and professionally commands a level of respect. Sworn police officers carrying a badge and a gun wearing sports jersey’s every Friday undercuts virtually all the SOP’s on grooming and dress attire. Interim APD Chief Harold Medina obviously does not care how he looks nor his subordinates look and dress, but the public damn well sure does and the public does not care to see its law enforcement personnel dressed like they are going to a weekend football game party to drink beer and eat pizza.
Mayor Keller and CAO Sarita Nair need to send the right message by going over to APD’s main station and tell Interim Chief Medina and all others dressed in football jerseys to take one hour of vacation time, go home and return to work properly dressed. Then again, Keller himself may be reluctant to question anyone’s attire or dress code seeing as he is known to show up at events in flip flops, t-shirts and cargo shorts with a beard or wear polo shirts and slacks as if getting ready to play a round of golf.