On March 9, 2021, Mayor Tim Keller announced that Harold Medina had been selected as the new Chief of the Albuquerque Police Department replacing APD Chief Michael Geier who Keller had terminated. Keller also announced the appointment Sylvester Stanley as “Superintendent of Police Reform” and Deputy Chief Administrative Officer a newly created position. Stanley was placed in charge of the police academy, internal affairs including discipline and use of force review.
Stanley has a lengthy and distinguished career in law enforcement, but regrettably, has absolutely zero experience in implementing DOJ reforms and constitutional policing practices such as that mandated by the Court Approved Settlement Agreement. It was believed by city hall observers that the Stanley appointment was nothing more than a political ploy by Mayor Keller to deflect criticism in an election year that APD has been a failure with the reforms.
Mayor Keller said of the Stanley appointment at the time:
“It was simply unrealistic and a real disservice to the realities of crime and reform to think that one leader can solve all of our challenges. … It just simply takes two in this case.”
On December 1, 2021, after a mere 8 months on the job, Interim Superintendent of Police Reform Sylvester Stanley announced his retirement at year’s end. Once Stanly announced his retirement, Mayor Tim Keller announced he was launching a “national search” for the position. Keller in his announcement had this to say:
“[We are looking for] an experienced professional to lead this cutting edge position [and] who is dedicated to police reform. … We developed this innovative position to bring about a new era for our police department. … Our Superintendent of Police Reform works hand and hand with our Chief so that each leader can focus on their core duties while supporting one another for the most benefit for the department and the community.”
If Keller’s history of national searches for an APD Chief is any indication, no one should hold their breath and nor expect an outsider to be appointed to the position Superintendent of Police Reform and Deputy Chief Administrative Officer. It likely applicants will be solicited and APD insiders will also apply, the city will go through the sham of interviews and Keller will appoint someone already with APD or who is retired APD and who is willing to come back.
PUBLISHED JOB DESCRIPTTION
The published city job description for the position of Superintendent of Police Reform and Deputy Chief Administrative Officer in and of itself makes an interesting read and for that reason merits publication in full. What is important to note is that the position will pay $155,001.60 to $185,016.00 annually, the position is an unclassified at-will position appointed by the Mayor and as a result subject to confirmation by the Albuquerque City Council.
The fact that the position will also be a Deputy Chief Administrative Officer dictates that whoever holds the position will be one of only 2 Deputy Chief Administrative Officers below Mayor Tim Keller and Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair.
Following is the full job description with a link to the city page where you can apply:
JOB TITLE: Superintendent of Police Reform and Deputy Chief Administrative Officer
Salary: $155,001.60 – $185,016.00 Annually
Job Type: Full Time
Job Number: 2200579
Closing: Continuous [until filled]
“The City of Albuquerque is looking for an experienced professional to lead a cutting-edge office dedicated to police reform. Overseeing discipline and training, the Office of the Superintendent of Police Reform sits at the heart of culture change at the Albuquerque Police Department. The Superintendent of Police Reform is an executive-level position, developed to ensure that constitutional policing reforms are transparent and effective. As a direct report to the Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), the Superintendent will provide candid assessments of the Police Department’s implementation of reform initiatives. The creation of an independent position institutionalizes this role, so that reform measures will continue regardless of court or federal involvement.
Because the Police Academy is integral to both training and creating a culture that embraces reform, the Superintendent will directly oversee all Academy operations. This includes cadet training, continuing education, development of innovative curriculum, and creating a continuous feedback loop between issues in the field and training topics. The Superintendent will ensure compliance with court-approved settlement agreement (CASA) requirements related to training.
Recognizing what the Department of Justice has described as the inherent need for internal affairs to exercise independence and have some separation from institutional politics and pressures, the Superintendent will also directly oversee all internal affairs matters related to the Police Department. Exercising the delegated authority of the CAO, the Superintendent will have the final say on police disciplinary matters. The Superintendent will ensure consistency and fairness in the application of disciplinary policies and compliance with CASA requirements related to discipline. The Superintendent will also develop policies and practices to ensure that the Police Department has a wide range of tools to foster culture change, in addition to discipline.
The ideal candidate has experience working within a law enforcement agency that has been through the reform process, and possesses exceptional leadership, analytical and communication skills. In addition, the ideal candidate possesses significant experience as a police officer working in both field and investigative units, project management experience, and experience with inter-agency partnerships.
This is a safety sensitive position subject to random drug/alcohol testing.
This position subject to confirmation by the Albuquerque City Council.
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 from an accredited college or university in a law enforcement related field preferred.
• Ten (10) years or more of progressively responsible and supervisory experience working in or with law enforcement or other public safety agency(ies) or equivalent preferred.
• Experience supervising in an organized (union) environment preferred.
• Ability to successfully pass a background investigation.
• Ability to obtain a valid 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).
• Principles and practices of police reform and constitutional community policing
• Principles and practices of employee disciplinary policies and best practices
• Principles and practices of project management
• Administrative organization principles
• Principles and practices of management and staff supervision.
• Principles and practices of crime reduction strategies
• Contract negotiation and administration
• Conflict resolution techniques
• Principles of budget development and monitoring including development of control measures to remain within budget
• Computer systems and applications
• Principles and techniques for persuasive presentation of ideas and concepts in both oral and written formats
• Municipal government and organization
• Applicable Federal, State and local laws and regulations
• Understanding of collective bargaining agreements
Preferred Skills & Abilities
• Plan and coordinate project work, timelines, roles and responsibilities; establish, evaluate and implement administrative/operational policies, practices and procedures; assess, develop and administer appropriate organizational and staffing structures
• Assess, procure and implement multi-user data collection and analysis systems.
• Supervise and direct multiple and diverse functions
• Prepare, develop and administer a large and complex budget system; negotiate and administer a variety of contracts; employ cost containment strategies
• Develop and maintain positive relationships with community leaders, organizations, businesses and staff; coordinate a variety of projects and activities inter-departmentally and with outside agencies; plan, organize, direct and coordinate a variety of functional specialties and activities with overlapping work areas
• Provide leadership and direction to staff; supervise and direct subordinate professional and support staff; interpret and enforce administrative/operational polices, practices and procedures; analyze and solve problems of a complex nature; maintain departmental and state safety standards
• Analyze complex technical, administrative information and/or telecommunications systems problems, evaluate alternative solutions and recommend or adopt effective courses of action
• Communicate effectively and persuasively; speak in large and small group settings; prepare and analyze comprehensive reports; conduct staff meetings
• Exercise sound independent judgment within general policy guidelines
• Establish and maintain effective work relationships with those contacted in the performance of required duties
• Work effectively with diverse community groups
• Encourage and leverage different perspectives, wisdom and experience of group members
• Develop inclusive solutions
• Cultivate shared responsibility and collective accountability
• Perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation”
The link to the Job Description and application is here:
OUTSIDER NEEDED TO EFFECTUATE REAL CHANGE
It was during an April 15, 2021 hearing when Federal Judge Browning, who presides over the APD Court Approved Settlement Agreement that mandates 271 reforms, asked Federal Monitor James Ginger what his thoughts were on the appointment of Chief Harold Medina as the new APD Chief and Sylvester Stanley as Superintendent of Police Reform and Deputy Chief Administrative Officer.
Dr. Ginger’s response was less than enthusiastic. Dr. Ginger thought then, as is now, that APD needs an “external chief” or an “outsider” and in his words someone “nationally” with experience in DOJ reforms. Ginger expressed the opinion that such an outside person was needed to “effectuate real change” within APD.
On December 16, 2021 during the all-day hearing on the 14th Federal monitor’s report, Judge Browning asked Ginger “how deep are the leadership problems at APD” and what can be done to solve those problems. Ginger’s response was far more forthcoming than it has been in the past. Dr. Ginger stated that the problems with APD is “failed leadership”. According to Ginger the only thing that is going to change things and stop what is going on at APD is removing the existing leadership. Ginger told Judge Browning the leadership problems start from the top executive team and goes down through management to the rank file. Ginger testified that 80% of the issues APD is still faced with in the CASA can be dealt with by a change in leadership.
Federal Monitor Ginger has no management nor control over APD Personnel. He has no authority to hire nor fire. Ginger has repeatedly emphasized that all he can do is make recommendations. Ginger made it clear that Mayor Keller and the City were free to hire whoever they want as Chief, that he could not object, but only offer his opinion that APD needs someone from the outside.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
The position of “Superintendent of Police Reform” was never a good fit for Sylvester Stanly in that he had absolutely no background nor understanding of the DOJ consent decree reforms and zero experience in implementation constitutional policing practices. The Stanly appointment was always considered interim which was the reason 2nd Deputy Chief Eric Garcia was appointed as “Deputy Superintendent of Police Reform” in that he has been working on the DOJ reforms from the get go. When you read the entire job description it reads like it was written with Deputy Chief Eric Garcia in mind for the job to replace Stanly.
DEPUTY CHIEF ERIC GARCIA
Deputy Chief Eric Garcia has been with the Albuquerque Police Department since June of 1990. He was a patrol officer from 1990-1993 then moved to the Domestic Abuse Response Team. From 1995-1998, Garcia was with the Gang Unit and was then promoted to Sergeant. In 2004, Garcia was promoted to Lieutenant working with the Field Services Bureau in what are now the Northwest and Southwest Area Commands. DC Garcia worked in Operations Review for some time then was promoted to Commander in 2007 over Property Crimes, Metro Traffic Division and the Special Investigations Division.
Deputy Chief Eric Garcia was first appointed a Deputy in December, 2017 when Mayor Keller was sworn into office for his first term . It was on June 30, 2021 that it was announced that APD Deputy Chief Eric Garcia would be both the 2nd Deputy Chief and would additionally take on responsibilities of the “Deputy Superintendent of Reform” to assist Superintendent Sylvester Stanly. DC Garcia oversees the Internal Affairs Division, both Professional Standards and the Force Division. Additionally, he is in charge of crisis intervention, peer support, and behavioral sciences.
After the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) was approved in November, 2014 by the prior Republican Administration, Deputy Chief Eric Garcia was assigned the task of implementing the reforms and did what he could under the critical eye of Chief Gordon Eden who often would interfere. Deputy Chief Eric Garcia, in addition to being a Deputy Chief under Harold Medina, also serves as “Deputy Superintendent of Police Reform”. Garcia survived the high command purge 4 years ago when Keller was sworn in and he was one of 3 Deputy Chiefs Keller essentially hand picked by giving his approval.
Given the amount of pay the “Superintendent of Police Reform and Deputy Chief Administrative Office” earns, it is far more likely than not the 2nd Deputy Chief Eric Garcia will apply for the position. As was the case with his appointments of Chief Michael Geier and Harold Medina, and for a third time, Mayor Keller will go through the motions of a sham national search only to appoint another APD Insider to a high-ranking position. Mayor Tim Keller’s heavy reliance on APD’s past leadership and management practices with a department resistance to any kind of reform change no doubt is the primary reason the department after over 7 years of the consent decree is no closer to implementing the reforms.
A link to a related blog article is here: