ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz and Mayor Richard Berry insist that if union leaders want them to fix perceived problems in the department, as highlighted in a recent survey, the union should turn over hundreds of pages of officer responses.
Berry in an interview Friday criticized the union for not releasing the full results, and he said the union has offered different explanations for not doing so.
“We’re not going to dance around and play games when public safety and our officers are involved,” the mayor said Friday.
The Albuquerque Police Officers Association has refused to release comments and responses to “open-ended” questions officers gave in the union-commissioned survey between late September and late October.
On Friday, Schultz sent a letter to union president Greg Weber, formally requesting release of the entire results. The letter said the union had released only 11 of the 134 pages while telling the media that it had provided all of the results to the chief.
“As Chief I believe that it is important that I review the entire survey so that I can address any legitimate issues or concerns that the officers have raised,” he said in the letter.
Weber said in an interview that granting confidentiality was one of the only ways he could elicit officers’ honest comments.
“We promised people that they would be absolutely anonymous, and I want to keep that promise,” Weber said.
He said some officers feared retaliation if their names were released.
In the letter, Schultz offered to pay an independent consulting firm to look at the responses and to “prepare a document that could be reviewed and made public.”
Weber called the proposal “interesting” but stressed that preserving officer confidentiality was important.
More than 450 officers, or about half the force, responded to the survey. The union released very limited results last month. They showed that 99 percent of those who took the survey described APD morale as “low;” 80 percent disapproved of Schultz’s performance; 95 percent disapproved of the job Mayor Richard Berry was doing with regard to APD; and 98 percent believed APD was undermanned, with fewer than 1,000 officers.
Weber said the union did not want to release more because it did not want to “distract” from the union’s message about morale.
Schultz said in an interview Friday that he had heard that about a dozen officers -including sergeants and lieutenants – were unhappy that they had not been contacted to take the survey, which the union sent to personal emails.
“They were disappointed that they did not have a chance to participate,” Schultz said.
Weber said the union believed it would be inappropriate to send survey invitations through department email addresses. The union collected personal email addresses when officers signed up to join the union or from sign-up sheets at union meetings.
About 100 APD officers never got the invitation, Weber said, though he said the union went to great lengths to publicize and solicit responses.
“We did everything but sit down with everybody and say, ‘Here, take this survey,'” he said.
The Journal this week obtained a copy of the complete survey, excluding answers to the open-ended questions. The results showed that more than 60 percent said they had not been significantly trained to deal with new technologies such as lapel cameras and policies related to officers’ use of force.
Schultz said in an email that as far as training on the technology, the department has provided on-line training showing the proper procedures numerous times.
He said the lapel cameras were not a popular decision with some officers.
“However, we are finding that they are a very valuable tool,” he said. “I have had several officers personally approach me and tell me that at first they did not like having to use them. But now having used them since May, they can clearly see the value.”
The survey also showed that nearly two-thirds of respondents believe the promotion process was neither “fair nor balanced.”
Schultz, however, stands behind the promotion process. He said in the interview Friday that all promotions are handled by a third-party contractor and are overseen by the city’s Human Resources Department. He added that the testing material is created by experts within the department – including APOA members – and that the department’s policy is used in most major cities.
Chief Requests Survey ResultsUnion head says confidentiality promised to responding officersSCHULTZ: Wants all survey results releasedSee CHIEF on PAGE A3Chief, Mayor Want Survey Resultsfrom PAGE A1″As Chief I believe that is important that I review the entire survey so that I can address any legitimate issues or concerns that the officers have raised.”APD POLICE CHIEF RAY SCHULTZ
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal