Albuquerque police officials are shaking up the department’s leadership structure with the aim of increasing officer supervision and accountability, according to an APD spokeswoman.
Officials are promoting two APD commanders to the position of “major” and they’ll be tasked with overseeing the east and west sides of the city and officers assigned to the Field Services Bureau, generally patrol officers. As majors, they’ll make a little less than $100,000 a year each.
Those commanders are Timothy Gonterman, who currently commands the Foothills area, and Anthony Montaño, who commands the criminal division.
APD Chief Gorden Eden, in a phone interview, said the city will be divided along Interstate 25, and each major will oversee the three area commanders on either side. The change, he said, will allow APD “to take a really big city and divide it into the right areas and the right leaders”.
He said the change will free up commanders and allow for more one-on-one time with officers and supervisors, and he said it will allow for more accountability up the command chain – an area that the Department of Justice keyed in on in a recent investigation into the department.
This is the second major leadership structure change that happened in recent months, but the first to occur after the Department of Justice released findings of an investigation into the department.
In addition to the new majors, APD hired Robert Huntsman as an assistant chief in charge of implementing the DOJ reforms and to act as a go-between when dealing with the department’s deputy chiefs and Eden.
Eden said the new structure is something he’s taking from the Department of Public Safety, where he used to be cabinet secretary, and other agencies around the country. At DPS, so-called “zone majors” oversee various parts of the state, he said.
Eden said the restructuring got approval from the Mayor’s office. Monta ñ o, in a news release provided to the Journal , said officers need to do a better job of keeping a pulse on the communities they serve.
“One of the biggest things our department has moved away from in recent years is officer involvement with the community,” Montaño said in the news release. “This was cited in the DOJ report. We need to take ownership of our respective districts and get out of our cars and into the neighborhoods. Every officer isn’t busy every minute of the day. We have time to accomplish this.”
The full news release is below:
Albuquerque Police Department Chief Gorden Eden announced today that he will be promoting two APD commanders to the newly created rank of Major. Foothills Area Commander Timothy Gonterman and Criminal Investigations Commander Anthony Montano will now oversee the East and West Side Field Services Divisions, respectively.
“One of the deficiencies cited in the recent Department of Justice review of the Albuquerque Police Department was related to proper supervision of officers,” said Chief Eden. “With this change we are now intensifying supervision and increasing accountability by splitting the Field Services Division into two sections. This change is based on successful command models used by other police agencies. It will provide more oversight and direction for the officers in the field. We have chosen Commanders Gonterman and Montano because they have demonstrated the strong leadership skills necessary for us to move ahead with DOJ reform requirements.”
Major Montano said, “One of the biggest things our department has moved away from in recent years is officer involvement with the community. This was cited in the DOJ report. We need to take ownership of our respective districts and get out of our cars and into the neighborhoods. Every officer isn’t busy every minute of the day. We have time to accomplish this.”
Montano has been with APD for almost 25 years and has served in every division of the department. He is an Albuquerque native and a graduate of Waylon Baptist University with a degree in justice administration. He also graduated Northwestern University School of Police Staffing Command.
“I look forward to the challenges of working with the DOJ and instituting the changes required to make APD a better police force,” said Major Gonterman. “We have some good policies and procedures in place, but others that need strengthening. I will work hard as part of that improvement process.”
Major Gonterman, a Michigan native, has been with APD since 1996. He is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and holds a degree in criminal justice and sociology. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
In addition, Chief Eden also announced the promotion of three lieutenants to fill other department vacancies. Lieutenants Donovan Olivera, Arturo Gonzalez and John Thies got their stars as APD commanders in a ceremony held today at APD. Commander Oliver will now head the Family Advocacy Center, Commander Gonzales will head the Internal Affairs Unit and Commander Thies will supervise the Foothills Command.”