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Mayor interviewing candidates for interim APD chief

Mayor-Elect Tim Keller, center, introduced his transition team Monday afternoon during a press conference at Fire Station 1 in downtown Albuquerque. From left to right are: Fred Mondragon, Dede Feldman, Tim Keller, Sarita Nair and James B. Lewis.(Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Wanted: an interim police chief familiar with the Albuquerque Police Department and its personnel, but who doesn’t work on the force currently.
Mayor-elect Tim Keller said Monday that he and other members of his transition team are interviewing “a dozen or so” candidates for interim police chief, and identified those qualifications as a must for candidates.
Keller said he hopes to identify an interim chief by next week.
“We will have a national search for a full-time chief, but you can’t do that right away,” Keller said at his first transition news conference at Fire Station No. 1 in Downtown Albuquerque.
“It is timing-wise impossible, and I’m not going to leave that department without a boss,” he said.
Police Chief Gordon Eden has announced that he will retire at the end of the month. Both Keller and his runoff opponent, Dan Lewis, promised during their campaigns to replace Eden.
The interim chief “has got to be somebody who knows their way around the building, knows the officers, has been there, and also somebody who is not currently there,” Keller said.
Keller also said he wants to have a team “ready to lead our city on Dec. 1,” consisting of existing city personnel under the direction of Keller’s transition team members.
Because of the runoff election and the extended campaign period, Keller has a shortened window to prepare his mayoral administration.
The formal transition period will continue through January, Keller said. During that period, he will have up to 40 teams assigned to city departments, and to issues including the budget, the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project, and police department reform, he said.

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