APD to drop high-ranking executive positions - Albuquerque Journal

APD to drop high-ranking executive positions

Albuquerque police will get rid of several high-ranking executive positions that the former police chief created and all commanders will have to re-apply for their positions.

Those were among several changes to the police department that Mayor Tim Keller and Chief Michael Geier announced Friday afternoon.

Keller said in a statement that Albuquerque police had been “top-heavy,” which was straining crime-fighting efforts.

“Making these changes is an immediate step towards reforming the department to support more officers in the field for community policing efforts, while staying on top of the Department of Justice improvements,” Keller said. “With a department that is stretched so thin, there’s no reason to have a top-heavy bureaucracy.”

The changes announced Friday were:

• Albuquerque police will no longer have majors and an assistant chief.

• All commanders were put in “acting” positions subject to a review.

• Some personnel were reassigned to process a backlog of use-of-force reviews.

• Police also will have a new DOJ Compliance Bureau.

The compliance bureau will be headed by a deputy chief, who will oversee compliance with the DOJ settlement agreement, which aims to correct a pattern of excessive force.

Keller said in an interview this week that he planned to restructure Albuquerque police so that it more closely resembled how the department was organized prior to the previous chief’s tenure.

He said APD’s executive staff historically has consisted of a chief and three deputy chiefs. Eric Garcia, Harold Medina and Rogelio Banez are the deputy chiefs.

Keller said because Garcia is tasked with leading reform efforts, which have been underway for three years, he may add another deputy chief in the future.

Geier is serving as an interim chief while the city does a national search for a permanent chief.

“These organizational changes are critical to establishing transparency and accountability within APD,” he said.

Former Chief Gorden Eden created the rank of major and promoted officers to oversee multiple area commands and the police academy. He also created an assistant chief title and hired Robert Huntsman to oversee the police reform effort.

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