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Former APD officer may be named deputy FBI director

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

A New Mexico native, former Albuquerque police officer and 23-year veteran of the FBI is going to be named the second-highest ranking agent in that law enforcement agency, according to multiple news reports.

David Bowdich, a senior official leading the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, is expected to replace FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who abruptly retired this week after clashing with the White House.

Bowdich, the son of former Bernalillo County Sheriff Joe Bowdich, began his law enforcement career with the Albuquerque Police Department in 1991 after graduating from New Mexico State University. He worked as a field services officer and detective before joining the FBI in 1995.

APD Deputy Chief Rogelio Banez remembered patrolling near the South Valley with Bowdich in the early 1990s.

“He probably would have followed in his dad’s steps, and maybe even be chief if he would have stuck around,” Banez said. “He wanted a lot more challenging work.”

Banez said he met with Bowdich about a year ago at the Barelas Coffee Shop, not far from the beat the two officers worked in the 1990s.

“He was the same person, really humble. Real nice guy, and he’s one that doesn’t forget his roots and his background,” Banez said.

After leaving Albuquerque and joining the FBI, Bowdich became a supervisor in 2005.

“He learned well from his dad,” said Bob Martinez, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police in New Mexico. “I think this is indicative of the kind of individuals we have here in terms of their work ethic and their ability to succeed at all levels of government and certainly in public service.”

During his FBI career, Bowdich has been the special agent in charge of counterterrorism investigations and oversaw counterterror operations in Los Angeles and surrounding areas, as well as in Southeast Asia.

Albuquerque native David Bowdich, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s conterterrorism unit in Los Angeles, speaks at a news conference about the arrest of four men suspected of promoting terrorist activities in 2012. Bowdich will be named deputy director of the FBI, according to multiple news reports. (Associated Press)

In December 2014, Bowdich was named assistant director in charge of the bureau’s Los Angeles field office, one of the bureau’s largest field offices in the country. In April 2016, he was named associate deputy director of the FBI, overseeing the bureau’s management, budget, administration and infrastructure, according to the FBI’s website.

In an interview with the Journal in 2015, Bowdich credited Albuquerque police for his foundation in law enforcement.

He said at the time that the gravest threat to the country was American citizens being radicalized by overseas terrorist groups and then returning home.

“People will ask, ‘What’s the big deal? It’s just one more fighter abroad,’ ” he said in a telephone interview. “Our concern is always their return, and protecting our homeland and our troops.”

Less than a year after that interview, agents at Bowdich’s field office investigated a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., where a married couple who was radicalized overseas carried out a terrorist attack that left 14 dead and 22 wounded.

In his time with the bureau, Bowdich has also investigated Mexican drug cartels and American gangs, including Bloods, Crips, the Mexican Mafia and the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.

He’ll be the second-ranking agent at the FBI when his appointment becomes official.

And it will be an interesting time to take the position. The departing McCabe became a symbol for President Trump of what he considers the bureau’s political bias.

The Washington Post reported that, according to people familiar with the matter, McCabe stepped down Monday amid an internal probe examining his handling of the bureau’s investigations into Hillary Clinton.

McCabe’s departure followed what officials described as a private meeting with FBI Director Christopher Wray during which Wray expressed concern about the findings of an investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general. News of the meeting was first reported by the New York Times.

“I think that the bureau requires integrity, loyalty and a high degree of professional ethics and I believe that he possess all those three to ensure there’s positive changes that are required at that agency,” Banez said.

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