It looks like positive change is once again coming to the ranks of the Albuquerque Police Department due in part to civilians APD is sworn to serve.
A recap: in one of its first cases with major public interest, the Civilian Police Oversight Agency weighed in on double-dipping overtime practices. Albuquerque Police Officer Simon Drobik and a supervisor found themselves in the hot seat after it came to light Drobik was working on-call as one of the department’s media contacts at the same time he was stationed outside a private business through the Chief’s Overtime program – and getting paid for both, even if he left one post to tend to the other. The practice, which appeared to violate department policy, was guaranteed to short-change businesses and/or taxpayers while helping Drobik rack up $192,973 in pay in 2018.
The civilian oversight committee raised a number of concerns with current policies, proposed several changes and ultimately recommended Drobik get the ax.
In response to the board’s recommendations, Police Chief Michael Geier has committed to revamping overtime policies, and more specifically, to ending overlap between Chief’s Overtime, on-call time and comp time accrual.
It’s an important indicator this chief listens to this board.
After the committee’s recommendations were released, the Journal cautioned on April 18 that canning one officer would amount to scapegoating for a practice a supervisor signed off on and that may well be widespread in the department. Whether the abuse has been commonplace or not, Geier allowed Drobik, who surrendered his comp time as repayment, to keep his job. Geier is also reviewing the supervisor’s actions.
It was the right move.