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39 apply to be Albuquerque’s top cop

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

When James Dobson was let go as police chief of Opa-locka, Florida – a small city of 16,000 in Miami-Dade County – it was because of high crime rates and his lack of progress in turning around a troubled department, according to an article in the Miami Herald.

Four months later, he was one of the applicants to be the next chief of the Albuquerque Police Department – as is the man who fired him, Opa-locka City Manager John Pate.

Pate and Dobson were two of 39 candidates who had applied to be the city’s next top cop. When reached by phone Thursday, Dobson said he removed his name from consideration earlier this week because the move would be too much for his family.

In response to an Inspection of Public Records Act request, the Journal received two stacks of résumés that had been turned in by Dec. 4.

The résumés are sorted into 25 “qualified” candidates and nine “unqualified” candidates.

Spokeswoman Jessica Campbell said all applicants went through a “multi-step screening process and as a result some were disqualified.” She did not say what the screening process entailed.

Among the résumés the Journal received are 24 men and one woman who were deemed qualified; many of the applicants have been finalists in other nationwide searches in recent history. For the most part, the candidates can be divided into three categories: police chiefs of small cities, higher ranking officials within large police departments, and those who have left law enforcement for other professions.

Among those in the first group are:

• George Austin, chief of police of the Milton Police Department in Georgia.

• Roland Camacho, chief of police of the Chambersburg Police Department in Pennsylvania.

• Joel Fitzgerald Sr., chief of police of the Waterloo Police Department in Iowa. Fitzgerald was police chief in Fort Worth, Texas, but was fired in 2019.

• Clinton Nichols, chief of police of the Commerce City Police Department in Colorado.

• Edward Reynolds, chief of police of the Southern University of Shreveport Police Department in Louisiana.

• Todd Richardson, who was the sheriff of Davis County, Utah, until 2019. He’s now a deputy with the Beaver County Sheriff’s Office.

In the second group are:

• Harold Medina, APD’s interim chief while the search unfolds. Medina previously served as deputy chief of APD and, before that, was Chief of Police for the Pueblo of Laguna.

• Jason Lando, a commander with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.

• Mark Molinari, a commanding officer at the New York City Police Department.

• James Rhoden, a commander with the Baltimore Police Department.

• Michael Rigoli, who recently retired as a lieutenant with the Chicago Police Department.

• Joseph Sullivan, who recently retired as a deputy commissioner of patrol operations for the Philadelphia Police Department.

• William Taylor, chief deputy of the DeKalb County Marshal’s Office in Decatur, Georgia.

• Michele Williams, who retired from the Santa Fe Police Department as a lieutenant. She is suing the city of Santa Fe, alleging her rights as a whistleblower were violated when she was removed from her position for reporting time card fraud and other improprieties.

• Joseph Lestrange, a division chief of the Homeland Security Investigations transnational organized crime division in Washington, D.C.

• Albert Pleasant IV, a special agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations in Texas.

In the third group are:

• Jesus Eduardo Campa, CEO of Americas Best Strategic Security Group in El Paso and executive director for the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training, a regulatory law enforcement agency for the State of Oklahoma. He served previously as chief of police for the Marshall Police Department and applied to be the chief of police in Santa Fe in 2015.

• Thomas Cassella, director of security and valet at Caesars Entertainment Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, Maryland. He worked previously for the Baltimore Police Department for 23 years.

• Brian Childress, an instructor at the Law Enforcement Command College at Columbus State University in Georgia and an assessor for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies in Virginia. He served as chief of police for the Valdosta Police Department from 2013 to 2018.

• Jonathan Lewin, senior public safety adviser for the First Responder Network Authority in Virginia. He spent 15 years with the Chicago Police Department.

• Pate, city manager and director of public safety for city of Opa-locka, Florida. He worked previously for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and the Village of Phoenix Police Department, both in Illinois.

• Anthony Schembri, who quotes Rudy Giuliani as saying he’s a “pioneer” and has been appointed to various posts by three governors, two mayors of New York, and more. He was a county administrator and director of public safety for Citrus County, Florida, from 2008 to 2009.

• George Smith, vice president of Corporate Security Life Safety for the Bank of America in Delaware. He previously spent 27 years with the Radnor Township Police Department.

• David Williams, a mission assurances division chief for the U.S. Air Force in Nebraska.

Nine of the candidates who applied were found not to be qualified, including David Bibb, the recently ousted chief of the Las Vegas Police Department in New Mexico, and Emil Radosevich, who recently resigned as chief of the Pueblo of Jemez Police Department.

On Wednesday evening, the city released the names of all the applicants – a total of 39. The five who had applied after the Journal’s records request are: Al Fear, Philip Holmes, Robert Jones, Kenneth McCoy Jr. and Daniel Neill.

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