Dual leadership has never worked for officers or residents - Albuquerque Journal

Dual leadership has never worked for officers or residents

Harold Medina
Harold Medina

Mayor Tim Keller’s dual leadership at APD is bound to fail as other attempts have. It is reminiscent of the Chief Gorden Eden-Assistant Chief Huntsman era and those that followed. One of the mayor’s prime issues when he ran for office was tackling the crime issue; he has failed. He refuses to consider anything short of liberal policing methods. He appointed a new “superintendent of police,” then announced a national search for one. I can visualize Councilor Trudy Jones throwing up her arms in bewilderment when she commented on the plan for dual leadership.

Crime is up and directly related to the settlement agreement, an absurd use-of-force policy and the required investigations. These decrees can last for a decade or more. Seattle and Portland have been under one since 2012, Detroit since 2003. Crime escalates wherever they are implemented. The monitor has every financial reason to prolong this decree while he drains our coffers.

After another charade – remember Chief Michael Geier? – Harold Medina was selected as chief of police after a questionable national search. The union says it supports the new chief and in the next breath says morale is at an all-time low. The chief is directly responsible for officer morale, and Medina has had his hand in the mix for years. I have been informed by officers that the chief is overly strict and vindictive in his administration of discipline; this could be one reason discipline was placed in the superintendent’s hands. Discipline is a function of the chief and not a civilian member who has been given status as an assistant chief administrative officer for disciplinary reasons.

I believe I can speak for an overwhelming number of retired/former officers when I say this entire mess, settlement agreement/dual leadership is an unmitigated disaster that was preventable. We arrived here by the political inactions and lack of courage by our mayors and councils. They should have been the oversight when the chain of command faltered.

I spent nearly 22 of my 25 year career working the streets in a patrol car through the rank/position of an area commander. I was never aware of institutional racism nor recall what could be considered excessive force. Not everyone we arrested wanted to go without a fight. We were attacked with gunfire, knives, bludgeons and the list goes on. Yes, some had to be slammed up against the hood of a car, a wall or the ground to gain compliance. Some had to be gassed, tazed, struck with a baton and, yes, some had to be shot. For doing our job, a job most wouldn’t or couldn’t do, our politically correct politicians shoved us under the settlement agreement bus.

A once proud, nationally recognized, effective APD is in total shambles, and life for the officers and crime is only going to get worse. But alas, the new dual leadership at APD will “right” the sinking ship.

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