Editorial: Rehiring troubled Lt. raises APD union issues - Albuquerque Journal

Editorial: Rehiring troubled Lt. raises APD union issues

There are multiple reasons lieutenants (and sergeants) shouldn’t be in the union that represents APD to the city.

One example is Lt. Jim Edison.

Edison, fired in mid-November after internal investigations found he claimed more overtime hours than he worked, is back on the force. As a leader, he should be setting an example for other officers and held to a higher standard.

Instead, it appears he gamed the city’s collective bargaining agreement like few others, raking in a whopping $224,000 from April 2020 to April 2021. That followed $173,672 in 2021 and $186,944 in 2020. His regular pay is $43.20/hour.

Once discovered, an APD spokesman said Edison was untruthful about his OT and retaliated against the supervisor who initiated the investigation.

Edison did not go quietly as a member of the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association. He appealed his termination, reached a settlement agreement with the city in May and is now working in APD’s Aviation Department. Chief Harold Medina says Edison “wasn’t exactly breaking the law; he was taking advantage of the CBA.” Union membership does have its privileges.

City Councilor Louie Sanchez, a former APD officer, has asked how an APD lieutenant with 14 years of experience can be trusted to enforce the law and testify truthfully in court when he cannot truthfully fill out a time sheet? We would add how can he be trusted to mold younger officers, set a tone for accountability and help lead the department?

Edison did a huge disservice to the majority of APD pros who obey and enforce the letter of the law — rank and file, as well as the brass.

He should not be able to use the union contract to cover his tracks and stay on the force. It’s a long-simmering issue the city needs to revisit when the CBA — which represents officers, lieutenants and sergeants — comes up for renegotiation.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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