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Inquiry sought into ex-chief’s links to Taser

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A city councilor on Friday requested an investigation into former Police Chief Ray Schultz’s dealings with Taser, the company that provides lapel cameras and other equipment for the Police Department.

Councilor Dan Lewis sent a letter to City Hall’s inspector general asking for an investigation into whether Schultz had violated the city’s conflict-of-interest ordinance. That ordinance says former employees must wait a year before representing any “business in connection with a matter in which the former employee has performed an official act,” with certain exceptions.

Schultz’s last day as Albuquerque’s police chief was Aug. 2, but he stayed on an extra month for the transition. Schultz said he now does consulting work under a contract for Taser.

Lewis, in a statement, said Friday, “The city’s conflict of interest laws are intended to ensure that employees do their jobs with integrity and to ensure that current employees and former employees do not use their influence with the city for personal gain. Because of documents that have recently come to light, I’ll be asking the city’s inspector general to look into whether former APD Chief Schultz violated those laws by accepting a consulting position with TASER almost immediately following his resignation from the city, and only weeks after having signed off on a $1.95 million contract with TASER.”

In an interview, Schultz said he didn’t violate the conflict-of-interest ordinance. Furthermore, he said, the city’s contracts with Taser were handled properly. Schultz said Taser’s most recent contract with the city was signed by his successor, Allen Banks. He said the last Taser camera contract he personally signed was in spring 2013.

The city has a “sole source” contract – meaning there was no request for proposals – with Taser for the handling of video taken by lapel cameras worn by officers.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Richard Berry said the city’s procurement office approved the sole-source procedure. Schultz said Taser was the only company at the time that offered a way to securely upload the video and provide other safeguards.

Berry said his top administrator “has informed me that the city attorney and the purchasing department have already taken a preliminary look at the situation; however, we decided today that if there are lingering questions it is best to err on the side of being thorough and have the IG take a look at the matter.”

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