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Police officials defend Police Academy head

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The major in charge of the Albuquerque Police Academy resigned from the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office in July while she was under an internal affairs investigation into why the county was paying $25,000 to train volunteer deputies, mostly from other sheriff’s offices.

HANDOUT PHOTO This handout photo shows new Albuquerque Police Academy director Jessica Tyler while she still was with the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office. An Internal Affairs investigation while she was with the Sheriff's Office has been released.

JESSICA TYLER

Police officials said this week that they were aware that now-Major Jessica Tyler was involved in that probe of a reserve cadet academy at the time she was hired by Albuquerque police days after she submitted her resignation from the BCSO.

Police Chief Gorden Eden said in front of city councilors Wednesday night that the internal affairs investigation didn’t affect his decision when he tapped Tyler for the position.

“Major Jessica Tyler is an intelligent, experienced, proven, and capable law enforcement leader and the city of Albuquerque and Police Department are fortunate to have her,” Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry said in a statement. “I have all the confidence that her skills will help with the challenges of training, DOJ agreement, and the recruiting and retention of high quality police officers for APD.”

Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden

GORDEN EDEN

Tyler said Thursday night that it was a sexual harassment complaint she filed that triggered the internal affairs probe and that she saw the writing on the wall and decided to resign.

The Sheriff’s Office initiated the investigation several months after she filed the complaint, ultimately accusing her of sharing confidential internal affairs information.

“The Sheriff’s Office is attempting to intimidate and retaliate against me for bringing to light discriminatory, harassing, false statements by a ranking member of Sheriff’s Department,” she said in a statement issued through a public relations firm. “These retaliatory acts are also an attempt to discredit my character in the wake of Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) claims which I have pending against the Sheriff’s Office.”

A redacted BCSO internal affairs report on Tyler written by Sheriff Manny Gonzales said the investigation “sustained” several alleged policy violations against Tyler. One accusation was that she shared confidential internal affairs information.

There were 10 Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office cadets in the class, two Valencia County cadets and two cadets from the BCSO, though one of them dropped out, according to the report.

Bernalillo County spent about $25,000 in overtime to teach the course. Valencia and Sandoval counties didn’t pay for any of it, according to the report.

The academy trains people to become reserve deputies, which are volunteer positions, and the graduates have to work alongside a certified deputy, said BCSO Sgt. Aaron Williamson, a spokesman.

Robert Tyler, Jessica’s husband, was a captain in the Sandoval County reserve deputy program. He resigned several months ago, but an exact date of his resignation wasn’t available, said Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Keith Elder. Robert Tyler was not mentioned in the internal affairs report.

Jessica Tyler resigned July 24 and was hired by APD shortly thereafter.

After the report said alleged policy violations were sustained, the “conclusions” and the discipline Gonzales would have imposed if Tyler hadn’t resigned were redacted.

Sheriff’s Office records state that the investigative reports on Tyler were sent to the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board, which has the ability to suspend or revoke police certifications.

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