Saturday, February 16, 2008
Grady Left N.M. Under A Cloud
By T.J. Wilham
Copyright © 2008 Albuquerque Journal; Journal Staff Writer
The police chief at the center of this week's deadly shooting at Northern Illinois University should be a familiar name to New Mexicans.
Don Grady also served as chief for the Santa Fe and University of New Mexico police departments.
He left Santa Fe in February 1996 under a cloud of controversy and a divided department where he was assailed by the union.
Grady was brought in from his job as UNM police chief to run the Santa Fe department in 1994 by then-Mayor Debbie Jaramillo.
Less than a year later, members of the police union voted "no confidence" in him.
He resigned 18 months into the job.
Some of his most controversial decisions included the banning of bolo ties in the department, eliminating the traffic division, reprimanding two officers who gave the mayor a parking ticket, comparing people who opposed him to the Ku Klux Klan and forcing officers to remove family photos and religious items from their squad cars.
"He was controversial here. Very controversial," said Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White, who was secretary of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety while Grady was in Santa Fe. "It was a real difficult time for the Santa Fe Police Department. His style of management just did not work in New Mexico.
"He is more suited for a university environment."
There are pictures of every police chief inside the chief's office in Santa Fe dating back to the 1950s.
Except one. There is an empty spot on the wall where Grady's picture should be, said Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano, who was union president during Grady's term.
"To this day, people here still have disdain over the years he was here," Solano said. "He has left a mark, but very few people like to talk about it or remember it."
After leaving Santa Fe, he earned a doctorate in administration and management from Walden University in Minneapolis.
Afterward, Grady made his mark internationally.
The U.S. State Department approached him about putting together an international police unit that would create a multiethnic police force in Brcko, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Grady told the Journal in 2001.
The force included Bosnian Croat and Serb groups that had been killing each other, he said. He helped put together a police force by letting leaders of the various ethnic groups rate candidates from the other groups but not their own, he said. That resulted in the selection of moderates instead of extremists, he said.
Afterward, he wrote the strategic plan for forming a Kosovo police academy and was named deputy police commissioner for the department. There he worked with the United Nations to implement a postwar plan for a civilian police force.
In October, Grady was appointed to serve a one-year term as the senior adviser to Iraq's top law enforcement official, according to a September University of Northern Illinois press release.
Grady has been providing counsel on how to police a troubled nation.