The scandal even claimed one victim, Chief Gilbert Gallegos, who was fired and then drawn and quartered in a 1,000 page report for failing to "launch an immediate criminal investigation into the alleged thefts from the evidence room, despite the recommendation of senior staff" (ABQ Journal - Subscription). The mayor then brought in current Chief Ray Schultz then lured former Sheriff Joe Bowdich out of retirement to lend credibility to the APD makeover that was supposedly underway.
We have been concerned that the moves by the media conscious mayor were more about creating the impression of fixing the problems than about actually correcting them. Our Eyes tell us that we were right to be suspicious. You see, it seems that the media spectacle created for the benefit of the masses hasn't resulted in the elimination of the underlying problems.
According to our Eyes the APD evidence room is still a sloppily run outfit. Evidence is often mis-tagged, misplaced, and improperly recorded. Evidence including money and jewelry can often be found on the floor with no indication where it came from or which case it belongs to.
Most disturbingly, the Eyes have it that when a defense attorney for Brandon Craig visited the APD evidence room to review their client's case evidence, many of the items were missing.
(Sidebar)Anyone who has ever watched a single episode of Law and Order knows that the first thing any defense attorney will claim is that the evidence no longer in the prosecution's possession or that is not made available to the defense is somehow exculpatory. The evidence room's main function is to make sure that any evidence stored within its confines remains secure, in good condition, and can be found for trial.
Brandon Craig stands accused of the 1999 murders of Kevin Shirley, Luis Garcia, and Matthew Hunt. Craig was arrested back in November after BCSO cold case detectives took a fresh look at the case and found enough evidence for the arrest. Read more about the investigation in the Albuquerque Journal (Subscription) here.
APD seems incapable or unwilling to correct the chronic problems associated with the evidence unit. Perhaps that's what happens when the Chief of Police hired to clean up the evidence room used to be in charge of the evidence room. That's certainly what happens when the mayor decides to fix a public relations problem during an election, rather than fixing the very real systemic problem in the evidence room.