Albuquerque is becoming known for rising crime rates, insufficient APD manpower, and over specialization of the APD officers that are on the pay roll. The result has been increasing pressure by citizens, politicians and your ever lovable Eye to increase the number of sworn officers out there protecting us. The mayor's and APD's response has been to fudge the numbers and lower the standards.
You've probably heard about the rape allegations against officer David Maes (ABQ Journal - Subscription). We all remember the recent trial of fired APD Officer Timothy Chavez whose trial ended in a mistrial and Attorney General Gary King has since decided not to re-file the charges (ABQ Journal - Subscription). For the uninitiated, a mistrial means that the jury failed to reach agreement on the charges brought by the state and the defendant is free to go unless the DA decides to re-try the case.
A story that has not made the papers is the story of Officer Levi Chavez. Chavez is a lateral officer from the Los Lunas Police Department. According to our eyes officer Chavez's wife discovered that her husband was having an affair. Tragically, her response was to take her own life.
Normally we wouldn't be talking about a suicide. It's always a shame when someone takes their own life and we apologize for even bringing it up. However according to our Eyes, Mrs. Chavez's untimely death lead to an investigation and an authorized search of the Chavez residence; a search that uncovered a substantial amount of marijuana and the paraphernalia required to make use of the afore mentioned illegal substance.
Of course Officer Chavez denies knowing anything about the stash and you can guess who he threw under the bus. We hasten to remind you that everyone even police officers, are innocent until proven guilty and we really hope that APD's badges aren't being used to hide some fairly despicable individuals. We also firmly believe that most sworn officers at APD are honest, hard-working, and most importantly honorable.
However, we're concerned that we continue to hear allegations of rape, drug possession, and theft (remember the Evidence Room) and the allegations involve the very people that have sworn to protect the rest of us from rapists, drug dealers, and thieves.
The Eyes have it that the allegations against Officer Maes aren't the first indications of problems with the officer. In fact, we're told that there were even problems with his pre-hire polygraph. Similarly, our Eyes tell us that when APD in essence raided the Los Lunas Police Department, they managed to scoop up some officers from a department that didn't exactly have a sterling law enforcement reputation.
It's true... we need more officers ON THE STREET. (Nothing prevents crime better than seeing officers early and often.) But it seems as if APD is simply looking for someone with a pulse to put behind a badge in order to reach the magic number of 1100 officers. In other words they're willing to accept officers from the bottom of the barrel; that's not good for the department and it's not good for the city.
Here's a suggestion, treat the officers you have well. Reward them for their service and for working hard. And most importantly, pay them to do a job that is hard enough without having to wade through the river of political crap that seems to flow incessantly from the 5th floor.
The Piercing Truth
This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes