Despite 20 year retirement, APD has been struggling with the inability to fully staff the department. They've spent millions on advertising, negotiated a new a contract that focuses on incentivizing new hires, and of course there's the rehire program.
Recently, Officer Patrick decided to apply for that rehire program. Despite a sterling record as an officer, the former Patrolman First Class was denied rehire. According to our Eyes the reason Officer Patrick was given for denial - bankruptcy. It seems the officer fell on some hard times a number of years ago and declared bankruptcy. Of course at the time Patrick was still on the street working as an APD officer.
Financial HistoryAs you can see, a poor financial history can be a reason for denial. What has us concerned is not the policy itself it's the application of the established policy.
An applicant must not have a history or chronic recurring financial problems indicating an unwillingness or inability to live within his/her financial means. An applicant who has filed for bankruptcy will not necessarily disqualify an applicant. An applicant cannot be in collections for $500.00 or more.
A couple of months ago Albuquerque Journal readers were treated to a puff piece about the recent rehire of retired Captain Rob DeBuck (Subscription). DeBuck retired two years ago and like Officer Patrick decided that life without a badge wasn't for him.
“I lost my sense of identity … of who I was,” the 50-year-old DeBuck said. “I felt empty inside.”A love of the job isn't the only thing the two men share. You see... Captain now Officer John Robert DeBuck declared bankruptcy back in 2003 (nmcourts.com). Yet despite his bankruptcy the former Captain was rehired without question.
DeBuck had retired in 2006 after 20 years on the Albuquerque Police Department. When he left, he was a captain and the fifth-highest ranking officer in the department.
In fact, the Captain seems to have had a number of other financial difficulties over the years - at least according to a nmcourts.com search. Understand that the other records could be another John Robert Debuck, but our Eyes tell us that the divorce and the notice of bankruptcy are indeed the former Captain.
We have two officers, both retire after putting in their 20, both decide to return, both have a bankruptcy at about the same time, yet only one is rehired. The only difference seems to be rank at retirement and a personal relationship with Chief Schultz.
Our Eyes tell us that Officer DeBuck is the chief's jogging partner and runs with him on a regular basis. We don't know about you, but it sure looks like the Chief is playing favorites with the rehire program, particularly when Officer DeBuck was given a coveted assignment as a School Resource Officer (read it here).
Look, we don't have a problem with a policy intended to protect the public from officers whose financial difficulties make them vulnerable to financial enticement. However, APD has the obligation to implement policy equitably. Arbitrarily making exceptions for friends leaves the department morally and ethically... bankrupt.