State law enforcement agencies forward the cases of officers who have been found guilty of a crime or found responsible in a civil proceeding to the NMLEA board for review. The board can then suspend an officer's certification or revoke it. When the state suspends or revokes an officer's state certification, they can no longer work in law enforcement at any police or sheriff's department in the State of New Mexico for as long as they remain uncertified.
The Albuquerque Police Department regularly forwards the cases of officers who have been found responsible for civil rights and other violations to the NMLEA board for review. However, there is one notable exception - Raymond D. Schultz.
Almost a month ago (November 25th), a jury found state certified officer Ray Schultz responsible for violating former Officer Sam Costales' Constitutional right to free speech (ABQ Journal - Subscription). Despite costing the City of Albuquerque almost $1 MILLION, APD has not sent the case to the NMLEA board.
Our Eyes tell us that APD officers who have been found responsible for violating someone's civil rights have not only been forwarded to the NMLEA board for action but have had their certifications pulled for costing the city far less than the approximately $862,000 awarded to Costales.
It's not really all that surprising that the chief's case wouldn't be forwarded to the state for review - after all, the chief's the one making the decision. But the Eyes have it that folks up in Santa Fe are somewhat surprised that no one else has filed a complaint. At the very least one might think that Sam Costales and/or his attorney would make an issue of the finding.
[Sidebar]Our understanding is that anyone can make a complaint that an officer was found to have violated someone's civil/Constitutional rights. The complaint initiates an investigation that may or may not result in action by the board.
Interestingly, Chief Schultz sits on the NMLEA board. We would assume that the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy would have in place policies to prevent the accused from participating in making decisions in their own cases. But it does bring to mind the question of whether or not Schultz participated in determining punishment for officers that APD had forwarded for review.
Should the board determine - as the jury did - that Schultz violated someone's civil rights, the board could recommend revocation of his certification. Revocation would make Schultz ineligible to work in any law enforcement capacity.
It's pretty obvious why the chief wouldn't forward his own case to Santa Fe despite having done so with other officers in very similar if not identical situations. A jury of his peers has already found him responsible for violating Sam Costales' 1st Amendment rights costing us over $800,000. A similar finding by the NMLEA board could cost him his job and his Chief's pension.
So, the chief will remain undisciplined and the rank and file will see yet another example of disciplinary inequity.