The Eye receives many types of information and letters. Below is an open editorial letter from a retired APD commander who we understand is very credible and honest. Commander Tate (Ret.) is part of a dying breed of officer that is becoming none existent within APD’s rank and file. The Eye would like to thank Tate in advance for his candidness and honesty. It should be noted that this letter was originally sent to the Journal; everyone knows the Journal would never print a hard hitting letter like this one.
Being retired from the Albuquerque Police Department, I was immediately drawn to the headline “In the Hot Seat” in Sunday’s paper. I read the article by Jeff Proctor outlining APD Chief Ray Schultz and his claim that he is the man to fix problems at APD. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I became upset with how Chief Schultz diagnosed the problems at APD and how he demonstrated a lack of leadership and accountability. I am also embarrassed for how APD’s reputation has diminished over the last several years and I believe the officers of APD and the Albuquerque community deserves better.
I retired in 2006 at the rank of lieutenant and served as the Director of Training for the Albuquerque Police Academy from 2003 to 2006. Prior to that I was in charge of the Internal Affairs Unit from 2001 to 2003 and worked closely with Chief Schultz in both assignments. I spent time with him and got to know him fairly well. I always liked his sense of humor….he is a very funny person when you get to know him. I was excited when he came back to be Chief and thought he would do well in the position. However, in the months following his return, I realized that he wasn’t the same person I knew before he left to Scottsdale, AZ.
Chief Schultz states in the article that he cares about APD and is the man to fix problems. The only problems he identifies are related to training and psychological screening? Give me a break! He must be living under a rock or has his head buried deep in the sand. I remain in contact with many current APD officers and recent retirees of all ranks. When discussing the state of APD, the common theme I hear from all of them is that the Chief does not care about the officers, APD leadership does not practice what it preaches, discipline and overall treatment of officers is not consistent, and morale is at an all-time low. This has become Chief Schultz’ “brand” and he now owns that.
For the past two years I have been working in the private sector focusing solely in the area of leadership; facilitating leadership courses to corporate leaders throughout the country. I can’t understand how Chief Schultz can say that there is no crisis in APD. There is a huge crisis in APD in the area of leadership…..or should I say lack of leadership. The article spends a great deal of time describing the training Chief Schultz has been to and groups and organizations he belongs to; even describing his uniform and its appearance. However, none of these things make a leader. They are all positional and superficial window dressing. A real leader is someone that can share an inspiring vision, communicates effectively, influences, motivates and develops people. I can see no evidence that Chief Schultz has demonstrated any of these traits.
The fact is he has lost all credibility from the officers. The police union president, Joey Sigala, claims that Chief Schultz is smart. The irony here is that Chief Schultz is not smart enough to know how he when he has lost all effectiveness and has no chance to correct anything without the “buy in” of the men and women wearing the badge. What can he possibly fix without the support of the department? He has lost all credibility and needs to step down for the best interest of the department. His staying around shows how disconnected he is and how it is all about him and his position of police chief. If he had the best interest of APD in mind and cared about the department as he claims, he would resign. That act alone might be the best example of leadership he has ever shown.
Some may say that Chief Schultz hasn’t been allowed to be chief. That is nothing but a cop out. It is ridiculous to blame anyone (Darren White, Mayor Berry or Mayor Chavez) for Chief Schultz not being able to do his job. He makes his own decision to follow what is right or wrong. For example, Chief Schultz had the chance to stand up to Mayor Chavez when he returned in 2005. He had his pension secured and did not need to be a “yes” man. He had the security to stand up for what was right and fight for what was wrong. However, for whatever reason, he decided to succumb to the politics of the position and make decisions that were in the best political interest of the time and not necessarily in the best interest for APD and the community. Everyone knows that the position of chief is political as it’s an appointment by the mayor. However, everyone is accountable for decision they make…..and he is no different.
In 2005, The Mayor Chavez push to hit 1100 sworn police officers directly and indirectly influenced the quality of candidates hired. The talk of that time was all about numbers, numbers, and more numbers. It was never about quality. Ask anyone who succeeded me at the Police Academy, worked in training, recruiting, polygraph, or psychological testing during the last six years. I sat through numerous meetings over police applicant selections where it was evident that getting numbers into Police Academy seats was the main focus. One of the main reasons I chose to retire in 2006 was as a result of seeing what was happening to the selection process…..it became very frustrating to me.
The process to become an APD officer is challenging, time consuming, and set up to identify only the best candidates. If left alone, the process will work 98% of the time. The real problems begin when the chief or deputy chiefs meddle in the process and don’t follow the consistent guidelines for each candidate. Driven by a desire to look good to the mayor or a desire to follow different rules based on who an applicant may know all serve to taint the process. This also increases the likelihood that more than the expected 2% to 3% will “sneak through.”
I agree with Chief Schultz that there will always be 2 to3 % that manage to get through no matter how good the process is. However, I don’t agree with the words “sneak through” that he used. Many of these hires were a result of ignoring the warning signs that were present in the applicant’s background and interviews….and that’s not sneaking to me.
Several people were interviewed to determine if they felt Schultz should step down or not, but how many have knowledge of life within the department and what goes on day to day on the inside. Since those people would be afraid to speak due to a fear of punishment or retaliation, how about conducting an internal survey by an outside group? This might yield different results than this article depicts. It is unbelievable to me that Mayor Berry kept Schultz to begin with, and continues to support him to this day. Schultz claims he still has a few things left to do on his list of 50 things. I think that mayor Berry has at least one thing left on his list…..and that’s getting a new chief……APD deserves it.
Retired APD Lieutenant
The Eye concurs with this letter and must say BRAVO! to Commander Tate (Ret.)!
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