Below is an open letter to the Eye. It is not just us at the Eye that can see through Schultz and his band of thugs...
Last straw…from the experiences of a retired APD civilian employee
I was out of town when Officer Al Walck died and was shocked to learn of the circumstances surrounding his forced retirement and death. It is my understanding that APD's Chief and/or his minions were pursuing law enforcement de-certification of Officer Walck, a retired, 38 year APD veteran, which is believed to have led to his massive heart attack and death. This course of action taken by APD management has since been dismissed as unwarranted by the NMDPS Law Enforcement Board. Will there be any disciplinary action taken against those who submitted the unwarranted, de-certification request against Officer Walck? How come the APD brass are able to continue immoral and unethical behavior toward APD officers and civilians with impunity, time and time again? Why are they allowed to continue to use APD's Internal Affair's Unit to intimidate and harass not only APD officers, but also APD civilians who dare to question their actions? And finally, how much longer will Mayor Berry continue to support this police chief's administration of the Albuquerque Police Department which has cost the citizens of Albuquerque millions of dollars in law suits and many APD employees their health?
I recently retired from APD after 26 years as a civilian in the Crime Lab/DNA Unit and wasn't sure I would make it out alive due to the stress from an incredibly hostile work environment. Trying to address serious issues of concern in the APD Crime Lab/DNA Unit, the other DNA analysts and myself brought these issues to the attention of our immediate supervisors, and then proceeded up the chain of command to Chief Schultz when our pleas for help were ignored. Instead of any positive solutions, our attempts for assistance were met with an increasingly hostile work environment. I spoke with Officer Walck last summer after he had another run-in with APD brass over the circumstances involving Mrs. (Darren) White's car accident. The paper reported that Officer Walck had been ordered to change his accident report by his deputy chief and he refused, which resulted in an Internal Affairs (IA) investigation. Similarly to Officer Walck, I had been ordered by my deputy chief to do something illegal and was targeted for an IA investigation when I wouldn't comply. Unlike Officer Walck, I did not have an attorney, so my charges were not dropped immediately. Instead, the proposed 40 hour suspension punishment (after 25 years service with no discipline issues) was used to try to force me into retirement by my deputy chief, prior to resolution of my medical issues. When I later requested a witness after being called to the Crime Lab Director's office (a valid request according to city HR), I was immediately reassigned to the Records division through IA. This drastic action was based on a trumped up charge of insubordination, which involved another IA complaint (never investigated) and I was barred from the Crime Lab property and Crime Lab personnel. This went on for 4 weeks until I submitted my letter of resignation, at which time, during a so-called "mediation" with only my deputy chief present, I was re-assigned to the Crime Lab to finish up my work. All IA charges and proposed punishments were to be dropped, as long as I did not "misbehave" again before I retired. These actions were not only a huge waste of taxpayer's money and resources, but highly unethical and, in my opinion, an incredible mis-use of police powers. As far as I know, the same individual, Deputy Chief Feist (acting as Chief Schultz' agent), who issued what I believed to be illegal orders, was also the one who targeted me for the Internal Affairs (IA) investigations, reviewed the results from the IA investigations, determined the proposed punishment that was used in what appeared to be a thinly veiled blackmail attempt to force me to retire, banished me from the Crime Lab on an unsubstantiated IA charge until I submitted my letter of resignation and then acted as "mediator" to set the terms of my return to the Crime Lab to finish up my work and the dismissal of all charges. How is this not a huge conflict of interest? The investigation of issues involving police employees should be completely separated from the control of the police chief and his staff to avoid any temptation to manipulate the system for their gain. Civilian employees should not be supervised by sworn police officers or investigated by Internal Affairs, especially when the city already has disciplinary procedures in place. As stated by Lord Acton, "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely".
In the meantime, public safety remains compromised. Upper APD management continues to ignore the issues of serious concern raised by the analysts of the APD Crime Lab DNA Unit to include inadequate staffing and the enormous backlog of DNA cases. Detectives have been frustrated when their cases can't be worked since the priority cases being worked have been those going to court. The public has been told in the past that the Crime Lab DNA Unit does not have a backlog of sexual assault cases to be worked- I almost fell off my chair when I heard this stated at a conference. While Mayor Berry has been hard at work addressing the Property Crime issue in Albuquerque, the public would be safer and better served if he prioritized and provided the resources required for the DNA analysis of unworked violent crime cases (Homicide, Criminal Sexual Penetration and Aggravated Battery cases), as well as Property Crime cases.
The posts I have read on the Eye primarily have to do with sworn officers, with little or no reference to the civilians who work alongside these officers as support staff to accomplish the law enforcement mission. As mentioned in postings prior to mine, there are many examples of harassment and a hostile work environment for officers who get on the wrong side of the current APD brass. There are many more unreported examples of injustice and harassment for APD civilians who find their numbers dwindling while their duties are expanded in order to try to accomplish the increasing work demands with less personnel. Many times there is little consideration or respect for a civilian's point of view- we have been referred to as "snivilians" or categorized as "the sworn at" vs. "the sworn", although, I do want to acknowledge, with appreciation, the recognition and thanks our DNA Unit received in the past from many individual officers or units like Cold Case and Sex Crimes.
I have written this in honor of Officer Walck and his numerous efforts to shine the light on unethical behavior demonstrated by some of APD's brass. As I have experienced, the chief's influence and power must be very extensive because NO ONE I contacted over the years concerning the DNA unit's issues would take a stand to problem solve unethical actions or orders our unit experienced…to include the APD Internal Affairs Unit, Mayor's Berry's office, the Independent Review Office, City of Albuquerque Human Resources Office and the city Inspector General's Office.
Enough is enough: Mayor Berry, too many people have been negatively affected by this chief and his minions during his tenure as Chief and I fear for the safety of our current officers as they deal with a disillusioned public and the fallout from failed policies. Please take a stand for positive change at APD that would encompass honor and respect for all people, regardless of whether they are police officers, civilians or the public that is served by Albuquerque's police department.
Retired APD Forensic Scientist
Quote of the Day
Does this sound familiar? 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