APD’s new Field Services Bureau bid takes effect this Saturday, March 24, 2012. Officers throughout the city will start new patrol assignments with many working for new supervisors, in new beats, new shifts, and in new area commands. For many officers this is an exciting time of year because it’s a chance to start fresh; a new beginning. Sadly, this bid is not new in many ways and details of it reflect a continued failure of the APD’s command to manage the department’s most valuable asset: Field Officers.
When Raymond Schultz became APD’s Chief of Police in 2005, 362 officers participated in the FSB bid. In keeping consistent with the Covey analysis of APD, we now consider the financial efficiency of APD. The chart below present the number of officers who participated in each year’s bid and that year’s operating budget for the department.
YEAR FSB Officers* Operating Budget** Per Officer Ratio
2005 362 $122,120,000 $337,348
2006 408 $127,710,000 $313,015
2007 362 $130,503,000 $360,505
2008 378 $143,732,000 $380,243
2009 383 $145,086,000 $378,814
2010 435 $148,904,000 $342,308
2011 404 $152,587,000 $377,690
2012 388 $158,000,000 $407,216
What’s striking is that not only is APD continually challenged to keep over 400 officers assigned to the field but the cost of the department relative to the primary service it offers—patrol officers—continues to soar. Despite dishonoring a contract for an increase in wages and burdening officers with increased healthcare costs, the operating budget of APD continues to record levels. Even under a supposedly thrifty Republican mayor, the expense per officer is at its highest.
Now we know Aubrey Thompson and Ray Schultz will argue that there are more officers in the field because we’re not counting FSB sergeants or other officers available to take calls. However, we challenge them to provide the data that there are in fact more FSB officers whose primary duty is to provide service to Albuquerque citizens. And while they’re at it, provide the data which reflects all the officers resigning or retiring as well. We know you have this data because your HR people publish a “separation” list each month.
These numbers indicate that APD is severely bloated on the inside—the soaring costs are not going to pay field cops. The question is, where is the balance of the funds going? The citizens and the Eye challenge the city councilors and/or the mayor to MANDATE that APD ALWAYS field at least 400 FSB officers and that if there’s a shortage then personnel are pulled from internal units. Sadly we anticipate that 2012 will be a challenging year for FSB officers as not only are you understaffed, but as the year so far reflects, you will be very busy. Much as the Albuquerque Journal ran a series of articles in 2007 criticizing APD for its reduced ranks of FSB officers, failure to fix this staffing level is going to increase calls for service times and impair the ability of officers to handle calls thoroughly. The excuse to move officers from four 10-hour to five 8-hour shifts was to reduce call wait times. Well, we are back where we started. Be a leader Chief Schultz….own the problem you created and fix it.
*From APD Operations Review bid lists
**From City of Albuquerque Comprehensive Financial Reports (CAFR).
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