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
Apr 23, 2012
Schultz' Failures Gains More Negative Attention in the L.A. Times
"We cant just say it's going to be solved in the courts. There's got to be accountability in the force." (L.A. Times, September 8, 2009)
The above quote was in reference to failures in APD that reached national attention and were drawn from an article in the L.A. Times. This article was in reference to the activities by APD reserve officer and car fleet tech David Young back in 2009. As a reserve officer, Young's police powers were questioned and of course Chief Ray Schultz claimed he was unaware of his activities arresting prostitutes, unaware of what reserve officers were doing in general, what they could do as they were not certified peace officers, and unaware of Young's continued payment for questionable overtime claims on his time sheet. Like so many other instances, Chief Schultz abandoned his department in his claim of ignorance and, our Eyes tell, restructured the reserve officer program so that employees like Young would not be in similar positions. Chief Schultz's subsequent actions confirmed the allegations of Young's misconduct and of course a large settlement was tendered with many of the plaintiffs. Our Eyes tell us that there are federal civil rights actions still in litigation and that this story is far from over.
Last week, again Chief Schultz's ineffective leadership brought national attention to APD. This time the L.A. Times reported on the uproar regarding APD's rate of officer involved shootings (L.A. Times April 14, 2012). This immediately struck many as curious as the LAPD does not exactly hold a reputation as a police department known for its restraint of force. For APD to get on the grid of the L.A. Times, something extraordinary must be going on. In consideration of this claim, the Eye tapped the knowledge of some analysts that, upon a condition of anonymity, offered the following observations of fact:
The regional area of Albuquerque is called the Albuquerque Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and includes the populations of Albuquerque, Corrales, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, Rio Ranchos, and unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County.
The Albuquerque MSA has a population of, at last census, about 887,077.
APD, BCSO, and Rio Rancho Police Departments are the local law enforcement agencies tasked with primary jurisdiction over this MSA.
This is where things get very interesting and where it is most suggestive Chief Schultz has made false representations about his department and his integrity before the citizens of this MSA...
Rio Rancho has 128 officers and since Jan'09 has had 1 officer involved shooting.
BCSO has about 260 officers and since Jan'09 has had 4 officer involved shootings.
APD has about 1000 officers and since Jan'09 has had 28 officer involved shootings.
Given these numbers it is clear there is something unique about APD. In the most recent L.A. Times article Chief Schultz states that there is rise in the number of officer involved shooting nationally and that this is in part because "growing number of people with untreated mental health problems." These claims by Chief Schultz are distinctly without merit. According to the DOJ, officer involved shootings are not on a national rise, and it's unclear how one could even quantify, never mind define, a growing number of people with untreated mental health problems. These assertions by Chief Schultz lack merit. They are unfounded and are meant to distract from what clearly is an issue. At best they are ill-informed, at worst they are deceptive.
RRPD and BCSO patrol the same MSA and as such their levels of force should be reasonably consistent. But APD's rate is much higher. They are not just proportionally higher, but are exponentially higher than the counterpart agencies. Many will claim that APD has jurisdiction over the most dangerous areas of the MSA. But to agree with this position is in direct conflict with Chief Schultz’s own presentation last year regarding the location of all the shootings in that they are all random. This is very troubling because it is evidence of a discernible difference in practices.
Part of a chief's duties is to safeguard the interests of the citizens he serves as well as his officers. Chief Schultz has done neither. His mismanagement of APD has led poor results and heavy litigation. Rio Rancho police for instance have no pending litigation. Zero. Meanwhile APD officers bear the brunt of the media's scrutiny and the taxpayers routinely pay out multi-million dollar settlements. This week's shooting is no exception where a violent recidivistic offender's standing is given equal standing to the officer faced with violence as reported in the Albuquerque Journal. Of course the Journal would hold Chief Schultz as a victim of his own officers and has even endorsed him as the "right man for the job." If the current state of APD’s affairs is evidence of what the “right man for the job” has done then we fear to ask what the wrong person would do to APD.
A year ago, two officers were placed on leave when questions surfaced regarding how they apprehended a violent fleeing wanted felon identified as Nicolas Blume. While chasing and tackling Blume, the officers used physical force to subdue him. Despite the fact that Blume had been armed with a handgun, was a suspect in two murders, had numerous felony warrants for his arrest, and had been widely publicized throughout APD for his dangerousness, the officers did not resort to lethal force as he threatened and resisted their efforts to cuff him. Blume was finally subdued and booked into jail with over a dozen felony charges. Months later a video, that the arresting officers themselves recovered the night of the arrest and sought to tag as evidence of Blume’s resistance, was released by Schultz. Despite Chief Schultz's best effort to stir up controversy regarding APD’s endorsed and taught kicks (footstrikes as they are also called) that the officers used to subdue Blume, the public expressed disinterest. Frustrated with the public’s lack of outrage, he then fired the officers from APD and in doing so breaching their due process rights. The Albuquerque Journal fulfilled its role by promoting Chief Schultz’s actions but still the expected controversy never materialized. In fact citizen’s called into radio programs describing the officers as heroes. After all, here was a neo-nazi wanted for numerous violent felonies getting kicked but sustaining no injuries. There was no shooting, no death, no subsequent explaining by the department, just honest hard working police work. Many question whether or not the officers, whose actions were initially praised by their chain of command up through DCOP Beth Paiz, were fired by Chief Schultz as a gesture to stay off a DOJ independent investigation into the department. Given that there was never any specific reason stated by Chief Schultz as to why he fired the officers it seems reasonable to infer that something else was going on. Despite the fact that there are officers whose actions have resulted in on the record statements by district and federal court judges stating that the department's credibility and culture is not consistent with true law enforcement practices, these two officers were fired when they didn't harm a fleeing felon. They apprehended rather than terminated the suspect.
The L.A. Times article of last week once again identifies a community that has deep concern with the largest police department of the state tasked to serve them. Nothing in the article identifies disgust with the individual officers who go on duty to honor their oath of service. Nor should they. But the community does take issue with the department that employees these officers. The article closes with an ominous quote by Chief Schultz, "...a lot of people are watching to see how successful we are." Hidden in typical Schultzian rhetoric is a concession of APD's state of affairs: failure.
In 2009 when the L.A. Times profiled the department's endorsement of an uncertified officers arrest authority Chief Schultz claimed he didn't know about the activities of the officer. This time, the L.A. Times profiled the chief's endorsement of a department in troubling circumstances. Chief Schultz admits failure and that the department is working to improve the problem. Such efforts will be credible when Chief Schultz is no longer APD's Chief of Police as there has to be accountability in the force.