For approximately two years, the specter of the DOJ coming in and investigating APD has lurked in the minds of officers on patrol, citizens stopped by officers, and community members demanding change in city council meetings. But we at the Eye know that nobody more than Ray Schultz and RJ Berry have been thinking about what it means if the DOJ were to come in and investigate the department. It would mean Failure. And Mr. Schultz and Mr. Berry want us to believe they have done everything they could to keep this from happening.
From Darren White’s grandstanding of having the Police Executive Research Forum (of which Mr. Schultz was a board member) evaluate the department to the Matrix Consulting Group’s operational analysis to Mr. Schultz’s own personal ideas, the results of these efforts have been the addition of layers and layers of “things” thrust upon APD personnel. Thinking there was too much of paramilitary culture in APD, Mr. Schultz changed the department’s once lauded academy to one that holds academics over duty and deprioritizes discipline and order. Thinking all incidents involving officer and citizen contacts needed to be video recorded, Mr. Schultz deployed lapel cameras on officer but has concealed disfavorable video. When caught with misconduct by deputy chiefs illegally using their cellphones at crime scenes, he had the phones replaced in violation of court orders.
At today’s press conference Mr. Berry and Mr. Schultz revisited these lies and added more. They stated they themselves realized there was a spike in officer involved shootings and not the outcry of the community. They stated that they are engaged with the community for ideas despite ignoring the community groups that pack every city council meeting. They said APD is leading the way in the deployment of new technology, while Mr. Schultz stands there without his own lapel camera on and while Mr. Schultz failed to follow his own SOPs during his alleged NM State Fair arrest. They said they have adopted and followed all of DOJ’s recommendations over the last two years, yet here DOJ is. They stated that crime rates have fallen when in fact they have risen. Mr. Berry stated we “have had a community dialogue” yet at every point of controversy the mayor has evaded, denied, redirected, or just admitted ignorance to the issues presented to him.
When confronted with these lies, a reporter asked Mr. Berry if this action by the DOJ will be a “black eye on the City,” Mr. Berry evaded the question and did not answer it. The fact is, despite all of these superficial changes to APD by Mr. Schultz and Mr. Berry, they have remained in charge of APD. It is because of their failures that APD is in such a crisis that the DOJ must now come in to undue the mess they have created. While editor Ken Walz and his paper, the Albuquerque Journal, opined that Mr. Schultz is the “right man for the job” (Albuquerque Journal, 9/2/11) it seems they were wrong once again. And their blind endorsement of a man totally out of his depth in his ability to lead a major city department will be costly. DOJ’s actions will have significant economic effects as this is much more than a black eye upon the city but the state as well. Mr. Berry and Mr. Schultz’s failures have not only tarnished a once fine department but they have tarnished the city’s economic future.
Assistant Attorney General Perez stated that DOJ’s investigation will not be limited to incidents of force by APD officers but will be an investigation into the “totality of the circumstances.” Perez stated that in these investigations every door leads to rooms with other doors, and ominously added “sometimes there are trap or hidden doors….[w]e will peel the onion to its core, and leave no stone unturned. We will follow the facts wherever they lead us.”
Assistant Attorney General Perez was very clear in wanting information from the community regarding the investigation of APD. “We invite anyone with information to email us at community.albuquerque@usdoj.