First, I want to be real clear in saying that there’s nothing we can do to bring Omaree back. His murder was senseless and tragic and it breaks my heart.
His death was a horrific tragedy which doesn’t just give us a black eye here in Albuquerque, it gives the entire state of New Mexico one.
When I look back at my 30 years as a police officer and think about what I have heard APD’s chief Allen Banks, CAO Rob Perry, and the mayor say over the last week regarding the calls to Omaree’s house I really don’t know what to say. We have in place police department rules and procedures that have served the citizens of Albuquerque perfectly fine up until Berry took over. Then everything went to hell because those rules and procedures are treated as optional and discretionary.
It seems that whether or not rules and SOPs have to be followed depends on who has to follow them and not what needs to be done.
This is unacceptable.
Banks and Perry this week said the officers at the June 2013 call did not follow SOPs and better have “damn good reasons for it.” Well, Mr. Perry and Chief Banks, neither of you followed SOPs when you were at one of the highest profile crime scenes in the city’s history. I haven’t heard a “damn good reason” for why Chief Banks didn’t write a mandatory police report at Mary Han’s death scene. Of course we know Mr. Perry wrote a report, but FOUR MONTHS later! Why the delay Rob? Was THAT only because people started asking questions about her rings? Are you going to let those two cops write reports now after the fact like you were apparently able to? Is there going to be an investigation as to why these two didn't write reports?
This is what I mean, they say, “Oh you must do this because the rules say you have to” but then they turn around and don’t do it themselves.
Police need to be led not just by words but by action. If they see that it’s ok for you not to do it, then why should they do it? And believe me, there is no greater group of people who notice the difference between what one says and what one does.
Folks we don’t need a task force. We need to follow the rules we have in place. We have an entire Crimes Against Childre Unit to address crimes like this. What we need to do is make sure our leaders are held to the same if not higher standards than the front-line guys and gals. DOJ is here because people have been allowed to break rules and have not been held accountable. Sometimes those rule breakers have been frontline cops. But a lot of the time they have been department leaders. And the ones that have looked away and endorsed the rule breaking have ALWAYS been department leaders. Isn’t that right Ray?!
You can’t find a bigger task force than the one here from Washington named D-O-J. And it starts at the top, NOT at the bottom.
APD Senior Sergeant (Retired)