Membership to Vote Thursday Night on Re-vote Motion
Last week's Eye Poll took on the issue of the narrowly passed APD contract. We asked our readers whether they thought officers should have the opportunity to review the city's contract and vote again - essentially the motion that is on the floor over at the APOA.
Initially, the poll was tilting toward the "it's over with" crowd. However, after the first few hours the poll went solidly towards a re-vote and and stayed there until Sunday night when our Eye Poll ended. Of the 371 votes in our unscientific poll, 42% said it's over, 54% said that there was insufficient time to review the contract and wanted a re-vote, 2% didn't know, and 3% didn't care (read the results here).
Tomorrow night is the next meeting of the APOA (6:00 PM at the FOP). Sergeant Heh's motion for contract review and re-vote is on the floor and scheduled to be voted upon.
Our Eyes tell us that there have been some shenanigans in the past - things like not having enough board members at the meeting for a quorum. We don't know how the APOA bylaws read, but we'd think that it would be incumbent upon the APOA board members to be at this meeting. It's important to the membership and it very well could decide the future of the APOA.
In the last month we've watched as APD officers have vehemently split over the contract. We've watched as the chief - thinking the contract was a done deal - announced major change in APD force allocation from four ten hour days (4-10s) a week to five eight hour days (5-8s). More importantly, we watched as APD brass targeted a senior sergeant for speaking his mind in front of the council.
APD has a long tradition of respectability, honor, and integrity. Its officers have been and are heavily recruited on a national basis because of their training and their reputation.
However, the department's tradition cannot and will not overcome a politically charged work environment or one where officers are made to fear speaking out when something is wrong - be it a contract dispute or criminal infractions like the APD evidence room scandal. Regardless of whether or not the contract hurts senior officers (which we believe it does), the best way to keep officers is to create a work environment where officer know that they've got backup from their leadership.
Thursday's vote will determine the future of the department, the union, and in many ways the security of each and every person living in Albuquerque. If we are going to meet the challenges of a growing city we need to attract new officers and we need to keep senior officers whose experience is invaluable on our streets. You'll never be successful in filling a bucket with a large hole in the bottom no matter how much water you put in it - particularly when the water being poured into the bucked has been reduced to just a trickle.
If you're a member of the APOA you've got a lot to think about before tomorrow's meeting. We'd encourage you to reflect on what has been going on for the last month and what has happened to your department over the years. You are the only ones that have the power to make change - change that could benefit not only your fellow officers, but all of us who depend on the men and women of the Albuquerque Police Department to keep us safe.