Sunday's Albuquerque Journal featured an above the fold special report by reporter T.J. Wilham with the bold headline "Contempt of Cop" (subscription). The story, no doubt inspired by the recent clash between KOB TV photographer Rick Foley and APD Officer Daniel Guzman, focuses on City Ordinance 12-2-19 - Resisting, Obstructing, or Refusing to Obey an Officer.
Oddly enough, this post has very little to do with the content of the Journal's story which could be boiled down to police officers have the authority to give you a lawful order and you are compelled to do so. Sometimes officers misuse the authority, often the charges are coupled with other charges, many times there is a plea bargain or the charges are dismissed outright. There's really not much of a story there but it did have an almost immediate effect - at least on Officer Daniel Guzman.
Our Eyes tell us that Saturday night before Wilham's story ran - Officer Guzman was relieved of duty shortly after he arrived for his shift. Some of you may be thinking "good he got what he deserved" which may or may not be true. Our problem is that no one has made a determination as to whether or not Officer Guzman had given the KOB TV photographer a lawful order - not a judge, not the IRO, no one.
Nothing had changed with regard to Guzman's case or the story itself except that the Journal was getting ready to run a front page story Sunday morning. The move by the 5th floor to suspend Guzman smacks of advance notice by the Journal or its reporter T.J. Wilham, and a preemptive strike by Chief Schultz and company - which makes us wonder who's really running APD.
It strikes us that the APD brass is acting as rashly and precipitously as Officer Guzman appears to be on tape. Making the decision to suspend an officer based on a news story (which is how this looks to us) is reactive and irresponsible.
Perhaps the 5th floor should consider some leadership training as organizations tend to take on the attributes of their leaders for good or ill. If officers are getting into trouble, if officers are showing a lack of patience when dealing with the public, the blame rests squarely with their leaders. Those leaders reside on both the 5th and 11th floors.