Less than a year ago, our friends at KOAT-7 broadcasted a story on the "APD Hiring Crisis" (LINK HERE). In that story, which primarily consisted of interviews not with APD recruiters, trainers, or APD Chief Ray Schultz or any deputy chief, but with Albuquerque Journal reporter Jeff Proctor, much was made of what kind of officers were being hired by APD and NOT about the fact that there are fewer officers than ever.
As current and retired officers continue to advise us, sworn personnel are leaving at a rate 10x higher than new officers are being hired. THAT is a crisis. New Mexico in general and Albuquerque in particular has floundered with any economic growth since RJ Berry and Susana Martinez taking office DESPITE surrounding states and comparable cities all moving forward. Even El Paso, has had positive growth. Yet here the economy remains stagnant and people are fatigued with the lies of Mayor Berry and Chief Schultz.
In the past few years, when Chief Schultz was confronted personnel shortage concerns the headlines looked like this:
"APD Requests $1Million for Recruiting" AJ 4/19/07
"APD Adjusts Hiring Goal" AJ 12/27/07
"APD Has Grown, but the Number of Officers Assigned to Service Calls Decreased" AJ 5/6/07
"APD Ranks Down from '07" AJ 4/21/08
And in response Chief Schultz modified patrol officer schedules to 5-eight hour shifts from 4-ten hour shifts and opened up the Northwest Area Command. Yet despite all this, and as the Eye reported at the beginning of the year, the number of officers assigned to patrol are at levels not seen since the mid-1990s. Officer now assigned to the field advise us that at most there are 330 officers assigned to the field which is spread out over the sixty squads throughout the six area commands. This means each squad on average has 5.5 officers in it leaving at MOST 16 officers assigned to take calls. That's 16 officers in each area command per shift. Sixteen.
But now, in true Schultzian fashion, Ray Schultz has said the 200 officers who have left simply don't matter. Really? Are officers mere widgets that can be replaced with new personnel upon retirement? Is that why APD's academy is almost six months long? Is that why recruit officers are on OJT for 3 months? Is that why recruit officers are on probationary status for a year? Studies and veteran officers both agree that it takes at least five years for an officer to mature. There used to be a time in APD where one could not even look at a unit such as SWAT without having ten years on. Now the minimum requirement is; non-probationary.
Law enforcement is one of the few professions where there is a never ending learning curve. Senior officers possess an incredible amounts of knowledge, skills, and abilities and other characteristics that are not simply replaced with new widget officers. An officer eligible to retire has over 18 years of experience and with the loss of 200 officers....over 37,440 hours per officer of knowledge, skills, and experience disappear. Poof! Gone! Cumulatively, if all 200 officers retire, it is a grand total of 7,488,000 hours lost. And while officers seem to remain on the job until death in virtually every other major city police department in the Country regardless of retirement benefits, here they are leaving as soon as they can. And our Eyes in PERA have told us, any suggestion that a financial door is closing compelling officers to retire is inaccurate and untrue as no such changes are scheduled to take effect until 2016. In other words, they are leaving because of Schultz and Berry NOT because of PERA.
Any competent manager knows that your experienced personnel are your most economical. They know how to do things the right way the first time and cause less errors. Chief Schultz seems to think fewer officers with all the department's "high technology" will supplant the retiring officers. Really? Since most of that technology is failing to work OR not implemented how so? And will that technology withstand scrutiny in the courts? And will those officers be available for court? Or has APD simply become an agency focused on making arrests instead of building solid cases? Our Eyes tell us not one, or two, but up to five lieutenants have had enough and are challenging Chief Schultz's policy with a group lawsuit. But for the time being, experience continues to leak out the door. And while in years past Chief Schultz's response was to increase the size of the department, here he has failed to take action. (Remember "Speed of Trust" Chief? Being inconsistent is not an attribute in case you forgot.)
We're sure that questions such as these will NOT be asked of Chief Schultz. Given that on the one hand he conveniently side-steps significant and complex cases such as the West-Mesa murders, organized high profile prostitution criminal rings and related murders, Mexican cartel related homicides, internet piracy rings, and public corruption in favor of violating his own officer's civil rights or grandstanding on his moving walker while failing to prosecute his own cases we can expect more of the same: LIES and deflection.
There's one thing we know is true however...the buck does not stop with Chief Schultz, it is deflected or LIED about.
The Piercing Truth
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