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Fraternal Order of Police: APD plagued by 'poor leadership'

Caleb James
October 04, 2017 10:16 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The nation's largest organization of police officers is slamming the Albuquerque Police Department over its "poor leadership." 

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In a resolution obtained exclusively by KOB, the Fraternal Order of Police doesn't pull any punches. During the organization's national conference, leaders approved a strongly worded resolution critical of APD leadership and in support of the officers working the streets under strained conditions.

"The Albuquerque Police Department continues to suffer from poor leadership," the resolution, in part, states.  

The resolution was distributed to FOP members nationally after its approval at the organization's Nashville, Tennessee conference in August. Click here to read the resolution.

"I go back to my days in the military," said Albuquerque FOP President Bob Martinez. "You've got to believe in your leaders. You've got to respect your leaders. That's a two-way street."

At the organization's Albuquerque headquarters, Martinez said the organization's voting leadership approved the resolution in support of APD officers who put their lives on the line "despite a lack of support from a majority of the elected officials and appointed leadership." 

"Just because somebody has worked his entire life in the field, doesn't mean he's the best person to lead the organization," Martinez said. 

The resolution itself doesn't mention APD Chief Gorden Eden by name, and neither does Martinez. But he insists leadership at the department is ineffective, and an overhaul is the best option. 

KOB reached out to the Albuquerque Police Officers Association, and their leaders agree with the resolution. They say they're thankful for it, but union President Shaun Willoughby said the idea of leadership and what that means is complex. 

"Gorden Eden is a very, very good man. Gorden Eden is honest and trustworthy and he cares," Willoughby said. "No one can take that away from him."

"Poor leadership," Willoughby said, goes well beyond the chief's office to who influences him. 

"It's also obvious to me that Gorden is not in control of this police department," he said.

Willoughby agrees it's time to clean house but said Eden has been a victim of micromanagement. 

"From jump street, he wasn't allowed to do his job," Willoughby said. "I think we have suffered because of that." 

At the FOP, Martinez agrees. 

"It's not just in terms of the upper echelon, but it's also certain parts of the community," he said. 

But at the end of the day, Willoughby said words matter. Acknowledging the department's crisis on a national level is comforting and encouraging, he said. 

"It's just speaking the truth from another angle," he said. "Now it's a national angle." 

In response to KOB's questions about the FOP resolution, Mayor Richard Berry's office sent a list of initiatives.

"The Albuquerque Police Department has instituted robust recruitment and retention programs over the past several years producing largest cadet classes the department has seen in the last decade, producing highly qualified and well-trained officers," city spokeswoman Rhiannon Samuel said in the prepared statement.

Samuel said the department will leave the incoming mayor with 925 officers. Willoughby said four officers have quit the department within the last week. 

"As the city was recovering from the Great Recession, this administration has increased police officer pay by over 20 percent, making APD the highest starting salary for police in the state of New Mexico, resulting in a total compensation package of $88,000 for starting officers," Samuel said in the e-mailed statement. 

Credits

Caleb James

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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