APD terminates Academy Commander for retaliation against whistleblowers | KOB 4

APD terminates Academy Commander for retaliation against whistleblowers

Christina Rodriguez
Updated: October 30, 2020 08:19 PM
Created: October 30, 2020 01:51 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Albuquerque Police Department has fired Academy Commander Angela Byrd after finding that she retaliated against Academy staff and threatened to retaliate against cadets who reported harassment and discrimination. 

Interim APD Chief Medina said Commander Byrd's actions showed she lacked the integrity to move the department forward. Not only that, Medina said that former APD Chief Michael Geier reorganized the department to require Byrd to report directly to him, rather than a deputy chief. Geier also reportedly transferred officers out of the Academy. 

“The former chief made things worse by removing accountability over the Academy, and attempting to micromanage a personnel investigation,” Medina said. “Geier’s decision to transfer staff who tried to do the right thing goes against the culture change we are trying to promote at APD. We’re cleaning up this mess by changing the leadership at the critical place where cadets learn to be good officers.”

According to APD, both Byrd and Geier attempted to cover up reported misconduct. 

Claims of harassment and discrimination within the department were reported to supervisors beginning in late April of this year. An anonymous email was sent to APD Human Resources alleging that management was tolerating this discrimination. 

Byrd spoke to the Academy cadets after learning about the anonymous email — threatening to prevent them from graduating if the person who sent the anonymous email to HR was not identified. 

The city's legal department began an independent investigation into the allegations of discrimination. The investigation substantiated several complaints against Byrd, including that she retaliated against an instructor and a sergeant as well. 

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