Fmr. APD commander sues City of Albuquerque | KOB 4
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Fmr. APD commander sues City of Albuquerque

Chris Ramirez
September 06, 2018 06:29 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A former commander at the Albuquerque Police Department is suing the city, claiming he was demoted and forced into retirement by Mayor Tim Keller's administration.

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As a commander overseeing the Special Investigations Division at APD, John Sullivan says he was praised for the work he did to satisfy mandated Department of Justice reforms.

“They spoke very highly of the work being done at SID,” Sullivan said.

He says he was transferred him to lead the police academy because of his success.

“I was told that I was being moved from SID to do exactly what I did at SID for the academy,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan’s immediate supervisor Deputy Chief Harold Medina says Sullivan wasn't happy about the transfer.

“He was very reluctant to go to the academy. He was very displeased with going to the academy.  There was a case about insubordination that the chief spoke to him about,” Medina said.

Sullivan contends his higher-ups weren't happy either. According to a lawsuit filed Tuesday against the city, Sullivan's requests for more training for officers, to satisfy DOJ mandates, went ignored by his chain of command.

And when the DOJ monitor raised concerns that all cadets were passing tests with a 95 percent grade or better, Sullivan revealed the academy's problems under oath in hearing.

‘When we would go do a training come test time, the tests were handed out, there was no over-watch during the test process, so the officers would all sit next to each other, there was no assurance that they wouldn't be looking at each other’s or communicating during the tests,” Sullivan said. “There was often a review prior to the test where they would review the test so that everyone would have the answers.”

Sullivan's attorney, Tim White, believes Sullivan was forced out for blowing the whistle on the police academy's secrets.

“He's being told keep this in-house and when he didn't, because he had an obligation to the court, before Judge Brock to tell about what he was doing at the academy-- he signed his ticket there,” White said.

Shortly after testifying under oath, Mayor Keller's chief administrative officer, Sarita Nair, sent him a letter that stated he was being demoted.

Instead, Sullivan decided to retire to keep from losing retirement money.

Deputy Chief Medina says Sullivan got demoted because he was not making progress at the academy.

“This particular commander was demoted down to lieutenant because of the fact he failed to envision and move the department forward.  The IMR (Independent Monitor’s Report) reports were very clear that the academy was struggling and continued to struggle since the changes had been made at the academy,” Medina said.

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Chris Ramirez

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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