Updated: September 10, 2020 10:18 PM
Created: September 10, 2020 08:34 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Two people with two very different backgrounds have varying opinions about the retirement of Albuquerque Police Chief Mike Geier.
Arthur Bell is a community activist who has helped lead the Black Lives Matter movement in Albuquerque.
Paul Gessing is a part of the Rio Grande Foundation, a conservative economic policy think tank.
Gessing says whether it has to do with businesses, homeless issues or protests, public property enforcement needs to be addressed by the police department.
"We gotta do a better job of protecting businesses' property owners, and of course, people in our city. Those are challenges right there," Guessing said. "Someone who's a leader, who can win the officers over, make them feel like they are appreciated in a time where so many forces are telling these officers that they are bad people, and we should just get rid of police officers. I don't think that's realistic. It's not going to happen."
Bell is in favor of reallocating funds that APD gets.
"We're not saying take away all funding from APD, we're saying take away the funding that they don't need, that's unnecessary and reallocate those funds for some school programs, homeless programs, some programs that actually help facilitate the problems that we're acting like we are trying to fix," Bell said.
Bell wants to see a chief who directs officers to use less than lethal means of force.
"A cease fire for the officers to keep their guns in their holsters and to only use lethal force when absolutely necessary," he said.
Bell believes in community policing.
"Just have interactions with our neighborhoods to when the only time we see the police are when they are called out to come and arrest somebody, so we want to have some type of dialogue," he said.
Gessing wants to see all law enforcement entities work together. He would also like there to be separation between City Hall and the police department.
"Maybe this is an opportunity for the mayor to kind of step back and let the professionals engage in the policing, not be quite as political in his approach to policing issues," Gessing said.
Both want to avoid a rush job in the hiring process. To that, the city has said it will be a long-term search.
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