City councilors respond to APD Chief on federal investigation

City councilors respond to APD Chief on federal investigation

The back and forth continues between Albuquerque police and city councilors as a federal investigation unfolds regarding APD officers.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque police and city councilors are continuing to trade comments over the handling of a federal investigation regarding APD officers.

City councilors have commented on how much the department should share with the public and the council. Councilor Dan Champine on Monday expressed disappointment with the lack of communication from both the mayor’s administration and APD.

Other city councilors agreed. Some, like Councilor Louie Sanchez, blamed the situation on those in charge, like Mayor Tim Keller and Chief Medina.

Council President Dan Lewis agreed, saying the investigation could be one of the biggest corruption cases APD has ever experienced.

The chief said the council’s comments were “out of line.”

“They are not privy to criminal, federal investigations. It’s very disappointing. We have two former law enforcement officers on the council. And they were talking about how they didn’t get the memo that this was occurring. I’m sorry. Nobody outside of the fifth floor and some key people at APD knew that this investigation was occurring,” the chief said.

With the chief firing back, we asked the councilors about what he had to say.

Lewis stated, “The council never asked for confidential information. The Chief has the choice to ignore the council and we retain the right to censure and dismiss him.”

Champine told us he agreed the council didn’t ask for sensitive information. He said he just wanted the mayor’s administration and APD to acknowledge the investigation after everything came out.

“One thing that was disturbing to me, was not only the lack of communication with the public to address it, but also the lack of communication with us. And again, and I said this Monday night, it’s not necessarily communicating the details of the investigation. We all know that that’s not appropriate or needed,” Champine said. “As a public elected official, you’re asked to present a united front and show that we are working together. Because not only is this a black eye for the department, it is for the city.”

APD and the mayor shared more about the investigation Tuesday. Councilor Champine told KOB 4 that’s what he was asking for. He said it was disturbing that the administration and police took five days to release it.

While Lewis mentioned dismissing the chief, councilors can’t actually fire him. Councilors can censure him, however, which is like an official sanction. They can also enter a vote of no confidence on the chief, which is essentially a statement about their official position.

KOB 4 on Thursday obtained a letter that Councilors Sanchez, Lewis and Champine signed and addressed to Chief Medina. Read the full letter here.