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Keller Names APD Interim Chief, Command Staff

Keller says group is a turnaround team

APD will be restructured

Team will work to restore the public trust

Mayor-elect Tim Keller on Tuesday named former APD officer and former Rio Rancho Police Chief Michael Geier as the city's interim police chief.

In addition, Keller named two new deputy chiefs who, together with Geier, will be responsible for implementing Department of Justice reforms, restructuring the police department and turning the department around.

“We are going to turn it around, this is a turnaround team,” Keller said in announcing the appointments.

Keller said he has asked Deputy APD Chief Eric Garcia to stay on. In addition, he will hire a fourth deputy chief. Garcia will be tasked with implementing the DOJ reform effort, Keller said.

“As Mayor, I am bringing in new leadership starting on day one. Our new Chief of Police Michael Geier is committed to better crime fighting, accountability in APD, and to restoring trust and community policing. In the midst of the unacceptable crime epidemic in our city and the ongoing need for reform, I’m grateful to share that our safety will be in the hands of a chief with a rare combination of qualities. Geier has a deep knowledge of our city and APD, the strong and recent outside leadership perspective needed to shake things up, and the respect of both frontline officers and the community,” Keller said.

Keller also announced three interim Deputy Chiefs of Police. Deputy Chief of Police Harold Medina has served as Chief of Police for the Pueblo of Laguna for the past three years, following 20 years with APD. Deputy Chief of Police Rogelio Banez has more than 24 years of experience in law enforcement, including as Area Commander with APD. Keller has also announced that current Deputy Chief Eric Garcia is to remain at APD and work on issues related to police reform.

Keller continued, “All of these officers are committed to taking a proactive approach to working with the Department of Justice on reforms and rebuilding trust with the community. Make no mistake, while these folks may be interim for now, their mission is to evaluate, restructure, and turn around the Department to better fight crime in the Duke City.”

Keller added, “There are going to be many changes ahead at APD. Chief Geier, his team, and I will be evaluating all command staff in the following weeks and will continue to bring in leadership at the police department that will make the needed reforms and work with our communities to protect our city. I want to thank the many current and former law enforcement officials and leaders from our city’s diverse communities who have informed my selection of our new Chief of Police and helped shape our crime fighting agenda.” Keller also reiterated his commitment to conducting a national search for a permanent Chief of Police.

Here are the bios and photos of the new APD command staff:

Mike Geier retired from APD in April 2014 to take on the position of Chief of Police with

the Rio Rancho Police Department. He served in that agency for three years, during which time he made numerous progressive changes in the operation of that department. He served on several law enforcement executive committees in New Mexico during his tenure as chief, including the New Mexico Police Chief’s Association, NM Gang Task Force, NM Regional Drug Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Advisory Commission, the FBI’s Regional Forensic Computer Lab and the College of Central New Mexico’s Criminal Justice Advisory Board and Curriculum Committee.

He served as Commander for nearly five years in APD’s Criminal Investigations Division, overseeing the Violent and Juvenile Crimes Sections. Geier was in charge of several high profile investigations during that assignment such as the Baby Angel case, the Ellen Roth murders and the West Mesa multiple homicides. As the commander in violent crimes, he also served as the director of the city’s Family Advocacy Center (AFAC), where he coordinated efforts from several non-profit and governmental providers of victim services in our community. He finished his career in Albuquerque as an Area Commander in the department’s Field Services Bureau in the Southeast Area Command, one of the most challenging communities within the city of Albuquerque.

Geier has received numerous awards and commendations over his 43 plus year career in law enforcement, which has spanned parts of five decades. These include the Exceptional Merit Award and a Lifesaving Award (Illinois.) He has the unique distinction of being recognized as the Officer of the Year four times during his career with two different police departments. Two of his most significant accomplishments were having RRPD gain recognition by the IACP for their Excellence in Victim Services Award in 2016 in the midsize city category (this was the same award he had helped APD achieve back in 2011 in the large city category) and for being awarded that same year with New Mexico State Law Enforcement Accreditation by the New Mexico Municipal League. This was the first time in the history of the Rio Rancho Police Department that they achieve accreditation. Upon his retirement in 2017, the United States Attorney’s Office gave Geier an award for “appreciation and gratitude for his outstanding efforts which contributed to the attainment of the highest standards of cooperative law enforcement and justice in the District of New Mexico.”

At APD, Geier received both Officer of the Month in September 1998 and Officer of the Year for that same year with APD. He was recognized by MADD and the Albuquerque Partnership in 2002 for his work in leading APD’s underage drinking program, the Party Patrol. He received another award from MADD for this program as part of their annual Honoring Heroes in 2007. In 2009, he was honored by the New Mexico Crime Victim’s Reparation Commission for his work at the AFAC. The Domestic Violence Resource center recognized him in 2010 as their Hero of the Year. In 2011, his work at the AFAC was also acknowledged by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) when APD was awarded the IACP Excellence in Victims Service Award. He received the Public Service Award in 2013 from the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest. A further indication of his work ethic, Geier also finished first on both his promotional processes for sergeant and lieutenant with APD.

A second-generation police officer, Michael Geier started his law enforcement career in 1974 with the Wilmette, Illinois Police Department in north suburban Chicago. He worked 20 years with that agency, reaching the rank of Lieutenant before taking an early retirement due to his wife’s health issues with winters in the Midwest. Seeking a milder climate, he began a second police career as a recruit officer with the Albuquerque Police Department in 1994. He served 20 years with this department, reaching the rank of Commander in 2007.

After graduating from his first police academy at the Illinois Police Training Institute with top honors, he has earned an Associate’s Degree in Law Enforcement, a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Behavioral Science, and a Master’s of Arts Degree in Administration of Criminal Justice. Geier attended his second police academy upon coming to APD in 1994. He once again finished as with honors as the Top Cadet and Top Physical Fitness student upon completion of an extensive 22 weeks training regimen.

He is also a 1981 graduate of the 55th class from Northwestern University’s nine month Police Administration Training Program. This was a prestigious police management training program that is now held as a 10-week School of Police Staff and Command. Geier finished with honors in this class of 83 law enforcement executives from across the world.

Geier attended the renowned FBI National Academy, graduating with another straight A average. He was selected by his fellow 220 classmates, police executives from all over the world, as Session President and represented their class by giving the commencement speech at their graduation ceremonies in June 2013. He is a published author of police training articles, including a recent research study he co-authored entitled, Albuquerque Police Department Operation Hot Spot Method and Evaluation. It was published in International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts journal in 2012. While with APD, he served on the Board of Directors of both the NM Sexual Abuse Nurse Examiners and the NM Crime Victims Reparation Commission.

Mike has served in many different assignments during his law enforcement career, working in such capacities as a uniformed field officer, Juvenile Detective, Evidence Technician, Police Instructor, Field Training Officer, the Metro Unit/Anti-Crime Team Sergeant, Gang Detective and Supervisor, Emergency Response Team Lieutenant, Crisis Intervention Team member and Crisis Negotiator and Team Supervisor. He was a member of the first CIT class with APD in 1997. He was also one of the founders and coordinators of APD’s underage drinking program, a successful initiative that gained both state and national recognition.

Geier is an avid fitness enthusiast and, in addition to top fitness honors at his APD police academy graduation, he was recognized for being one of APD’s Most Fit Officers for a total of seven years. He regularly competes in the United States National Police and Fire Championships and the World Police and Fire Games in indoor rowing. He currently holds the national record for the 500 and 2,000 meter races in both the 50-59 and 60-69 age groups. He has also won several gold, silver and bronze medals during international competition at six World Police and Fire Games since 1992. Last summer he won 3 silver and one bronze medal in Los Angeles at the 2017 World Police and Fire Games.

Mike has been married to his wife, Judy, for almost 43 years. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.

Rogelio “Roger” Banez has over 24 years of experience in law enforcement.

He rose through the ranks to Area Commander for the Southwest quadrant of Albuquerque. At the same time, he served as Supervisor for the Albuquerque Office of Emergency Management and was assigned as the Homeland Security Director for APD.

Banez is dedicated to maintaining strong community bonds to improve quality of life by working closely with neighborhood associations, businesses, construction services, hotels and motels, banks, and private and governmental organizations that have a key role in the area.

Prior to becoming a Commander, Banez served in the rank of Lieutenant for four years and as a Police Sargeant/Patrolman for eighteen years. Banez is also a retired LTC of the United States Army with over 24 years as a commissioned military officer.

Banez received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and his Master of Arts degree from the University of Phoenix. He also attended the Combined Arms Staff and Services School and the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.

Rogelio has been married to his wife Vivian for 31 years. They have three adult children Vanessa, Ryan, and Riley and one grandson, Zachariah.

Harold Medina received a Bachelor’s degree with a double major in Biology and

Criminology through the college of Arts and Science from the University of New Mexico in 1994. He became a first-generation college student and graduated within four years. He continued his education, attending the Police School of Staff and Command with Northwestern University.

Medina is currently serving the Pueblo of Laguna Police Department as the Chief of Police. He believes in principles that are focused on community and law enforcement partnerships, problem-solving, and transforming the department to help create a strong bond of trust with the community. Medina believes in strong customer service in order to create a program based on community policing. He introduced and developed several first-time programs that emphasized on outreach to local youth. He strongly believes in working with the community to educate and have an understanding of community-oriented policing.

In the winter of 2014, after serving 20 years of being a sworn officer, Medina retired from the Albuquerque Police Department as a Commander. He started his police career in November of 1995, when he graduated from the Albuquerque Police Academy. During his career, he was a patrol officer for 9 years. Medina was promoted to Sergeant in 2004 where he became involved with the Albuquerque Police Department Party Patrol. During his time with Party Patrol he focused on decreasing illegal sales to underage youth. This proactive approach brought compliance rates in the Albuquerque area up to 95%. He also focused on providing prevention and intervention education strategies to the local Albuquerque high school students. This included partnerships with the schools, teachers and laws enforcement with a focused presentation of alcohol awareness to students.

In 2007, Medina was promoted to the Lieutenant rank and remained there for 2 years. He worked closely with community partners such as Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, and was recognized by them in 2008 for the leadership of Party Patrol; his program won the Hero’s award for that year. In the fall of 2009, he transferred to the Property Crimes Division. During the next 19 months through the use of community poling principles he created partnerships with community stakeholders, and increased internal communication and cooperation. During these 19 months, property crimes saw double-digit reductions in many areas.

In 2011, Medina was promoted to the rank of Commander. His philosophy was to help improve public trust and community partnerships. These initiatives led to the continued success in the reduction of property crimes in the Southwest Area Command. He was honored as The Uniformed Officer of the month as a patrol officer three times. He received the Uniformed Officer of the Year for the Albuquerque Police Department in 2004. Mothers Against Drunk Driving honored him with an individual Hero’s Award for his work in preventing underage drinking in 2007.

Harold Medina and his wife of 19 years Beatrice Medina have three children; Raquel, Dominic and Klarice.

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