Allegations Made Against Head of the Internal Affairs Unit
Cmdr. Jennifer Garcia Transferred From IA to Traffic Division
Commander of IA is in Charge of a Police Department's soul
Earlier this year, the city of Albuquerque hired a private agency to investigate allegations of wrongdoing against the commander of the Albuquerque Police Department's Internal Affairs unit, APD confirmed Wednesday evening.
The investigation against Commander Jennifer Garcia has been completed and APD Chief Michael Geier is deciding what action to take. Garcia, who makes $95,000 a year, was reassigned to APD's Traffic Unit when the investigation began, APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos told ABQReport in an email response to the publication's questions about the case.
Gallegos did not say what the allegations against Garcia were or how they were brought to the department's attention. Nor did he say whether the allegations against Garcia were sustained.
ABQReport had asked Gallegos in an email on July 10 whether he could confirm rumors that Garcia was under investigation, that she had been transferred to the Traffic Division and that she had been suspended for five weeks. The publication also asked whether Geier would move to revoke Garcia's law enforcement license and whether he had referred the case to the District Attorney's office.
Here's Gallegos' full statement to ABQReport:
“An investigation was initiated following a complaint of alleged misconduct by Commander Jennifer Garcia earlier this year. She had been recently promoted as Commander assigned to IA at that time. Following a preliminary review by command staff, the investigation was assigned to a private investigations agency. The agency conducted a thorough investigation and presented its findings to the Chief, Human Resources Department and members of the City Attorney’s staff. The Chief reviewed their report and is currently in the process of making a final determination in this matter. No final action has been taken. As a high-ranking officer in APD, she will be held to a higher standard of accountability due to her position and assignment at the time. She was transferred from that assignment in IA to Traffic Division at the onset of this investigation.”
Retired APD Sgt. Dan Klein said the fact that the commander of the IA unit was alleged to have engaged in wrongdoing, and that an investigation was launched, is “huge.”
“As the commander of IA, she [Garcia] was in charge of APD's professional standards, and as a commander she sits in judgment of lesser ranking officers. The person in charge of professional standards is entrusted with the soul of the police department. If that person has violated that trust, the punishment should be ten-fold compared to all others.”
“If the person who is in charge of of IA is found to have violated those professional standards, how can any member of the community have faith if the department again? It harms every officer on the police department.”