Both Mayor Tim Keller and Police Chief Mike Geier have publicly denounced what they call the “Old APD.” And when they refer to the “Old APD” they mean a police department that lies to the public, that rewards and covers up for favorites, no matter how serious their infractions, and punishes so-called enemies; a department that never holds its own wrongdoers accountable; a department that frames innocent people; and a department that hunkers down and tries desperately to keep the public from knowing what is really going on inside of its dark, dank bunker of paranoia, secrecy and contempt for the public.
Both Keller and Geier have publicly vowed to destroy the Old APD and its culture of secrecy, misconduct, favoritism and disservice to the community.
Their statements have made for good soundbites and have brought some hope to the community, and to the hundreds of honest APD officers who are sickened by how deep the department has sunk into the foul slime of incompetence, lies, coverups, secrecy and favoritism.
But the events of the past few months have shown that rather than draining the APD swamp, Keller and Geier are either being swallowed by the Old APD's culture, or are actually embracing it.
What else can you conclude when you look at the case of Jennifer Bell Garcia, who as commander of APD's Internal Affairs unit, was investigated for wrongdoing earlier this year and quietly transferred to APD's Traffic Unit.
APD won't say what Garcia, who makes $95,000 a year, was being investigated for, even though that is public information. There are rumors about why the investigation was launched, and they are serious allegations. And there are rumors that Garcia has been suspended and that her suspension has already begun.
But APD won't confirm or deny any of those rumors, which I have asked them about in writing.
If the rumors about the allegations are true, and if the charges against Garica have been sustained, it would cause any honest cop, and any moderately-informed lay person to ask, “Why hasn't she been fired, or at least demoted?”
Well, here are some possible answers.
Geier promoted Jennifer Garcia to deputy chief/commander on Feb. 17. Jennifer Garcia is married to Deputy Chief Eric Garcia, a command staff holdover from the Old APD that was headed by the incompetent Gorden Eden.
Maybe Eric Garcia, who headed up APD's incompetent Investigations Bureau for years – a bureau that botched the Victoria Martnes murder case and then lied about it, and that let two innocent young men rot in jail for early a year for a murder they didn't commit – has some special influence with Keller and Geier and won't let his wife be fired.
Maybe it's the Old APD's Good ol' Boy and Gal culture that is still thriving at APD? Remember, you just don't criticize or dump on one of your own, especially when they're part of the exclusive and high and mighty command staff club.
Many former and current cops have asked why Eric Garcia hasn't yet been fired, especially since he was part of the Old APD's command staff that spent four years obstructing APD's reform settlement agreement with the Department of Justice. Remember, the independent monitor in the reform case has consistently said that APD was in “deliberate noncompliance” with the settlement agreement and that the command staff was directly responsible for that deliberate noncompliance.
Again, APD isn't saying much about the Jennifer Garcia case, which means that like the Old APD, it is stonewalling the public on a matter of great public importance: a police commander accused of wrongdoing.
That sounds like the Old APD, whose practice was to hold the media and the public in contempt.
And then there was Geier's public response earlier this year the now infamous 7-year-old girl's bloody underwear case. The public, and lots of retired cops were stunned and outraged that an APD officer who was called out to the case of the girl, and told by her teacher that she had found blood on the girl's underwear, didn't even suspect a crime might have been committed and didn't tag the garment into evidence for possible use in a criminal investigation.
Geier stood by his officer and said the cop was correct to not take the underwear as evidence. It was the Old APD in action: Support your own, no matter how incompetent or wrong they might be, dive into the bunker, pull the doors shut and ignore the public and the news media.
A few weeks later Geier reversed course and said that he was wrong about the case, but that it wasn't his fault because he had been misled by someone in the department. Most people equate being misled as being lied to.
So what did Geier do to the person or persons who lied to him, the person who lied to the chief of police?
So far, nothing. Oh, he launched an IA investigation, which he said would take 90 days to complete. Does it really take 90 days to figure out who gave you bad and incorrect information and to fire them?
Well, at the New APD, which looks a lot like the Old APD, it does. And that could be by design. At the Old APD the practice was to ignore bad things, launch phony investigations and hope that the public would forget about them.
Let's just hope that Keller and Geier weren't lying to us about wanting to get rid of the Old APD. Right now, it's beginning to look like they did.