Former U.S. Atty. Damon Martinez Joins APD; Police Union: Doesn't Make Any Sense
- City says Martinez will write policies that aren't related to APD's settlement agreement with the DOJ
- Police union president Shawn Willoughby says Martinez will be writing policies about take-home cars and uniforms
- Willoughby added, "I hope everybody can see through this. This does not make any sense."
Former U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez, who helped lead the DOJ efforts to get the Albuquerque Police Department to agree to a reform effort and settlement agreement, has been hired as a full-time employee by APD, Mayor Tim Keller's administration said Wednesday.
Martinez will be responsible for helping APD write policies that are not related to the DOJ settlement agreement that he helped negotiate with APD in 2014, said APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos.
Martinez will make $118,000 a year, Gallegos said.
"He [Martinez] will have several duties related to policy development that is not tied to the settlement agreement," Gallegos said in an email to ABQReport.
"APD has put a lot of resources into our compliance bureau to deal with issues related to the settlement agreement. We want to ensure nothing is falling through the cracks as a result of those resources that have shifted to compliance.
"As an example, we want to place more of an emphasis on policies related to the investigation and evidence collection in crimes against children cases. We also want to modernize the Scientific Evidence Laboratory. Those are some examples. Mr. Martinez will also serve as the department’s primary civilian liaison with the 2nd Judicial District Attorney, 2nd Judicial District Court, the District Court for the District of New Mexico."
Shawn Willoughby, president of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association, said Martinez's hiring "doesn't make any sense." He also said that, if what Gallegos said about Martinez's duties is true, the former U.S. attorney will be writing policies about how cops wear their uniforms and take-home cars.
"Its concerning for the APOA that the administration would find it beneficial to hire an attorney who doesn't have any extensive police policy writing in his background to deal with policies that aren't related to the consent decree," Willoughby said. "We are talking about policies that are very benign and that should be written and overseen by chief of police and his command staff.
"If we're talking about policies that aren't related to the CASA [Court Approved Settlement Agreement], we're talking about how an officer wears a uniform, or the take-home car policy. These are generally benign policies that could always use revision, but to bring in an ex-U.S. attorney for the DOJ to write non-CASA policies, I hope everybody can see through this. This does not make any sense."
When asked if he thought it was a waste of money for the city to pay Martinez $118,000 a year to write non-CASA policies, Willoughby replied:
"We need more cars, we need more rifles and we are don't have enough field training officers. It is a common misstep of administrations to try to hire their way out of a problem. In this particular circumstance it does not make a lot of sense.
"I found about it by watching the news, so there was no communication [by the administration] to the APOA, and as far as I know, there is not a lot of non-CASA policy that needed to be attended to."
Martinez left the U.S. Attorney's office in early 2017 after being fired by President Donald Trump. Martinez was appointed to the job in 2014 by President Barack Obama, a Democrat. Trump is a Republican.
Martinez ran an unsuccessful campaign this year for the Democratic nomination for the First Congressional District. He came in second in the June 5 primary to Debra Haaland.