- Rumors of an inappropriate message from someone at the Civilian Police Oversight Agency to a member of the Police Oversight Board.
- Both the CPOA and the POB have stonewalled reporters.
- But the city is investigating the alleged inappropriate message.
- Kudos to Mayor Tim Keller's staff for promptly answering questions.
Is something sinister going on at the Civilian Police Oversight Agency and the Police Oversight Board? Something that the agency and the board don't want anyone outside of their small circle to know about?
For several months the media has heard rumors of an inappropriate message sent from someone at the CPOA to someone on the Police Oversight Board. The media has sent numerous requests for confirmation to the CPOA and to POB members to confirm or deny these rumors.
For being an agency tasked with investigating police officer misconduct and promising to be transparent, the response from all those alleged lovers of transparency has been silence. Apparently the CPOA and the POB hoped that if they didn’t response the reporters would just give up and go to the next story. Oh how wrong they were.
You see when a group of people who are paid for by tax dollars and who are supposed to be working for the public’s interest decide that they don’t want to talk about their own dirty laundry, well that’s a red flag that something is going on.
So, we took our concerns to Mayor Tim Keller. Keller's PIO, Jessie Damzyn, in less than six hours, provided a statement that the CPOA wouldn’t do for over 30 days. Here it is:
"The City received a complaint regarding an employee of the CPOA. The City will share with the Board the results of initial investigations, which are confidential at this time, and the Board will be responsible for determining next steps. By ordinance, the Director of the CPOA reports to the CPOA Board. The CPOA is required by ordinance to comply with City personnel policies."
This raises several questions about the CPOA.
1. If the allegation of an inappropriate message from someone at the CPOA to a member of the Police Oversight Board is true, why hasn't the board member who received the message gone public with it? And why haven't other board members who have knowledge of the inappropriate message gone public? Are they trying to protect somebody? Cover something up?
2. If, as we were told, this incident happened last year (2018) and was just reported to the city after the media started asking questions (which was last month), then how many POB members have known about this possible inappropriate message and remained silent?
3. How would these POB members deal with the same type of allegation coming from within the Albuquerque Police Department?
4. Will the POB make public these allegations? If it were an APD officer they would, so shouldn’t they be held to the same standard?
5. The CPOA and the POB are on the verge of losing all credibility. Is it time for the City Council and Mayor Keller to step in and remove the person who sent the inappropriate message? Remember this happened in 2018, but apparently wasn’t reported until 2019!
6. Have POB members gone through the city sexual harassment training? Apparently they either have not, or were asleep, because the city requires any employee who witnesses suspected sexual harassment to immediately report it. It appears this wasn’t reported for months. Not until it leaked and reporters started asking questions.
To Mayor Tim Keller and his staff, kudos for the prompt response and being transparent. That is how government is supposed to work, and they all deserve a pat on the back.
As for the members of the POB, those who refused to report and refused to respond to questions, shame on all of you. You would hang an APD officer for the same conduct you have committed. Recently a member of the POB wrote an OP-ED to the Albuquerque Journal slamming law enforcement in our community. What a hypocrite! The next time you call a reporter to leak a story about police officer misconduct, think about your own misconduct and resign instead.