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Who is in charge at APD? It sure isn’t Mike Geier!

-- It seems that Geier’s 40 years in law enforcement are just the same year over and over. He has never learned how to command. Geier seems afraid to crack the whip on his friends, instead praying that they “do the right thing” when caught doing wrong.

“I take responsibility for what happens in my office with my chief of staff and my assistant. Any suggestion that I am not in control of the department (is) ridiculous. This is nothing more than petty water-cooler talk.”--Statement provided to the Albuquerque Journal by Albuquerque Police Chief Mike Geier.

Dear Mike Geier, if you must make a formal statement telling everyone you are in charge at APD, guess what? You aren’t in charge.

What is that giant sucking noise we hear coming from 4th and Roma? It is the sound of the air being sucked out of APD by the command fools on the 5th floor (Chief’s office) who are spending their days and nights in petty fights with each other while crime in Albuquerque continues to spin out of control.

In the coming week ABQReport will have much more to say regarding the allegations leveled against APD Chief of Staff John Ross by Geier and his secretary Paulette Diaz. You can read their memos here:

None of this comes as a surprise to Albuquerque residents who have watched their police department leadership bungle one issue after another for the last 10 years. Albuquerqueans had hoped they were voting for a change from the Gorden Eden/R.J. Berry clown show when they elected Tim Keller. Keller appointed ex-APD, and then-current Rio Rancho Police Chief, Mike Geier, to run APD. City residents and the department were full of hope that finally things would turn around. It didn’t take long for those hopes to be trashed.

Almost immediately Geier let everyone know he was a “good old boy and a girl kinda guy” when he refused to fire his Internal Affairs commander after she was caught tampering with records. Geier didn’t seem to care, and it was only continuous media coverage that finally forced Geier to demote this person.

On the heels of this blunder Geier defended, and got Keller to go along for the ride, APD’s inaction when it came to rescuing the 7-year-old-girl with bloody underwear. Remember her? Her teacher had begged APD to protect her. She had even given the responding officers the girls bloody underwear—evidence—which was promptly tossed into the trash.

Let me remind everyone, little girls don’t bleed from their private parts unless they have been abused or have a serious health issue. Yet Keller and Geier defended APD’s do-nothing response. The child was left with her abusing parents until much later when Attorney General Hector Balderas got involved.

Geier and Keller only retracted their original defense of APD when the media and public demanded it. At one of the strangest press conferences I have ever seen, Keller and Geier admitted that APD’s response was not correct and they would investigate. Then they both sat down and watched APD spokesman Simon Drobik contradict what they had just said. And Geier and Keller did nothing. Right then I began to wonder, “Who is in charge at APD?”

Then came the Civilian Police Oversight Agency investigation into Drobik and his colossal amount of overtime pay. The Police Oversight Board and the CPOA recommended termination for Drobik for violating APD policy more than 50 times! What did Geier do? In a move that stunned everyone in the law enforcement community, he defended Drobik’s violations, whitewashed Drobik’s actions and refused to terminate him!

Now it's one year later and State Auditor Brian Colon and Attorney General Balderas have both opened serious investigations into APD and how our money is being mismanaged. To make themselves look like they are doing something, Geier and Albuquerque Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair opened an Internal Affairs investigation into Drobik, who promptly retired.

I add Nair’s name because she is listed as overseeing APD. Many people at APD say Geier has been placed on the curb, doing nothing more than collecting his $190,000-a-year paycheck and occasionally making public appearances. They say Nair runs everything at APD because Keller doesn’t trust Geier to make the right decisions. But just like inept former Mayor R.J. Berry couldn't bring himself to fire his worthless police chief, Gorden Eden, Keller doesn’t have the courage to fire Geier.

Now we have that “water-cooler” talk that Geier complained about. Well, if Geier sees water-cooler talk everywhere, he should read his own memo to Internal Affairs that contains serious allegations against his hand-picked chief of staff, John Ross. If Geier’s allegations against Ross are true, then it is a perfect example of Geier’s “grandpa” style leadership method of do nothing and hope that Ross will “do the right thing” (read the memo).

I wonder why anyone would want to join APD. It seems that Geier’s 40 years in law enforcement are just the same year over and over. He has never learned how to command. Geier seems afraid to crack the whip on his friends, instead praying that they “do the right thing” when caught doing wrong.

Picking the wrong person to lead happens all the time; not everyone is capable of being a good chief. That’s when the community expects Mayor Keller to do his job and hire someone else. But Keller has the same problem Geier has; he wants to be loved. When you fire someone you normally don’t get a lot of love from them.

Geier repeatedly asks his staff to “do the right thing” because he just can’t do it himself. Now we see the same inept leadership in Keller. Keller can’t bring himself to fire Geier. No matter all the embarrassment, missteps and investigations, Keller doesn’t have it in him to replace Geier.

Albuquerque suffers because of this incompetence of leadership.

Albuquerque’s only hope is for Bob Stover to be reincarnated to run APD. If Stover were in charge we would have to replace the windows on the 5th floor because he would have tossed the chief, all the deputy chiefs and chief of staff out of the windows within minutes of his return.

Stover understood leadership; he didn’t care about being loved. He cared about protecting his city and the integrity of APD. Too bad Keller can’t do the “right thing”.

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Independent Journalism

I've been a reporter, writer and editor for 37 years. I'm dedicated to honest, fair and hard-hitting reporting. I'm not conservative or liberal, but am just a reporter who tries to get to the truth at any given point in time. I don't believe in pulling punches or being a lap dog because that serves no one. A free and aggressive press is essential to human liberty. That's why the Founding Fathers put a free press in the Constitution. So on this site you'll get a variety of news, fearless opinion, analysis, humor, satire and commentary. It's kind of like a free-for-all. My motto is "Without fear and without favor."  But good journalism takes time and money, so I hope you will contribute what you can to these efforts by clicking on the "Donate" button above. I could use your help. Thanks, Dennis Domrzalski.

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