-- The "permanent police chief," as he was once called, wasn't so permanent.
-- Crybaby Harold Medina will serve as chief while Keller's administration launches another alleged national search for another chief.
Albuquerque Police Chief Mike Geier is out of there. Mayor Tim Keller announced Thursday that Geier will "retire" from APD at the end of next week. Deputy Chief Harold Medina will be in command of the department while Keller's administration does another alleged national search for a so-called "permanent" police chief.
Geier, who has been a cop for 47 years, was hired as chief in December 2017 shortly after Keller took office. In 2018 he was named the "permanent" chief after an alleged national search for a new chief.
Geier's first year on the job was pretty good. But the situation fell apart after that. In 2019, ABQReport wrote the massive pay claims of the department's then-spokesman Simon Drobik. After the stories broke, the Civilian Police Oversight Agency investigated, found that Drobik had violated APD's overtime policies 51 times and recommended that Drobik be fired.
Geier rejected the CPOA's recommendations and didn't even discipline Drobik.
(Photo: Crybaby Harold Medina to take over as police chief.)
Then 2020 happened. Many people felt that APD mishandled riots and disturbances earlier this year. Many people felt that APD wasn't aggressive enough in trying to prevent the riots and disturbances.
And earlier this year the Human Robot Drobik and his astounding overtime claims again rose up to haunt Geier. But this time the State Auditor and the Attorney General's offices launched official investigations into APD's overtime practices.
And then there was a bizarre incident where Keller tweeted sympathy for a Kenosha, Wisc., man who was shot by police. That same day, Geier, tweeting as the chief of police, said almost the exact thing that Keller had tweeted.
APD later deleted its tweet, and Geier said he had known nothing about it and hadn't authorized it. Cynics suggested that Keller's people, and not Geier, were running APD.
And then there was the case of Geier's secretary, who wrote him a lengthy memo detailing how Geier's hand-picked of staff had violated city purchasing rules in buying a laptop computer and other stuff. Geier apparently never ordered the chief of staff, John Ross, to return the laptop and Apple TV box that he improperly bought.
Here's the city's news release on Geier's "retirement."
Chief Michael Geier Set to Retire
Mayor highlights accomplishments, outlines transition plans to reinvigorate Police Department
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Today, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller announced that Police Chief Mike Geier will be retiring this fall. The Mayor outlined transition plans for the Police Department, signaling a new phase for crime fighting and reform efforts.
“Chief Geier came in at a pivotal moment for the Department, and did a courageous job righting the ship through our first year, getting new leadership in place, focusing on gun violence and getting reform efforts on track,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “I deeply appreciate the extremely difficult job he took on nearly three years ago. He helped move APD in the right direction in so many important ways.”
“It has been an honor to lead the Albuquerque Police Department over the last three years,” said Chief Michael Geier. “After 47 years in law enforcement, it’s time to pass the baton. Our transition plan aims to set the stage for the next phase of the Department’s effort to make Albuquerque safer for us all. I want to thank every police officer who shows such an incredible commitment to our city, and will be praying for you to stay safe and successful in your service.”
Chief Geier has served as APD Chief of Police since December 2017. He helped bring in a new leadership team, took on a major restructuring of the Department, revamped the use of force training and policies, hired more officers, and established innovative career and development paths in the Department. Prior to joining APD, Geier worked for over 43 years in law enforcement, including as Chief of Police of the Rio Rancho Police Department. Geier’s complete biography is here.
Geier will continue to serve until the end of next week and will focus on wrapping up key innovative initiatives around the Department’s career development programs. Starting Monday, various duties will be transitioned over the upcoming weeks based on the defined deputy chief chain of command structure, with 1st Deputy Chief Medina taking over as Acting Chief. A preliminary timeline for a long term chief search, will be outlined at end of the month.
City Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair added, “Chief Geier has been a strong leader and we will miss his steadfast commitment to our City. With the 1st and 2nd deputy structure, DC Harold Medina and DC Michael Smathers respectively, the Department is well positioned to continue to run effectively.”
The other deputy chiefs are expected to remain in their positions in the near-term, bringing continuity in leadership while the administration conducts a national search.
Mayor Keller continued, “With all of the challenges this year has brought, it’s clear that the context for running a department, fighting crime and engaging in reform has changed dramatically. We know we have had persistently high crime for a decade, we know reform efforts have hit some snags, and we know there have been back office challenges and distractions. Chief Geier’s retirement comes at the right time for a new phase of leadership to address the old embedded challenges that continue to hamper the department. Like the residents of Albuquerque, I won’t be satisfied until this is a safer city. This is the time to hit the accelerator.”
The administration remains committed to fighting crime from all sides, hiring 100 new police officers each year and embracing constitutional community policing.