Craziness At APD; Questions For Eden And Berry

Craziness At APD; Questions For Eden And Berry

Why are cops leaving guns in their cars overnight, or any time at all?

Lax Oversight Evident from Recent APD Weapons Thefts

Evidence Mounts that No One at the Top is Paying Attention

OPINION

The disturbing news that seven weapons have gone missing or have been stolen from APD officers in the past five months has raised questions about what the hell is going on at APD and City Hall.

Albuquerque police shoulder patchSome say there is a combination of favoritism, indifference, loose regulations and a “Who cares?” attitude at APD and Mayor Richard Berry’s office regarding the situation

The fact that seven police weapons, including a high-powered rifle, have been stolen, or are missing, and that neither Berry nor APD Chief Gorden Eden have made a peep about this in public is shocking to some, and business as usual from the administration for others

That APD Maj. Timothy Gonterman apparently suffered no consequences when a military-style semi-automatic rifle, and a shotgun were stolen from his police SUV in February has raised cries of favoritism on the part of Eden and Assistant Chief Robert Huntsman, especially from the blog Eye on Albuquerque, which broke the story.

The Gontermans dining with the EdensThose cries grew louder and more numerous when the Eye revealed that lower-ranking APD officers whose weapons were stolen from their police vehicles were disciplined, or at least had to pay for the weapons.

So here are some questions that ABQ Free Press readers and sources have been asking:

Why are cops leaving guns in their cars overnight, or any time at all? To a lot of people, that’s just plain irresponsible.

Why does Gonterman, a command staff paper-pusher who doesn’t answer calls for service, need a sniper rifle? Who thought this was a good idea?

How many other members of APD’s command staff have sniper rifles and shotguns in their police vehicles? Why do they need them?

Does APD believe Gonterman’s story? Gonterman told offices that he had locked the doors of his SUV and that he had locked the gun compartment in the vehicle. But the police report said there were no signs of forced entry on Gonterman’s vehicle. Is Gonterman telling the truth?

Are there criminals out there who somehow can easily break into APD vehicles? If so, does APD care? Is it investigating what could be a stunningly dangerous breach of security and threat to public safety?

What if someone is shot and injured with one of these stolen or missing weapons? Would the city have any liability?

Does APD’s take-home car policy need to be strengthened?

Here’s what the department’s SOP says about take-home cars and securing them and the city property in them:

APD Chief Gorden Eden“Personnel will remove all Department issued property from their assigned vehicle/motorcycle when the vehicle is left at the police garage … Personnel will be held responsible for the loss of any issued property left unattended in the vehicle … APD vehicles will be properly secured and parked to prevent damage to the vehicle and theft of its contents.”

A retired cop told ABQ Free Press that in years past, the rule for securing take-home vehicles was much stronger. At one time the rule said that weapons could be left in a vehicle only when the vehicle was parked on a locked garage.

Why hasn’t Eden ordered a review of the SOP and strengthened it?

Why hasn’t Eden issued a simple order that no firearms are to be left in any unattended vehicle that is not parked in a garage or in a guarded secure parking area?

Where is Berry in all of this? Why has not said a word about this?

Where are the nine city councilors? Don’t they care?

Why hasn’t Gonterman been disciplined for leaving guns in his car, which was apparently parked on the street or in a driveway, overnight?

Two police cadets have had their guns stolen out of their personal cars. What is the training that they are receiving at the police academy? Aren’t they being told, repeatedly, not to leave guns and other police equipment in their personal cars?

What is Eden doing to find the “lost” police shotgun? Would an audit of APD property show more lost guns? Why hasn’t Eden ordered this audit? If Eden won’t order it, why hasn’t Berry? Just how many guns are missing from APD?

Why did Huntsman sign off on Gonterman’s stolen firearms, thereby not making him responsible for there loss? Did Huntsman believe a ghost opened Gonterman’s car and stole the firearms? Why hasn’t Huntsman ordered a full investigation into how these guns could be taken from a “locked” police car?

These are just some questions. We’re sure there are others. If you have any, email me at dennis@freeabq.com

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.
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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.