Police Chief Oblivious to His Own Department
How many children and police officers must die in car wrecks before the people in charge of law enforcement in our city and state do something about it? How many police guns will be stolen and on our streets before those in charge do something? How much taxpayer money needs to be paid out in civil settlements before the so-called leaders in local law enforcement recognize there is a problem and act?
Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden collects a huge taxpayer funded paycheck — $166,000 a year. Yet he is totally oblivious to the police department he is supposed to be running. Had Eden been doing his job he would have known that in a 10-month period (February 26, 2016 to January 1, 2017), APD officers were involved in 300 car wrecks, with 121 being deemed preventable! What has Gordo done to address this epidemic of police officer car accidents? Nothing.
In March 2017, APD settled the Ashley Browder wrongful death lawsuit (killed by an APD officer in a car accident in 2013) for $8.5 million. This same month APD officers were involved in another 66 car wrecks! Did Gordo order department-wide retraining? Did he issue orders reminding officers to drive safely? No, Gordo just cashed his $13,800 monthly checks and went to eat at Texas Roadhouse with his best friends on APD’s command staff.
It has now been over a month since 6-year-old Joel Siuna was killed in a car accident with an APD officer who was running lights and siren to a call. Common sense would dictate that Gordo issue a special order reminding his officers to follow training and state statute when running “code 3.” Gordo could order video training for all briefings as a safe driving refresher. Has he? Of course not.
Has Eden done anything to address the rash of car burglaries to police officers that have put at least six police firearms, one an assault rifle, in the hands of criminals? Well, according to the Eye on Albuquerque blog he made sure to cover up one incident for his BFF Maj. Tim Gonterman. Showing favoritism is a unique quality for Gordo.
Other than protecting Gonterman, Eden has done little else. He has not ordered department-wide retraining on the take-home car program. He has not put out a special order reminding all officers and cadets not to leave firearms in vehicles that are not in garages or secure parking areas. He has not ordered a review of the take-home car program, to ensure that all officers are in compliance. Doesn’t he care?
It seems Gordo will just continue to collect his paycheck and stuff his face and do nothing. This from the guy who supposedly has decades of law enforcement experience. Gordo is the textbook definition of a backroom politician who collects big taxpayer checks (and a subsequent pension) and talks a big story. But when the light of day is shined on people like him, they are exposed as frauds; inept individuals who only gained their high-paid positions because of who they know, not what they have done.
And it’s not just Gordo who has failed the citizens and his officers. At the state level, Scott Weaver and Amy Orlando have also failed the citizens and police officers of New Mexico.
Who are Scott Weaver and Amy Orlando? Weaver is the $131,000-a-year Department of Public Safety cabinet secretary, and Orlando is his $107,000-a-year deputy cabinet secretary. They were both appointed by Gov. Susana Martinez to manage law enforcement in New Mexico. So why am I including them in this column of do-nothing shame?
From December 2016 to January 2017, two police officers in this state died in single-vehicle accidents where speed was a contributing factor. Two dead cops.
You would think the DPS secretary would have his finger on the pulse of incidents where police officers die and maybe ask for a review of training. They could send out a notice to all agencies reminding the officers not to speed, that speed kills and to wear their seat belts. They could include a block of training on driving safely for re-certification for the bi-annual re-certification for all officers. Instead they did nothing.
We pay civil servants like Eden, Weaver, Orlando and the APD command staff a lot of money to manage their departments. The lack of any response regarding police officers getting into car wrecks and having guns stolen tells me that these people aren’t doing their jobs. They’re merely placeholders, collecting big public paychecks and pensions and doing nothing to make all of us safer.
These political appointees make six-figure salaries, yet they do nothing and we don’t care. We bitch more about the $7-an-hour fast food workers who forget pickles on our burgers than we do about these highly-paid do-nothings and frauds.
What the hell is wrong with us?