Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Video: Letters swayed Berry to retain Chief Schultz

Updated with Audio at 10:45p

Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz will keep his
post in Richard Berry's administration.

Mayor elect Richard RJ" Berry who made crime, especially reducing property crimes, one of his top campaign issues in this Fall's municipal election is retaining Police Chief Ray Schultz.

Berry, who met with Schultz several times before tonight's announcement, says letters from businesses and citizens' groups, and even members of the police union, helped sway his decision.

"I know he shares my vision for a safer Albuquerque, a better quality of life for our citizens--he's committed to using innovative approaches to attack property crime and gang violence," Berry said this evening. "I'm very excited that he'll be joining me in my administration."

Schultz told us he will consolidate his organization-- on the 5th floor of police headquarters -- by reducing the number of bureaus and is making other changes to improve the efficiency of the police force.

Keeping politics out of policing

Two commanders get three stars

Berry also announced that commanders Beth Paiz and Allen Banks will become deputy police chiefs. Berry called each of them "rising stars."

Schultz immediately gave them three stars signifying their new rank.

We interviewed Paiz and Banks for our morning newscasts. You can hear them starting at 6am on 770KKOB.

Paiz says she's excited to get down to "business" heading up the investigations unit.

Dan McKay at the Albuquerque Journal reports Paiz will be only the second woman to be a deputy chief to serve in APD, and Banks is the first African-American deputy chief since the 1970s.

Banks had been heading up the internal affairs department at APD before tonight's appointment to the lead APD's support bureau.

Union supports reappointment

We also interviewed APOA Union President Joey Sigala who says that his members have always been able to work with Chief Schultz. He says while labor and management don't always agree they always feel comfortable sitting down to discuss issues with him.

Sigala told us that his team sat down with three different "branches" of the transition team and provided input on the Chief based on various questions they were asked.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White, who was appointed Public Service Director, was sentimental in welcoming Schultz to the Berry Administration, calling him "a dedicated professional who's done a fantastic job for the city."

White says he's personally responsible for contributing to some of the gray hairs on the side of Schultz' head -- recalling how then Sgt. Schultz had welcomed him to the APD police force's overnight shift in the SE Command when he was still just a patrolman.

Berry told reporters he is still "in the process" of considering appointments at the Albuquerque Fire Department. Chief Robert Ortega did not attend the evening news conference.

White told reporters that the team has made no decisions regarding changing any APD policies dealing with how police officers can deal with questioning suspects about their immigration status. He said those discussions and decisions will be made after Berry is sworn in on December 1st.

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