A resignation letter from a disgruntled Albuquerque police officer was posted to a Facebook site called “Fans of the Albuquerque Police Department” on Saturday.
The post comes five days after the US Department of Justice announced a full investigation into the APD’s use of deadly force.
Officer Chad Wilder’s memo, which is addressed to APD Chief Ray Schultz, does not comment directly upon the DOJ investigation. But it cites the investigation as stemming from what Wilder calls a lack of leadership and direction in the department’s management. Wilder also mentions unspecified “safety concerns” as a reason for his retirement.
“I believe it is in my best interest for my safety and well-being to retire early,” Wilder states in the memo.
Wilder also accuses police higher-ups of malfeasance and dishonesty.
“We are thrown under the bus, time-and-time again while management outright lies to the media and takes absolutely no responsibility for any of the issues,” the memo states.
The DOJ announced this past Tuesday that it is conducting a full civil investigation into APD’s policies and practices that resulted in 25 shootings of civilians since 2010, resulting in 17 deaths.
In today’s Albuquerque Journal, Mayor Richard Berry penned a guest opinion piece stating that the city and police force will “co-operate fully” with the DOJ inquiry. Berry points to recent reforms at the department that include mandatory shoulder cameras and improved training. However, Wilder says the reforms are meant to distract the public from the real issues.
“We were in strong need of leadership support and guidance, all of which have clearly been absent. What we received instead is the “Do as I say, not as I do” style of management in which they operate on their own rules for their own agenda.”
Wilder says the combination of low morale and shrinking manpower creates a dangerous situation that he doesn’t think will improve anytime soon. He says senior officers are quitting the force at an alarming rate because of the department’s “nearsighted policies.”
“I pray this does not result in the loss of Officers’ lives or those of innocent citizens. It breaks my heart to see the direction this once proud and model department has been taken in the last few years, culminating in a DOJ investigation.”
The APD has not yet responded to requests for a response to Wilder’s posting.
However a number of people have left comments in response to Wilder’s posting.