Monday, May 02, 2005

APD Shocker: Sources Now Say $200 Grand Stolen From Evidence Room; Weak Response Has Alligators On Attack; The Tough Questions On Your Monday Blog: 

Chief Schultz
Reliable sources at the highest levels of law enforcement tell "NM Politics with Joe Monahan" that they believe the cash missing from the scandal-ridden Albuquerque Police Department evidence room totals in the $200,000 area, not the $58,000 that investigators have made public. Despite the wads of missing cash, drugs, confiscated property and other evidence, state Attorney General Patricia Madrid has announced she is unable to bring the perpetrators to justice. And that has the Alligators baring their teeth.

Veteran politico and Green Party activist Steve Cabiedes was one of the first to predict that the scandal would end with a whimper and not a bang. He made that prediction here right after the forced retirement of APD Chief Gil Gallegos. Cop critic Cabiedes says even he is surprised that no one will apparently even get a slap on the wrist in connection with the biggest police corruption scandal in ABQ history "unless you consider Gallegos getting hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement money as punishment."

Some Republicans are using the scandal to slam AG Madrid and saying that ABQ GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson who Madrid may run against next year has been handed an opportunity to show the AG as ineffective. Others say Heather won't play with it either because politicians of all stripes fear criticizing the boys in blue.

"A lot of people cower in fear as they watch the crime shows, called the 10 o'clock news. They support the cops no matter what and this failure to address police corruption is reflective of that," carped Cabiedes.

AG Madrid
Informed legal critics of the Madrid investigation claim she should have sought indictments and then put the pressure on those indicted to tell the truth. But the AG's supervising attorney on the case, Michael Cox, did not push it and is also taking a hit as outrage surfaces. "They went through three different chief investigators during the course of this. That sure didn't help keep it on track. And they subpoenaed dozens of people, way too many to focus the case. It wasted a lot of time. In the end, they threw in the towel. It's a sad chapter in state legal history," analyzed a legal eagle with insider knowledge.

Other Gators following the action claim it leaves the door open to more police misconduct and corruption. "What is the incentive for them to stop? You tell me $200 grand is stolen and a bunch of drugs and other stuff and no one is arrested? That's a license to steal," fumed another insider.

Even the venerable former Bernalillo County Sheriff Joe Bowdich who has been hired at $90,000 a year to help the new chief clean-up the mess is not exempt from the wrath of the Gators. "Here we go again. New Mexico gets a public corruption scandal and what do we do? We create a high-paying job out of it. What about all the well-paid staff already at the APD who failed? We should be letting people go, not adding them," commented a retired high-ranking city employee.

But for now blatant criminal activity that occurred within the state's largest and most important police agency goes unprosecuted and unpunished. The criminals hide in the hallowed halls tarring their brave and honest colleagues with suspicion.


And what of new APD Chief Ray Schultz? Will he seek out the wrongdoers despite the failure of investigators and prosecutors? Or is he a captive of the same system he served in for so many years and that caused this depressing episode that illustrates why so many fine people have simply given up on poor New Mexico?

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