ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - APD's Chief Ray Schultz will be heading for retirement Aug. 3, leaving the department's future up for grabs.
The three men who are seeking to be Albuquerque's next mayor all have different visions for what that future should look like.
Incumbent Mayor Richard J. Berry took time at a Thursday afternoon news conference to praise Schultz's leadership at APD and vouch for his own administration's record on public safety.
"During the past three years alone, Albuquerque has seen the lowest overall FBI crime rates in the last 20 years," Berry said.
But mayoral challengers Pete Dinelli and Paul Heh say the department is in disarray , pointing to an ongoing Department of Justice investigation and low staffing levels.
Dinelli, the city's former head of public safety under former Mayor Martin Chavez, told KRQE News 13 that the APD needs to get back to what he calls community-oriented policing and undergo a big reorganization.
"We have too many specialized units," Dinelli said. "I want to reduce [them] probably by half, but more importantly, we've got to get more officers back in the streets."
Heh, a former APD sergeant, says APD needs to get back to basics when it comes to training and lift a requirement that new officers have a college degree to boost APD's numbers.
"You do not need college to be a police officer," Heh said. "We teach you what you need to know to be a police officer."
Both Heh and Dinelli said Schultz needed to leave or be fired a long time ago and both say they'll clear out APD's upper management if elected.
As for new leadership, Dinelli favors a national search for a new police chief while Heh prefers a local candidate.
On Thursday, Berry said the city will conduct a national search, but didn't rule out interim chief Allen Banks winning the job.
"He's known in the community, he's known in the department and he's someone that for him to even be standing here today tells you that he's passed muster," Berry said.
Schultz denied he was forced out by Berry or anyone else at City Hall, saying the decision to retire was his alone.
Albuquerque's mayoral election is set for October.
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