ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Police Chief of the Albuquerque Police Department will soon be retiring. In a press release on Thursday, the City of Albuquerque states that Albuquerque Police Chief Mike Geier will continue to serve until the end of next week and will focus on wrapping up key initiatives around the department’s career development programs.
Chief Geier has served as APD chief of police since December 2017. The City states that starting Monday, various duties will be transitioned over the next upcoming weeks based on the deputy chief chain of command structure. Chief Geier cited a few factors in his personal life that said lead him to this decision, including the sheer amount of work the job requires while also having custody of two grandchildren.
“My grandkids were playing and I was doing something for work and they asked a couple times, ‘papa come out and play.’ And the little one came and said, she’s eight years old, she goes, ‘papa do you still love us?’ And that was that moment that I wondered, if I was ever looking for a time when I knew I had to retire, it was then,” Chief Geier said at a press conference on Thursday.
Deputy Chief Harold Medina will take over as acting chief. At the end of the month, a preliminary timeline will be outlined in the search for a new long-term chief.
“Chief Geier came in at a pivotal moment for the Department, and did a courageous job righting the ship through our first year, getting new leadership in place, focusing on gun violence and getting reform efforts on track,” said Mayor Keller in a statement. “I deeply appreciate the extremely difficult job he took on nearly three years ago. He helped move APD in the right direction in so many important ways.”
While the city is calling Geier’s retirement a mutual decision, at a press conference on Thursday, Mayor Keller also implied that the job isn’t getting done fast enough under Geier. He said Albuquerque’s crime is not at the place he wants it to be right now. He also said reform efforts at the department, including those set by the DOJ in 2014, have ‘stalled.’ Mayor Keller said it is time for new leadership.
“As we saw the need, I saw the need, for also just increased progress for a faster rate of change,” Mayor Keller said. “We think it’s the right time for new leadership at APD. So, I think it’s a mutual decision. We want to move faster and we think it’s time for new leadership and he’s also ready to retire. So, I think it’s the way it should be.”
At the press conference, Mayor Keller said Geier’s chief of staff position will be going away. The man currently in that position, John Ross, is under investigation for misuse of a city credit card.
Before joining APD, Geier worked for over 43 years in law enforcement and has also served as Chief of Police of the Rio Rancho Police Department.
“It’s been an honor to lead the Albuquerque Police Department over the last three years,” said Chief Geier in a press release. “After 47 years in law enforcement, it’s time to pass the baton. Our transition plan aims to set the stage for the next phase of the Department’s effort to make Albuquerque safer for us all. I want to thank every police officer who shows such an incredible commitment to our city, and will be praying for you to stay safe and successful in your service.”