Civilian Police Oversight Agency to review APD lieutenant's demotion

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - A high-ranking member of the Albuquerque Police Department was demoted earlier this month after it was discovered she altered an internal affairs report. Now, the Civilian Police Oversight Agency wants some answers.

"Former Commander, and now Lieutenant, Jennifer Garcia. She was the head of Internal Affairs," said Chelsea Van Deventer, a CPOA Board Member.

Last week, the board members of the CPOA met at City Hall to discuss Jennifer Garcia, which was captured through the city's video and audio system.

"This year has gone under investigation for altering documents," she said in the video.

According to a memo sent out by APD's Chief, Mike Geier, last month, Garcia was in charge of the IA Division earlier this year when she was caught backdating paperwork in an investigation, to make it look like it was completed on time.

"Initially Chief Geier was talking about issuing a suspension, but no suspension has been issued," said Van Deventer.

Instead, Garcia was moved to the Traffic Division during the investigation and then demoted from Commander to Lieutenant.

Van Deventer says this situation is very concerning and needs a closer look.

"I think it calls into question the integrity of every IA investigation that occurred under her watch. She's been on watch for several years now," she said.

Van Deventer went on to point out Garcia's relation to a Deputy Chief of APD, alluding to potential problems with the department investigation into her.

"We also have this issue of, which I hate to bring up, she's also married to the second in command of all of APD," she said.

After about half an hour of discussion, Van Deventer proposed a motion to review the APD investigation into Garcia. CPOA Director, Edward Harness, agreed.

"It's within our purview to review internal affairs investigations," he said.

All five members of the CPOA voted in favor of the review.

A spokesperson with APD says the department has been transparent about the investigation and Garcia's discipline by hiring outside investigators. The department will be happy to work the CPOA to provide those details to them.

Lt. Garcia is a 15-year veteran of APD. Chief Geier says this is her first misconduct offense and she has acknowledged her mistakes.


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