The city of Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Police Department’s union are at odds over new rules for promoting officers.
It’s part of the federally mandated reform for APD, and it will keep some officers with checkered pasts from climbing the ranks.
APD and the union have largely agreed on its promotional policy except for two key points. It’s now a fight in court over a promotional policy created in 2016 between them.
In the policy, APD wants candidates for promotion to undergo testing every two years. The union wants a candidate’s test scores to stand beyond that.
More importantly, the new rules say APD can deny a promotion to any officer who’s been suspended more than a day, which the union believes gives the department too much discretion. The union believes that should only apply to officers who’ve been suspended for at least six weeks.
The previous chief staunchly defended the new rules.
“It gives me the ability to remove them for cause and I think that’s what’s really important,” said former APD Chief Gordon Eden.
Both sides do agree that certain officers should be barred from promotions though, like officers involved in pending lawsuits.
Under this policy, Jonathan McDonnell can’t be promoted. He’s being sued by a family after a deadly crash in his patrol unit last year.
The policy further says an officer can’t be promoted if a court rules they violated constitutional rights of another person, if they’re under internal investigation, or under indictment.
What’s not clear in the policy is what happens to candidates who were sued for use of force, where the city settled before a judge could rule if their actions were justified or not.
APD and the union did agree in the policy that the city won’t review incidents before June 2, 2015 unless there was severe misconduct.