ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — Albuquerque's Mayor, the Albuquerque Journal in Saturday's editorial and the city's former Public Safety Director all have joined in, criticizing the push from Albuquerque City Councilor Ken Sanchez to have voters elect the city's Police Chief.
"There is no doubt in my mind that this is ill-advised and I think it's a knee-jerk reaction to what's been happening at City Hall with the Albuquerque Police Department," said former Public Safety Director Pete Dinelli.
Despite the criticism, Sanchez is moving forward with the plan to present the idea to fellow city councilors at their first meeting next month.
"I believe that the people of our community should have a stronger voice of who they'd like to see serve as their chief," said Sanchez.
Current Chief Ray Schultz has had a long career with Albuquerque's Police Department.
But after 17 deaths in 24 officer involved shootings since 2010, some are questioning his leadership.
Even so, Dinelli says electing a Police Chief is asking for trouble.
"Once you get rid of the civilian control, what you have is an elected official that can basically do whatever they want," said Dinelli.
Dinelli admits he's considering running for Mayor. He says this proposal will turn APD into a political circus.
Ken sanchez argues that the system is already political.
"In the current structure, there will be police officers or firefighters getting behind a particular candidate running for Mayor that appoints those people to the higher positions. So there's politics involved no matter what," said Sanchez.
Expect to see Councilor Sanchez's proposal on the August 6th City Council agenda. He hopes to have the issue on the general election ballot in November.
Sanchez isn't the only City Councilor looking into changing the way the Police Chief is chosen. He says another councilor is looking into a proposal to have the Police Oversight Commission offer recommendations for top cop.
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New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.