Posted at: 11/14/2012 5:33 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Albuquerque's mayor and police chief are reacting to a police officers' poll that gives them failing grades.
Low morale and low approval ratings for both men were the highlights of a poll the police officers' union released Tuesday.
Four hundred and fifty-six officers, about half of the force, responded to the poll, with an overwhelmingly negative verdict on the way the city administration runs the police department.
Ninety-five of those polled disapproved of the way Mayor Richard Berry oversees the department.
"My goal as mayor and my job as mayor is to serve over 600,000 constituents in the city of Albuquerque," Berry said. "It's neither my goal nor my job to win a popularity contest with the union, but we want to make sure our officers are safe."
Eighty percent in the poll disapproved of Chief Ray Schultz and half thought he should be fired. The chief pointed out that the union is negotiating for pay raises.
"To try to use this survey to say that, well, morale is down but give us more money and everything will better sends the wrong message to the community," Schultz said. "We all got in this job knowing we're not going to get rich. We got in this job because we want to make a difference."
The chief says Albuquerque Police Department officers are the best-trained and best-equipped cops in the region, if not the country.
In his annual state of the city address the mayor praised APD officers for their hard work and dedication, and announced that he is reinstating a $5,000 bonus for police cadets who graduate from the training academy and become APD officers.