Mayoral candidates speak out about possible Schultz replacements

Posted at: 03/18/2013 10:36 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Photo: Ray Schultz
Photo: Ray Schultz

Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz says he plans to be out by this summer. Mayor Richard Berry says he doesn’t plan to name a permanent replacement until after October’s mayoral election.

That means the winner of that race gets to choose the city’s new top cop. And the candidates in the mayoral race are considering the qualities they want in a police chief.

Mayor Berry’s challengers have already said Schultz should step down now. But they don’t agree about where the next chief of police should come from.

"This is a very demanding job. It's a 24 hour, 7 day a week job," said Schultz in his first interview since announcing his retirement.

After 30 years at APD, Schultz says it’s time to step down.

It’ll be up to the mayor to choose APD’s new leader.

Berry says he’s launching a national search for the chief’s replacement, but he would also consider candidates within APD.  Berry says the search would cost the city about $60,000.

Asked what he’s looking for in the next police chief, Berry said, “A lot of the same characteristics that we have in Chief Schultz. Listen, we're losing one of the best chiefs in the country. I’m looking for an innovator. We're in a new time; we're in an era of big data."

Schultz says he’ll step down this summer, before October’s mayoral election.

"Based on his past conduct, I think he could change his mind in a heartbeat,” said mayoral candidate Pete Dinelli.

He’s concerned Schultz hasn’t given an exact date of when he’ll step down, so he doesn’t think Schultz will actually retire.

“Frankly I don't believe him," said Dinelli.

Dinelli, a former city attorney, says he’ll also launch a nationwide search.

“We need to find some of the brightest and best individuals that would be willing to apply. We need to be prepared to pay them the kind of money they want but in particular I would like to find a chief that has strong managerial skills," he said.

Challenger Paul Heh says the next police chief “will be promoted from within the department.”

Heh, an APD veteran, says he wants to hear from APD officers.

"I'm looking for a leader that’s going to take responsibility when things go wrong," he said.

Heh says a nationwide search simply isn’t needed.

“This is Albuquerque, New Mexico,” said Heh. “It's not New York City, it's not Los Angeles, California, it's not Miami, Florida. This is Albuquerque, New Mexico. We have people in this police department that are very capable."

Chief Schultz says he’ll likely step down in July, depending on the Department of Justice investigation.

Mayor Berry says at that point he’ll assign an interim chief.

A new chief won’t be named until after the election.