Posted at: 05/05/2014 6:18 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Gorden Eden has been Albuquerque's police chief for only two months. In that time, his troubled department has had four fatal officer-involved shootings.
The U.S. Department of Justice calls many of the APD shootings over the past four years a "pattern of excessive force," but most city voters seem to have at least some confidence that Eden can lead the department through the reforms that lie ahead.
A poll commissioned by the state's leading politics blogger finds a substantial majority of respondents have confidence in the chief--outnumbering those with "no confidence" by almost two-to-one.
Eden was sworn in as the new police chief on Feb. 26 and quickly found himself in the meat-grinder. The police shooting of homeless mental patient James Boyd in the Sandia foothills less than a month later went viral on the Internet and TV. It didn't help when Eden defended the shooting the next day.
"Do I believe it was a justified shooting? Yes," Eden answered to a reporter's question.
The chief's famous "no-news" news conference followed the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Mary Hawkes last month.
"I don't have that information," Eden responded again and again.
Nonetheless, a poll of almost 1,000 likely city voters by BWD Global for blogger Joe Monahan finds 17.8 percent say they have total confidence in the chief. Another 42.1 percent say they are somewhat confident, 24.9 percent say they are not confident and 6.3 percent say they are absolutely not confident in Eden.
That means almost 60 percent have some degree of confidence in the chief, while a little more than 30 percent do not have confidence. Also, 8.9 percent say they are not sure.
Eden's boss, Mayor Richard Berry, says he is determined to build that level of confidence.
"It's good to bring the officers themselves with the citizens that we serve together, to talk about questions and concerns," Berry said. "What you're going to see me doing as mayor over the coming weeks and months is setting up more opportunities for our officers to meet with the community."
That poll of 993 voters was conducted last week, so it does not reflect any impact from the latest officer-involved shooting of Armand Martin on Saturday night. Details are on the state's most-read politics blog at joemonahan.com.