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The finalists have been named for Albuquerque’s chief of police search. A nationwide search launched in October by Mayor Tim Keller marked the beginning to the end of his planned restructuring of the Albuquerque Police Department. The finalists include interim Chief of Police Harold Medina, and Commerce City, Colo. Chief of Police Clinton Nichols. Joseph P. Sullivan, a retired deputy commissioner of patrol operations in Philadelphia, Penn. rounds out the top three.

Interim Police Chief Medina vocalized wanting his position to be permanent. However, Mayor Keller decided to let the public choose who the best fit for the position would be. The search was developed by a committee and contracted specialists like Herb Crosby, the owner of Avtec in Albuquerque. With Crosby and other city staff, the committee held 40 community input sessions to gain insight into what Albuquerque residents would like to see from a potential new chief. The city also received over two thousand responses to their online survey regarding the matter.

Chief of police is a position that holds an important spot in the city government and represents the law of Albuquerque, so it’s paramount the city finds the best candidate for the position. Interim Chief Medina has been trying to open discussion, locally and nationally, on police reform. After the former chief of police was asked to retire, Medina took the task of cleaning up after his predecessor. 

Nichols has done some reforming of his own. In 2016 his department in Commerce City, Colo. dealt with in-department arrests, which was highlighted on a national level. He said his department went through a thorough review of their force policy in order to gain trust back from the city.

Philadelphia native Sullivan retired from the force last year after Philadelphia elected its new police commissioner. Sullivan was a key component when Philadelphia dealt with massive crowds and protests over the death of George Floyd.

With time ticking down before our new chief of police is announced, Albuquerque will need someone capable of balancing the priorities of the mayor, crime reduction and community oversight. If you’re interested in seeing what Albuquerque wants in its new chief, you can check out the survey results here.

The city is hosting a community webinar to meet the finalists on Jan. 23 at 1:30 pm.