The search for the new Albuquerque Chief of Police is finally over. Mayor Tim Keller announced he will formally nominate Interim-chief Harold Medina to permanently keep the position. A nationwide search was launched in October, and Medina was chosen from three final candidates.
Interim-chief Medina vocalized wanting his position to be permanent, but the mayor decided to let the public weigh in on who should take up the position. The search was developed by a committee and contracted specialist 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 received over two thousand responses to their online survey regarding the matter.
In 2014 Medina retired from the Albuquerque Police Department and shortly thereafter became the chief of police for the pueblo of Laguna. Medina returned to APD in 2017 and was appointed to deputy chief for the Albuquerque Police Department. He took over the department as interim-chief after Chief Mike Geir was asked to leave by Keller. Medina says he is committed to working with community organizations to create police reform and building trust within the Black community. Medina will be the first Hispanic chief of police for the department in over 20 years.
After the Department of Justice debacle, the city was tasked with creating a department that polices the department that oversees the police that police us. To lead that process, the mayor has nominated Sylvester Stanley to be the Superintendent of Police Reform to head up the DOJ reform efforts. Stanley, a retired Bernalillo County sheriff’s captain with over 40 years of experience, has done stints as police chief for Gallup, the Jicarilla Apache Department and for Isleta Pueblo. He is one of three African Americans who have served in a chief of police position in New Mexico. “The entire department has to be accountable, and the community needs to know we are serious about it. We need buy-in from the rank and file, and we are committed to police reform,” said Medina.
“We’re not going to give up on the vision we share for people for all walks of life to feel safe as they walk the streets of our city,” said Stanley. “We need to make sure the reforms last long after the DOJ monitor has gone.”
The position overseeing the court-mandated reform will be an interim position and will oversee the police academy and training mandates, as well as overseeing the use of force policies, police reform and internal investigations. Stanley will also be responsible for all disciplinary actions concerning officers. The position will report directly to the city’s chief of staff, Sarita Nair. “It’s become clear that we don’t have the luxury of waiting for someone from the outside to learn the ins and outs of crime and someone who can drive reform now,” said Keller of Stanley’s nomination.
Before either candidate is confirmed, City Council must hold hearings to approve the nominations.