This story is a staff report from The Paper.

Dr. LaTesha Watson

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On Monday, Mayor Tim Keller announced the nomination of LaTesha Watson, Ph.D. as Superintendent of Reform for the Albuquerque Police Department. Watson brings over 25 years of experience in policing, with an emphasis on executing impactful, progressive reform initiatives that are tailored to specific organizational and community needs.

If confirmed, she will co-lead the police department with Chief Harold Medina to oversee that court-ordered DOJ mandates are being followed within the police department.

The permanent appointment of Watson as Superintendent of Reform will go to City Council for confirmation. The Superintendent of Reform is responsible for overseeing all Academy operations including cadet training, continuous education and the development of curriculum. The Superintendent oversees police reform efforts and oversees all internal affairs matters. The position will have the final say on police disciplinary actions.

“It is an honor to be afforded this opportunity to serve in the City of Albuquerque,” Watson said. “The APD team, Albuquerque residents, Chief Harold Medina, and I will remain steadfast in effecting positive change while ensuring transparency, integrity, accountability, and commitment.”

“We’ve put a lot of work into considering what reform means for our community, and how we reach important goals that allow our department to do the best job of protecting and serving the people of Albuquerque,” Keller said. “This means putting leaders in place who understand that there’s a balance, and who will work to break down roadblocks.”

“We are turning the corner on reform at APD, and I look forward to working with Dr. LaTesha Watson to ensure the changes we are making will be both lasting and flexible enough to adapt to the needs of the community,” Chief Harold Medina said.

Previously, Watson served as the Director of the Office of Public Safety Accountability for the City of Sacramento. There, she worked to oversee the activities of the Sacramento Police and Fire Departments.

Watson’s law enforcement career led her to Chief of Police for the City of Henderson, Nevada, serving as their first Black female chief.  In addition to Watson’s career in law enforcement, she is an international public safety consultant, published author and experienced public speaker focused on community-oriented policing and women in policing.

The permanent appointment of Watson as Superintendent of Reform will go to City Council for confirmation.