- Associated Press - Friday, May 1, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Two Albuquerque city councilors say procurement and employment policies need to be tightened in the wake of a scathing audit that uncovered a cozy relationship involving a former police chief and Taser International.

Councilors Ken Sanchez and Klarissa Pena acknowledged Friday the audit is another black eye as the city works to reform its troubled police force.

“It does hurt because you’ve got your police chief who’s being questioned and he’s the leader of the organization,” Sanchez said. “It’s been a very trying time for the Albuquerque Police Department and we need to do everything to restore confidence.”

He and Pena last year requested a risk review after becoming concerned about a nearly $2 million no-bid contract for body cameras and video storage software awarded to Arizona-based Taser.

Both said terminating the contract may not be a solution, but going forward the process has to be competitive.

“We need to put this out for a full bid contract,” Pena said.

Sanchez has asked New Mexico Auditor Tim Keller to appear at Monday’s City Council meeting to detail the audit’s findings.

The yearlong review found a rampant disregard and circumventing of the city’s competitive contract process in the Taser deal.

Keller said Albuquerque’s former police Chief Ray Schultz likely violated city and state ethics laws in accepting to work with Taser and having overlapping jobs, but whether he can be prosecuted may depend on the legal question of whether his consulting amounted to “employment” and “representation” of Taser.

Schultz is now assistant police chief in Memorial Villages, Texas. His attorney, Luis Robles, said Schultz didn’t do anything wrong, adding that the city budget office led the procurement process and his successor made the final decision to award the contract.

District Attorney Kari Brandenburg and Attorney General Hector Balderas said they were reviewing the matter.

The city and state ethics laws call for a one-year cooling off period for employees after ending a job before representing a person or business in connection with a matter in which they were officially involved.

Councilor Sanchez said he would like to see that period extended to 18 months in Albuquerque.

“We can make changes so this does not happen again,” he said.

Brought in as a reformer in 2005, Schultz stepped down in 2013 under a cloud of bad morale and an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into alleged civil rights violations and questionable police shootings. He has said his departure wasn’t linked to those problems, and supporters have praised him for innovative policing.


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