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March 18, 2013
About the Video: Mayor Richard Berry this afternoon told reporters that embattled Police Chief Ray Schultz will remain in his post through the end of July.
From there, Berry said he will appoint an interim chief and begin a national search to permanently replace to lead APD’s roughly 960 officers. The mayor said he will not name a permanent chief unless he wins the October election for a second term at City Hall.
During a brief interview this afternoon with KOAT-TV and the Journal, Schultz said he is stepping down after eight years at the helm of APD to attend to family concerns and because he passed a milestone this month: 30 years with the department.
On Friday afternoon, a city spokeswoman issued a news release announcing Schultz’s “plans to retire” — hours before a Bernalillo County jury announced a $10.3 million judgment against the city for a 2010 fatal police shooting, one of the largest in APD history.
The news release came two days after City Council President told the Journal that it was time for Schultz to step aside and make way for new leadership of the state’s largest law enforcement agency. Attached to the release was a letter the chief had written to city Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry, advising Perry of his plans to retire. The letter was dated the same day Lewis had spoken to the Journal about his wishes for a new chief.
But during this afternoon’s interview, Schultz insisted that neither Lewis’ calls for him to step down nor the jury’s deliberations in the officer-involved shooting case had anything to do with his decision to leave APD.
“It was a matter of timing,” he said, adding that the mayor did not force him out.
For his part, Berry called Schultz the best police chief Albuquerque has ever seen. He said the chief is staying for a few more months to assist in a “smooth transition” of power at APD and to continue working with the U.S. Department of Justice, which is in the middle of a sweeping civil rights investigation of the police department.
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