Albuquerque Police Chief Mike Geier announces sudden retirement

Police Chief Mike Geier, along with Mayor Keller, updates the public on the state's COVID-19 response at a press conference. (Ludella Awad / NM News Port)

By Ludella Awad / NM News Port

After three years as police chief of the Albuquerque Police Department, Mike Geier is retiring, effective Sept. 11, 2020. Geier made the announcement on Sept. 9. 

“It has been an honor to lead the Albuquerque Police Department,” Geier said in a statement. “After 47 years in law enforcement, it’s time to pass the baton.”

Mayor Tim Keller thanked Geier, whom Keller hired soon after his election.

Chief Geier came in at a pivotal moment for the department, and did a courageous job righting the ship through our first year, getting new leadership in place, focusing on gun violence and getting reform efforts on track,” Keller said.

Keller named Deputy Chief Harold Medina as acting chief. Keller said in the upcoming weeks, duties in the chain of command structure will be in transition and a timeline will be provided as the department searches for a long-term chief. 

While the department remains under scrutiny by the Department of Justice, Keller credited Geier’s effort to reconstruct the use of force policies by stepping up new leadership, hiring more officers, and establishing innovative career and development paths in the department. 

“It’s hard for me to express in an appropriate, professional way how bad things were at APD three years ago,” Keller said  “I am forever grateful and I think our city should be grateful — and the department — for a chief who cleaned things up and got us this far.” 

APD came under scrutiny a few months ago over multiple complaints relating to police overtime practices.  

New Mexico State Auditor Brian Colon launched an internal affairs investigation after his office said they found enough “red flags” concerning police overtime practices. 

Chief Geier cited personal decisions for his decision to retire, citing his wife’s illness as a main factor. 

“Chief Geier has been a strong leader and we will miss his steadfast commitment to our City,” City Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair said. 

Ludella Awad is a reporter for the New Mexico News Port. She can be reached on Facebook (here) or at nmnewsport@gmail.com.