By Ludella Awad / NM News Port /
After a six month national search for a new police chief, Mayor Tim Keller has named two leadership positions at the Albuquerque Police Department with Harold Medina being selected as Chief of Police and Sylvester Stanley as Superintendent of Police Reform.
“Each of these leaders will focus on their core duties, while supporting each other to get the best results,” Keller said. “At the end of the day, it is simply unrealistic and a disservice to the realities of crime and reform to think that one leader can solve all of our challenges.”
Medina, an APD veteran, stepped in as the department’s interim chief after former Chief Mike Geier was forced out in September 2020. He joined APD in 1995, working his way up the ranks from a patrol officer to commander. Before that, Medina served as police chief at the Laguna Pueblo Police Department. He returned to APD as deputy chief in 2017.
As police chief, Medina will focus on core crime fighting activities, recruiting police officers, and building morale.
“We talk a lot about culture change, but we have to show that the culture change is real, and it has to start at the top,” Medina said.” I want to empower our officers and supervisors to do their job with integrity, but the entire department has to be accountable, and we have to be transparent about that accountability and the community needs to know that we’re serious about it.”
Stanley is one of only three African-Americans to serve as a police chief in New Mexico. He has been in that role four times — most recently as chief of the Isleta Pueblo Police Department.
Stanley will focus on police reform, meeting Department of Justice requirements and managing police academy operations. He’ll also oversee police training plus two internal affairs divisions as well as other duties including matters of discipline and use-of-force reviews.
For more than six years APD has been under A Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) established in 2014. The reform deal between The City of Albuquerque and the U.S. Justice Department is designed to ensure constitutional policing.
In the most recent report by the court-appointed monitor, his Twelfth Report, James Ginger criticized APD for ongoing “systematic failures,” including officers failing to report use-of-force incidents or misconduct.
“Bringing real reform and culture change is a mighty task,” Stanley said. “It’s no secret that the Department has been struggling to prevent and correct mistakes through training and to hold people accountable for misconduct when that training doesn’t work.”
Ludella Awad is a reporter for New Mexico News Port. She can be reached on Twitter @LudellaAwad or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org