State Auditor Tim Keller released a report this morning of the deal between the City of Albuquerque and TASER International, the company eventually hired to provide lapel cameras and software to officers within the Albuquerque Police Department.
“The State Auditor’s Office found a breakdown in the Albuquerque Police Department’s procurement processes, resulting from the ‘tone at the top’ of the City of Albuquerque’s administration,” said Keller. “The contracts between the City and TASER circumvented the competitive process, or, in former APD Chief Ray Schultz’s own words, the process was ‘greased.’ The taxpayers are not well served when the process is gamed by our leaders.”
Among other things, the report alleges that former Chief Ray Schultz’s contract with TASER overlapped with his formal employment with APD, as well as receiving gifts and other personal benefits, resulting in probable violations of City Conflict of Interest ordinances, as well as a tone from City Hall that perpetuated such an atmosphere.
“I applaud Auditor Keller for bringing this important information to the forefront, but I also am saddened at the trust the citizens of Albuquerque have lost in some of their leaders today,” said Deb Haaland, Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. “It’s time for Mayor Berry to reign in his administration, stop these scandals from marring the image of Albuquerque and hurting our citizens, and work toward trust and accountability for our City. As they say, ‘a fish spoils from the head down.’ Until Mayor Berry changes the culture of corruption and complacency at City Hall, I’m afraid we will continue to see more of the same.”
The case will now be referred to the Attorney General and District Attorney’s offices for further action.