ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz is drawing fire for saying “nature was at play” when he was asked during an interview about officers’ extramarital affairs — behavior that figured in a philandering former officer’s recent trial.
Interviewed by KOB-TV before his retirement next week, Schultz elaborated after saying that kind of conduct is a concern.
“In law enforcement, you’ve got young, good-looking folks that do this job,” Schultz told KOB (http://bit.ly/1dXzNq4). “That’s our target group of employees — 20-, 30-, 40-year-old men and women. We ask them to stay in good shape. There’s nature at play.”
The station aired that part of its interview Tuesday.
City Council President Dan Lewis said Schultz should have said adultery is not OK and that officers should be held “to a higher standard than that.”
Meanwhile, mayoral candidate Pete Dinelli called Schultz’s comments disgusting.
Lewis and Dinelli said Schultz should not remain as a paid consultant for the department for a month after he retires, a plan that incumbent Mayor Richard Berry announced last week.
“There is no place for someone with these beliefs to give advice to our city, and we must immediately change the moral tone of APD leadership,” Dinelli said.
Schultz told the Albuquerque Journal (http://bit.ly/145lCR0 ) he doesn’t excuse inappropriate behavior and was talking about challenges that police departments face.
Schultz also said his record as chief shows “inappropriate behavior will be dealt with and is not condoned.”
In October, Schultz instituted a “nepotism and fraternization policy” that requires APD employees to remove themselves from the selection, hiring and promotions process of fellow employees with whom they have family or romantic relationships.
The policy also bars APD employees who are related or romantically involved from being assigned to the same shift or unit without approval by top department officials.
Mayor Richard Berry said he expects the “highest level of conduct” from police and other city employees.
“Fortunately, we see that high level of conduct almost all the time,” Berry said. “In those rare instances that we don’t, it’s disappointing and should not be condoned.”
Officers’ extramarital affairs figured in testimony in the recent trial of former Albuquerque officer Levi Chavez in the shooting death of his wife.
Witnesses described a workplace where interoffice romance was rampant and said both Levi and Tera Chavez had affairs with members of the police force.
Chavez was acquitted July 16.