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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Police Corruption

"Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton

Seattle Police Chief Roy Stamper has just published this book dealing with issues that touch upon the darker side of Police work. It is certain to make him unpopular among some police.

The way I see it, the only police Chief Stamper has to worry about are dirty cops: misogynists, racists and homophobes.

"With the publication of his book, Breaking Rank (Nation Books), Stamper is back in the line of fire. In this part-memoir, part-polemic, he decries the state of modern law enforcement and calls for its reform. With sensational chapter titles such as "Why White Cops Kill Black Men" and "Sexual Predators in Uniform," Stamper is clearly unafraid of attracting attention. But he backs up these teasers with thoughtfully weighed opinions and personal anecdotes, many of them reinforced by research."

The book is certain to be controversial; it challenges any beliefs that police officers are always the 'good guys.' To be certain police officers lay their lives on the line every day in order to protect and serve their community. However, any organization with that kind of trust is also vulnerable to corruption. As a community, it is incumbent upon each of us to realize that does not happen.

While Chief Stamper's book covers the Seattle PD, it may prove to be a worthy read because Seattle PD is likely no different from any other Police organization throughout the nation.
New Mexico State Police has had its fair share of controversy lately.
1] No Black Cop = No problem: driving a Black, WestPoint graduate away from the department away because they determined he was not up to their standards. There's a comforting thought, George Patton, Colin Powell, Dwight Eisenhower wouldn't pass muster in the NMSP.

2] Racism in NMSP = No Problem: An African American NMSP Officer was maced and handcuffed to a tree - sounds like a bad joke or maybe even a lie that a black officer is subjected to this kind of treatment in New Mexico. Rest assured, it did happen (click on the green highlighted area to read the article from the Albuquerque Journal). The Black Officer ended up winning his lawsuit against the New Mexico Department of Public safety - $300,000.00.
Officer Argus, the man wronged in this incident said, "The State Police just don't think they are part of the real world."

3] No Due Process = Problem: On Monday, 13 June 2005 - Three NMSP Officers who had been denied their due process and who maintain they were falsely accused were exonerated in Santa Fe's 1st Judicial District Court when Judge Carol Vigil determined their rights had been violated.

See if you can put yourself in this position:

Imagine how it feels after completing your Academy days and you become a full-fledged Police Officer. Imagine the pride and sense of accomplishment as your family and the public watch you take on a thankless, quite often lonely job. Imagine what it feels like to know you are putting your life on the line for complete strangers and you do it out of a profound sense of duty. You recall watching your partner being shot and how you dragged him into the vehicle while still taking fire. You drive madly to get away and realize you have been gut-shot. Your heroic actions saved your partner's life and you live to see another day - when you are shot at again. That is your life; catching bad guys who deal drugs. Then your nightmare begins.

Now, imagine how it feels when you are accused of a criminal wrong-doing. Imagine what it feels like when your badge, commission card, weapon and duty vehicle are stripped from you. Your Police Officer Civil rights have been violated. Imagine how it feels to be notified as you start your Christmas vacation that you are no longer welcome to the organization. They strip you and tell you, 'Don't call us. We'll call you." How must it feel knowing there is no time limit for the NMSP to use as they try to break you down psychologically? They have your Psychological profile and they ought to be able to determine your weaknesses and so they use them to wear you down. How long do you think you could last against a tailor-made assault on your mind? How might you fare if you knew all your fellow police officers who you trust and who once trusted you now think you might be a dirty cop? How would you feel if it was all a lie? How would you feel if you watched your family suffer day in and day out as your character and integrity are being assassinated because you have been shunned, 'pending investigation?'

Imagine what it must be like as you wait for up to two-and-a-half years for your company to build its case against you. They have nothing but they plant seeds of doubt and mistrust. Imagine that you are a police officer and your department decides to get rid of you but they have no evidence. Meanwhile, you cannot get another Law Enforcement job because any one who calls for a job reference is told you are under investigation for some wrongdoing. If you quit, then your career is dead in the water because no one is going to hire a police officer that quit while under investigation - it appears like an admission of guilt. So, you are locked into this hellish emotional rollercoaster ride compliments of the NMSP.
This is just one of the three stories that actually happened with the three NMSP Police Officers that were recently exonerated. The other's stories are similar - perhaps one day I will relate them here as well.

While none of the officers in this article were ever criminally charged, they incurred the wrath of Top Brass and were thus subjected to a war of psychological attrition. NMSP's strategy to get rid of police officers who incur their wrath did not work this time. NMSP's efforts to try the three cases in the media and not in court - because they knew their contentions were biased and unfounded - turned out to be a bad idea. While responding, "No comment' out of one side of their mouths, they simultanelously leaked information - through court records that the media was all to happy to publish because they portrayed the three police officers as corrupt. Storys about dirty cops sell newspapers. The tactic failed and Justice was preserved. As a result, the three honest police officers must be reinstated. That is, unless NMSP decides to file an appeal. Their case is weak and it is highly doubtful they will win. If the officers were dirty, they would have been charged criminally for the allegations they faced but NMSP could not do that, so the smear campaign ensued. The elements of the crime simply could not be met and decent men had their names dragged through the mud.

I have not seen any news in the Santa Fe New Mexican regarding
Judge Carol Vigil's final disposition on this case. They did however, publish the entire sordid story regarding allegations about the 'Dirty' Police Officers. I wonder who John Denko and NMSP Chief Carlos Maldonado's connection at the Santa Fe New Mexican might be?

To the Santa Fe New Mexican reporter Jason Auslander: Where is the follow up story?

The Officers have been on paid administrative leave for months because NMSP Administration believed they could wear down the Officer's resolve to clear their names. The NMSP long ago figured a way to side-step targeted Officer's civil rights but their underhandedness was thwarted this time by the Constitution.

The end result is simple; three good police officers have their jobs back and the Top Brass at NMSP have egg on their faces just as they deserve.
Hopefully these officers will not let this problem die quietly as NMSP's Top Brass would like it to. It would be great to see these exonerated Police Officers take the Top Brass to court and seek damages for pain and suffering due to defamation of character, slander, libel and violation of their Police Civil Rights to due process. Such monetary relief ought to be in the millions of dollars because these officers' reputations have been all but destroyed among the rank and file.

With outstanding representation by attorneys like former New Mexico Department of Corrections Secretary, Rob Perry, Albuquerque's Joseph Riggs and Taos' Alan Maestas, this should not prove to be too difficult. they easily handled Albert Fugere, NMSP's Staff Counsel, a man famous for his DPS Police Academy Law Block presentations because he repeatedly uses the admonition to Cadets, "Bad cop! No Donut!" It probably pays for NMSP to retain a man who has contempt for police when they decide to go after one of their own.

Albuquerque Police Department (APD) has three examples of it's own:
1] No Victim = No Crime: They just recently swept the biggest corruption case in their departmental history under the rug.2] No Citation = No Problem: Their Chief Ray Schultz announced his Officers would not be cited for traffic violations because they will be subject to departmental sanctions instead - in other words APD Officers are charged to uphold the law but they can break it and get away with it.

3] Bad Cop = Crime: APD was also recently forced to apprehend a sexual predator among them: APD Vice Detective Timothy J. Chavez was charged with raping a 14 year-old girl - There's no way to hide something like this.

You can read more about Chief Stamper's book by clicking on the title of this post - highlighted in green. I have not yet purchased this book but I am on my way to Barnes & Noble and Borders to pick it up after I am finished posting.


At Thu Jun 16, 12:04:00 AM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former retired state cop, all I can say is "wow". I came on in the days when we were put in one man duty stations. Back up was no where to be seen, you relied on God and some local rancher to help you out on a bad day. But what got us through those tough days was we showed respect so in return is what we got. Of course this all goes back to good leadership, and training. Those two rookie officers made some very bad decisions, but now lets look at who trained them and who are their leaders. lets start with John Denko, who did about one year in the field then remained a pilot his entire career. Remember the days of Bruce King when he was a Major and was using the State police helicopter to campaign for King. It doesnt surprise me none that the rank and file did a vote of no confidnece on him a few months ago, but when you donate money to " BIG BROTHER BILL", of course your not goint to be asked to step down, even though all the turmoil that is going on. Now lets move to Chief Maldonado, wow can you say scared of his own shadow for this guy. I went to one of community meetings and this guy talks to his officers about, his education and what he learned there in college, one story he told to his troops was about 5 monkeys in a cage, that anytime you introduced any type of food to this cage they would all attack each other instead of helping each out. The end result of his story was that all the monkeys starved, I guess he didnt learn anything, because at this last session I sat in some of the committiees where he out right lied about morale and pay of his officers. What is he? he is the dominant monkey in the cage starving all the rest of his men. Life is good when you get promoted from captain all the way up to chief. What the public doesnt know is that this man was an outcast under Frank Taylor who was the former chief of state police. I wonder why? now lets move to some of his pit bulls ( deputy chief and major or and the newly created rank of inspector). ok Inspector Ramirez was a sergeant 5 years ago when i left the department, then went from Lt. all the way up to inspector. I wondered for a while where this rank came from, but then at a community meeting Inspector Romero, Chief Maldonados buddy who had just gotten promoted said, it was his idea to create this position. He explained that he was going out of state a lot, and needed a bigger title than major!!! Then there is Deputy Chief branch who as an officer was fired for lying to, then Chief Denko, wow and to think they now share an office. But lets still look at the mighty chief carlos maldonado who, went to disneyland on a state vehicle with all his family last Easter, "Embezzelement maybe", oh and did you know as the former captain assigned to the criminal section he would make his subordinate officers drive him to UNM on duty hours, while having back then Lt. Romero, current inspector lie to Chief Taylor of his were abouts. Not to mention what is a captain who is now the chief doing living on a free trailier space in Santa fe, Shouldnt this space be given to some young patrol man, not to mention he was also renting out his trailer to another officer. Even though he did not pay rent for this space. "Embezzlement again" We need to cut the head off of the snake in order to take control again. So if you look the actions of these two rookie officers i really wonder where the fingers should be pointed at. Also, me as a former training officer of the NMSP academy, I wonder know why you have "ROOKIES" training rookies, the current training officers have less than two years in the field at the time they were sent to Santa Fe to train our state police officers. As a former and currently retired State police officer I am disgusted with what these people have done to tarnish the badge, and the department i so proudly served. I am glad to see that the APD officers did not stand for this type of behavior, and I do appologize to them for what they were forced to do to a fellow officer. But my hat is off to them. One last thing how is that a, graduate from west point ex- army ranger not good enough for state police. What is wrong with this picture, when I was on we used to refer to Denko as the " Little Hitler", which still stands true now. I wonder everyday if this officer I think Brown was his name wasnt harrased because of his skin color. Look at the incident where a white officer in an UNMARKED car stopped a kid ( which is against state law) slapped him and put a gun to his neck, he is still on the department. Wow, if i wasnt a former state cop I would really be scared and wonder what is going on here, but as long as " Little Hitler" and Mr. Embezzelment are in power what can we expect.

At Fri Jun 17, 08:15:00 AM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

Powerful thoughts Anonymous,

Your post is jam-packed with information. If what you have written is true, then it is truly disturbing. How can any of this information be substantiated?

By the way I did pick up, Breaking Rank by Seattle PD Chief Norm Stamper like I said I was going to - it is very engaging - Borders sent me a 25% discount coupon so the book only cost twenty bucks and change.

The first chapter is entitled, "An open letter to a cop." It asks many questions to the Chief of Tacoma PD who killed his wife and then truned the gun on himself. He committed the murder-suicide in front of their two children. The letter is filled with an insight that is equally disturbing as it is informative.

I'm not certain this is the kind of book I can read cover-to-cover in a short amount of time. If the rest of the book is like the first chapter, it is going to be emotionally draining.

Perhaps that is what Stamper is trying to get across; how stressful police work is and how even the most idealistic people can become jaded. The man can write.

Thanks for your post Anonymous


At Sat Jun 18, 12:38:00 AM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Culture within State Police is appalling because officers are afraid to speak out or stand up for themselves in fear of being retaliated against. All you have to do is read your local newspaper to find out “DPS,” is full of smoke and mirrors. Who do they think they’re fooling!! DPS is only concerned with protecting the image of the department thereby stepping on anyone who does not agree with their agenda. They control local (MSM) because if it wasn’t for investigative reporters such as KRQE’s, Larry Barker nothing would be available to the general public. But, DPS is quick to eat their own if there is a marginal infraction involving one of their officers.

Lastly, DPS was recently sued by an outside party who requested various reports of wrongdoing by high ranking officials. However, after a lawsuit reports were finally relinquished, but names of parties involved were deleted. DPS paid out $40,000 dollars of tax payer’s dollars for violating the public records information act. State Police needs to come clean!!!! Look at what happened to the alleged drug dealer who was unarmed that was shot and killed in Chimayo by NMSP narcotic agents. The attorney for the family Robert Rothstein has not been provided with any reports or information justifying the shooting. Ultimately, the public is responsible for paying State Police salaries, therefore pertinent information should be available not only to the public, but to Robert Rothstein. According to DPS an investigative inquiry was complete clearing the officer of any wrongdoing; however, no reports have been submitted to the attorney?? According to Rothstein IA investigations are CONFIDENTIAL, therefore unavailable for review. It sounds to me something is wrong with the shooting is it justifiable or not. Plain and simple!!!

At Sat Jun 18, 02:57:00 AM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...


Have you ever read Joseph Keller's,
"Catch 22?" It certainly sounds a lot like what you have described. Not even NMSP is above the law - this sounds like the tactic they have adopted in dealing with police officers who either have upset the top brass or officers who do not have shared mentalities and thus do not eat out of the same trough as the powers that be. From what I can see, that particular department is rife with inbred corruption where minor infractions are punished capriciously and arbitrarily. Other, more serious crimes are simply ignored.

One of my very good friends, a retired NMSP Captain - famous for bucking the system there - used to say of NMSP, "It's not what you know or who you know; its how you blow - who you know!"

The NMSP is an organization that jealously guards itself against every one who comes against it. It has out-lasted Governors and has taken on a life all it's own. It does not pre-date the US Constitution and Rothstein knows that. In the end, he will prevail over the NMSP because, as has been said here before, "This is a country of laws, not of men." Times are changing and as the public becomes more aware - thanks to the internet - News agencies that look the other way will be held to account as well.

I have a teemendous faith in the American people. They will make the right decisions once they have all the information. Mark my words; NMSP's days are numbered. Good old boy politics are a repulsive relic of the past and NMSP's top brass know it - they are only hanging on as long as they can.

Be safe,

At Tue Jun 21, 05:36:00 PM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Well I did read the article of the three state police officer who had their due process violated. It really doesnt surprise me one bit. How can an orginagation like this continue to operate in this manner. What really catches my attention is that they were all hispanic and then the fact of the black officer. It sounds to me like their seems to be some racially motivated issues here. I know a few state police officers who are personal friends of mine and have told me of some of the deep secrets of this organization. Also this incident the other day with the Governors security boys refusing to pull over for apd is crazy. I really can see and know that these guys are out of control. But look a few years back where the case of the state police officer had alledgelly killed his wife in Los Lunas, and they covered up the investigation. It was odd that the night before dateline was going to interview one of the witnesses how that person ended up dead hanging from a rope. I am sure that is why so many of these guys are afraid to speak up. That retired officer that made the comments on these issues should speak up publicly, I believe that this monster needs to be stopped before more innocent people get hurt . I do know that there a some honest good officers on that department, but I also know that Chief Maldonado does have quite a history to include several domestic violence issues with his ex-wife. I know everyone has a past but, with all that has surfaced over the past few years and the survey of no conficence speak tremedously about the guy. I think we need to bring our troops home and have them fight the evil and wrong doing of this organization. This is very unfortunate for these officers and I hope they get all that is entitled to them.

At Wed Mar 11, 06:53:00 PM MDT, Blogger meme said...

and now Chief Maldonado is Chief of Police in Laredo, TX.

Has been there less than a year, and numerous employees, officers and civilians have incurred the wrath of administration.

What will happen to this already suffering department? Once faithful employees will leave in droves.

At Fri Mar 27, 04:37:00 PM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a cop in Laredo I can tell you that we have seen our share of misbehavior and corruption. The last major effort by city management to find a leader with the knowledge and wisdom to bring the luster back resulted in an under the table deal that ended with Carlos Maldonado as chief. I can tell you this much already, he has committed so much wrong doing in terms of collective bargaining agreements and budget that it will probably label him as an incompetent leader.

At Mon Mar 30, 09:55:00 PM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a dedicated loyal police officer for the city of laredo police dept. and it took me a couple of weeks to determine that carlos maldonaldo is a phony and a con man.the individual has no idea of what he is doing and when something goes wrong he blames others.I no longer am employed there and others have followed wishing to retire instead of wathing this debacle. I will say this when maldonaldo is finished with this dept it will take years to fix his mess
and probably 100's of tousands of dollars of litigation.

At Wed Apr 01, 08:11:00 AM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

This is from Joe Monahan - a local news reporter - he gets inside info. Here's what he had to report about Carlos Maldonado and Legislator Debbie Rodella, wife of Ex NMSP Officer Tommy Rodella:

Rep. Rodella
A love affair with a NM legislator cost New Mexico's top cop his job. That's what ABQ's KRQE-TV news reported weeks ago. It was a story never shot down by chief Charles Maldonado. And there's new development from Espanola. The Rio Grande Sun has explored the relationship between Dem Rio Arriba State Rep. Debbie Rodella and Maldondano. Based on cell phone records, the paper concludes that there was a significant relationship between the two. Whether it was a romantic relationship is left for the reader to decide.

At the time of his resignation, it was reported that the chief was quitting because the spouse of a legislator was threatening to go public about his affair. The husband of Debbie Rodella is Tommy Rodella, who resigned as a Rio Arriba magistrate judge after violating procedures, but is again running for the job. Neither Maldonado or Debbie Rodella are talking, but Debbie is actively campaigning for re-election."

You can copy the following link and paste it into your browser:

At Wed Apr 01, 08:23:00 AM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

An article from the Rio Grande Sun Newsparer- Espanola, New Mexico:

march 23, 2006
Former Top Cop, State Rep.
Exchanged Cell Calls
State chief called Rodella
nine times before resignation
By Mike Gisick
SUN Staff Writer
In the last months of his career, former State Police Chief Carlos Maldonado exchanged
frequent phone calls with state Rep. Debbie Rodella, D-La Mesilla.
On Nov. 2, 2005, for example, Maldonado called Rodella from a trip to Virginia. It was 9:06
p.m., and he and Rodella talked for 92 minutes — the longest single call in the more than one
year of phone records turned over last week by the Department of Public Safety.
During his final four months on the job, Maldonado talked to Rodella at least 19 times on his
state-issued cell phone, those records show. Maldonado and Rodella talked nine times during the
month-long billing cycle that ended Feb. 23.
Maldonado announced his plan to retire the next day.
A few days later, KRQE-TV reported a story already spreading fast. Maldonado was forced to
retire, the story went, after the husband of a state legislator confronted the state with evidence of
an affair between his wife and the chief.

Talk about being a team player... I understand love thy neighbor, but love thy neighbor's wife (especially a fellow cop's wife) - AYE CARAMBA! I suppose acts of moral turpetude don't matter when you are the 'cop on top' - pardon the pun.

At Thu Apr 02, 09:58:00 PM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

More about maldonaldo apparently the love chief is at it again. And this time he can not only handle his wife but a secretary to boot and a female officer from the community relations unit to. this "man" is a cheat, liar and hypocrite. And having been exposed to him I can tell you that he does not care.

At Tue Apr 07, 07:23:00 PM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At Tue Apr 07, 09:24:00 PM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At Thu Apr 09, 09:34:00 PM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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