Longtime NM lawman named new APD chief

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – City officials have tapped longtime New Mexico lawman Gorden Eden to lead the troubled Albuquerque Police Department.

Mayor Richard Berry and Rob Perry, his top administrator, announced Eden as chief at a news conference Friday morning. Eden replaces Allen Banks, who has held the top post at New Mexico’s largest law enforcement agency as interim chief since August.

Complete Coverage: New APD Chief

Banks is leaving Albuquerque to become chief of the Round Rock Police Department outside Austin, Tex., at the end of this month.

Berry chose Eden, 59, from a candidate pool of more than 40 names that included several other New Mexico law enforcement veterans and other from around the country. Banks did not apply for the top job at APD.

The city announced Eden and two others as finalists — both from Texas — Thursday afternoon.

Eden has a long history in New Mexico, both in law enforcement and as an administrator. And he has experience with federal law enforcement, which may have been a primary selling point for him to lead APD as the department faces a pending U.S. Justice Department civil rights investigation.

Since January 2011, Eden has served in Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration as secretary of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety. Previously, he worked for eight years as U.S. Marshal for the district of New Mexico.

Eden began his career in law enforcement with New Mexico State Police in 1975. He worked his way up through the ranks and, by 1988, was overseeing the State Police training and recruiting division.

That experience also will be vital at APD: how the police department trains and recruits officers is among the primary focus areas for the DOJ.

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Eden left State Police for Northwestern University in 1988. He spent two years there as director of the school of police staff and command. Then he came back to New Mexico and spent four more years overseeing recruiting and training for State Police.

He spent the next five years, from 1997 to 2002, outside law enforcement — running the state Motor Vehicle Division under then-Gov. Gary Johnson.

President George W. Bush appointed Eden U.S. Marshal in 2002. He served until 2010.

As state DPS secretary, Eden oversaw the agency where he began his career: State Police. That department has been under scrutiny in recent months for a number of high-profile shootings by officers, including one near Taos that was caught on tape. The officer who fired at a fleeing minivan full of children and their mother was later fired.

Eden will take the reins at APD during what is perhaps the most troubled time in the department’s history.

Since 2010, APD officers have fired shots at 35 people. More than 20 of those people have died.

The spike in shootings, along with a series of high-profile excessive force cases and other public blunders by the department, led the Justice Department to launch a sweeping investigation of APD in November 2012. Federal investigators, who appear to be wrapping up their probe of APD, have been focused on a number of areas — primarily whether city police have a pattern of violating citizens’ civil rights, specifically through the use of force.

Stay with KRQE News 13 for updates from the news conference and we’ll have full reports in all of our broadcasts throughout the day.

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