ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A survey set out to measure the attitudes and morale of high level police officers and employees in the Albuquerque Police Department is now getting pushed aside by top city brass over questions about its accuracy.
The survey, conducted by a national company in December, was meant to poll roughly 243 supervisory employees including sergeants, lieutenants, commanders, executive staff, civilian supervisors and civilian managers.
Instead, APD Chief Gorden Eden says the department received 217 responses, but that some of those could have been duplicates, and there’s no way to track exactly who filled out the survey, or if they were eligible to fill it out.
While the Chief is rejecting the results, the union representing many Albuquerque Police officers believes the negative results are accurate.
Based on the cumulative results of the survey, APD received a “D” letter grade, or a 61.2 in what the survey lists as “overall team health.”
The company that conducted the survey, Giant Worldwide, gathered the information by posing 30 statements to respondents. Each respondent was asked to rate the statements. Ratings on each of those statements were later rated a letter-grade scale of A through F.
One of the lowest rated statements said, “Our team does not have drama and gossip – we speak the truth in love without fear or reprisals.” That statement received a 50.5, or an “F” rating.
Another statement, “Our team promotes a health work / life balance and burnout is not an issue,” received a 46.5, or an “F” rating.
Out of the 30 statements, the highest rated statement scored a 70.1, or C rating: “our team enjoys working with one another – we value and respect each other’s contributions.
The survey company claims the results “aren’t uncommon” and “are not absolute but rather are perspectives derived from a specific point in time and in no way a reflection of systemic issues.” However, the data was originally set out to measure a baseline of attitudes within APD.
A memo signed by Chief Gorden Eden ordered the survey to be completed by civilian and sworn supervisors as part of the department’s “biannual manager training.” But the chief now says he won’t trust the data that’s been collected.
“Unfortunately the information, we feel … has been tampered with in such a way that I just can’t, I can’t trust all of the information,” said Chief Eden in an interview with KRQE News 13 on Friday.
The survey came to fruition as the department evaluated the Giant Worldwide company for further consulting services. APD says Giant Worldwide offered to do the study for free.
“We were considering using them to help develop our team building and leadership training,” said Chief Eden.
APD recently began what it calls a “Six Sigma” training effort as part of its reform process. A recent APD press release described “Six Sigma” as, “a world-renowned program which seeks to advance the output of any process by identifying and removing unnecessary procedures or defects.”
“In all fairness, you know, I do need a better way to manage and find out, as from a manager’s standpoint, about what do our people need to get better,” said Chief Eden.
But Chief Eden says he has concerns about an apparent lack of safeguards the survey had in place to prevent the wrong people from accessing the form, and submitting duplicate responses.
“I have only 23 lieutenants but there were 136 responses from people that identified as lieutenants,” said Chief Eden.
Chief Eden says other numbers showed similar disparities: APD has 6 executive staffers, but 50 responded. There are 14 commanders, but 10 responded. There are 116 sergeants, but 0 responded. Out of 84 civilian managers, there were 21 recorded responses.
“We were told that the links were set up in a way that a person could go back in and answer the questions over and over and over again,” said Chief Eden.
The Chief also claims all 1,500 department employees had access to the survey, a claim the Albuquerque Police Officers Association disagrees with.
“The supervisor survey was never distributed to our rank and file officers,” said APOA President Shaun Willoughby in a statement released Friday. “We know that supervisor staff and civilian management staff took this survey, as it was intended by senior leadership who retained these services.”
The department is sharing what can only be described as alternative facts. The supervisor survey was never distributed to our rank and file officers. We know that supervisor staff and civilian management staff took this survey, as it was intended by senior leadership who retained these services. Sadly, this goes directly to the heart of what’s wrong with this department, they deflect, delay, or deceive rather than face the reality of their current situation. We will continue to say that our officers and the public deserve better.
–Shaun Willoughby, President of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association
KRQE News 13 asked Chief Gorden Eden if he felt anything could be gleaned from the survey results.
“It’s going to be very difficult to do that,” said Chief Eden. “I think we have to figure out a different way to do it, and we’re certainly going to be working with the local business community.”
Chief Eden says the department will be seeking local companies in the future to either do survey work, or to figure out their practices of reviewing workplace attitudes.
When asked if his department had low morale, Chief Eden responded, “One of the things we’re trying to do is measure that, and this certainly didn’t do it for us. So we have to figure out a better way to do it.”
KRQE News 13 asked the same question about morale of Mayor Richard Berry. His response was different.
“I believe when you have the most unprecedented reforms that you’ve ever had, you just got done rewriting 37 policies, all of them, and you’re training to them, and you’re trying to work through the DOJ reform process, I can absolutely understand,” said Mayor Berry.