KOB Eyewitness News 4 has learned former instructors at New Mexico’s Law Enforcement Academy say they were ostracized — three of them fired — after reporting superiors for illegal activity and for refusing to encourage cadets to cheat.
Those men are suing some of the biggest names in New Mexico criminal justice for whistle-blower retaliation…
The defendants include current Albuquerque PD chief Gorden Eden and LEA director Jack Jones.
All four plaintiffs have extensive law enforcement experience outside New Mexico — they were brought in to make the academy better.
But when they started asking questions and making changes they say they got into trouble.
Now they’re fighting back.
“When you have a 20 year veteran with a sparkling, clear, not a blemish on his resume — and then you get hit with this, because someone is trying to cover their ass, that’s wrong,” said Joe Campbell.
Campbell represents four men with similar stories…Their names are George Puga, Anthony Maxwell, Earl Voiles and a name that may sound familiar to KOB viewers — Phil Gallegos.
“They were told they needed to teach the test,” said Campbell. “From the very beginning, my clients said, ‘We can’t do that…'”
Gallegos and his fellow instructors tried to do something…”They made the ultimate recommendation that the law enforcement academy be shut down, revamped from the beginning, so you’d miss a class,” said CampBell.
But Campbell says that cost Gallegos his job…
Gallegos and his former colleagues say orders to teach exam questions to cadets came from the very top — from former DPS secretary now Albuquerque police chief Gorden Eden…
Current DPS secretary Greg Fouratt sent KOB this statement:
“Neither the Secretary nor the Chief Legal Counsel of DPS nor the Director of the NM Law Enforcement Academy has seen a copy of the lawsuit. Nonetheless, the department intends to vigorously defend against the allegations and believes them to be entirely without legal merit.”
Meanwhile, I get to sit back and look at two sides of the same coin: New Mexico’s education sucks so bad folks who want to be coppers aren’t capable – apparently – of passing the courses without illicit help. Our corrupt bureaucrats – of the police variety – are prepared to teach the test to assure students pass. Get to join one or another police department around the state.
The saddest part is that this affects all the good cops who worked their butts off to get through the academy without special help. I’ve been to graduation ceremonies at the LEA. Applauded friends who worked 24/7 studying and training to get through courses at the highest possible standard – because they wanted to be good cops. They’re still out there because they believe that “Protect and Serve” still means what it says.