“I believe in the department and our city and as such know that a true leader knows when it is the proper time to step aside and let the next generation continue the mission,” Schultz wrote in his letter.
Schultz has defended his record. He said this week in a statement to the Albuquerque Journal that he was proud of the work his officers do.
“All I can say is that I continue to work hard for the citizens of Albuquerque each and every day,” he said. “I have dedicated most of my adult working life to the Albuquerque Police Department, often giving up personal and family time in order to meet the around the clock demands of being a police chief in a major metropolitan police department.”
Albuquerque’s chief is hired and fired by the mayor. In 2006, then-Mayor Martin Chavez, a Democrat, appointed Schultz as chief. Current Republican Mayor Richard Berry reappointed Schultz in 2009.
City officials and the police officers’ union praised Schultz, saying crime rates have dropped and new public safety programs have been instituted.
Union president Greg Weber said the department is losing “one of the most innovative, forward thinking and hardworking police chiefs in the country. His ability to anticipate where the profession of law enforcement is going, how crime itself is evolving and his drive to give police better tools to combat crime is something we believe both citizens and officers will miss greatly.”
Still, Weber characterized it as a “tumultuous time” for the department and said it’s time for a new leader.
Schultz said he wants to keep working with federal investigators until his retirement.
As Berry’s administration develops a transition plan for the department and begins planning the search for the city’s next police chief, the mayor said maintaining public safety will be the priority.
Civil rights advocates said they are hopeful the city’s reputation can be rebuilt with leadership changes in the department.
“New ideas, new philosophies, that’s what we need,” Hall said.