Two More Councilors Question Schultz's Links with Taser

A spokeswoman for Mayor Richard Berry said that the city's procurement office approved the sole-source procedure

April 29--Two more city councilors are calling for a review of ex-Police Chief Ray Schultz's dealings with Taser, the company that provides lapel cameras and other equipment for the Albuquerque Police Department.

Councilors Ken Sanchez and Klarissa Pena sent a letter to state Auditor Hector Balderas on Monday asking him to conduct an "independent review" of how Taser received a no-bid city contract and whether there was any improper conduct by Schultz.

Councilor Dan Lewis on Friday asked the city's inspector general to investigate.

Schultz, who retired as chief last year, now works under contract as a consultant for Taser.

He says the city's contracts with Taser were handled properly.

In their letter to the state auditor, Sanchez and Pena said Schultz "was instrumental in sealing the city's deal with Taser and at one point sent an email to a representative of Taser stating that the approval process for the contract 'has been greased.' "

KRQE television reported last week that it had obtained emails from Schultz -- one of which includes him telling a Taser representative not to worry about an upcoming meeting because "everything is greased so it should go without any issues." Schultz told the television station it was simply a poor choice of words.

The city has a "sole source" contract -- meaning there was no request for proposals -- with Taser for the handling of video taken by lapel cameras worn by officers.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Richard Berry said last week that the city's procurement office approved the sole-source procedure.

Schultz said Taser was the only company at the time that offered a way to securely upload the video and provide other safeguards. He also said it was one of his successors as chief who signed the most recent Taser contract.

Two active Taser contracts are listed in the city of Albuquerque's online records. Under one, Taser has been paid about $1.5 million since 2011 and the other, since October, is for a maximum of $346,000.

Sanchez and Pena asked Balderas to conduct an independent review into whether it was proper for the city to award Taser the no-bid contract and whether doing so violated any procurement procedures or the state Governmental Conduct Act.

Furthermore, they asked the auditor to look into whether there was any "improper conduct" by Schultz before or after he left city employment.

Copyright 2014 - Albuquerque Journal, N.M.