ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Mayor Keller has said his main goal is to hire 400 more police officers to help lower crime, a new report shows why it’s been hard staffing the department.
From cadets failing the physical, polygraph, and background checks, it only leaves the city with a small group of qualified candidates to choose from.
“We lose a lot of applicants at the beginning of the process,” said Recruiting Officer Russell Alberti.
The chart shows an average of 1,300 people applying for the job over three years, but only 200 people show up for the first test.
Of those, the number drops again as cadets fail to pass the next round of tests, leaving less than 60 cadets recruited into the department.
“They ask questions, categorizing those questions, drug questions, work history questions, things like that. They’ll ask you about that based on things they see,” said Officer Alberti.
Shaun Wiloughby, the president of the police union, says all of that should be required, but believes part of the problem is college requirements implemented by the Berry administration.
“We saw a huge drop off of interest in qualified recruits when we started mandating a college degree,” he said.
He also doesn’t think officers are getting paid enough.
“A first year police officer makes exactly what a 20 year police officer does here. We’re in a very competitive part of the nation,” says Wiloughby.
Recruiting Officer Alberti says he’s dedicated to staffing the department, but it’s going to take time.
“It’s going to be a tough road. You’re not going to get those 400 officers overnight,” he said.
Wiloughby says another problem is that there’s only one recruiting officer right now. There are normally five officers working to recruit.
Currently, there are 854 APD officers. Mayor Keller wants more than 1,200.