ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - It's no secret the Albuquerque Police Department is short on officers.
Now APD is about to try something new, by partnering up with APS to try to convince high schoolers they have blue in their future.
"You get to learn the chain of command," said Police Service Aide Patrick Monte. "Every day you learn something new."
Patrick Monte looks young and that's because he is. But at 20-year-old, he's already worked for the Albuquerque Police Department for two years as a police service aide, doing everything from writing tickets to helping direct traffic.
"It's a great foot in the door. You learn a lot about the system," he said. "Basically, it's an apprenticeship and it's a very hands on apprenticeship."
PSAs like Monte hope to become an APD officer, a position that can't officially begin until a person turns 21-years-old.
That's why APD is starting a partnership with APS to offer a year-long course to high school seniors interested in becoming a PSA.
Commander Doug West says it's a recruiting tool for the Department.
"It gives them an advantage as far as learning policies and procedures in the Albuquerque Police Department," West said. "As they become a PSA at 18 years of age, we look at them to become future potential to become an officer with the department."
The two-day a week class will be offered at the Career Enrichment Center starting in the fall.
Students will learn things like constitutional law, department policies - and get a sense of what it's like to work for APD before they commit.
"This gives a kid a chance to understand the police force, to see if they're interested in it," said Career Enrichment Center principal Nikki Dennis. "If they're not interested in it, they've earned high school credit, plus we have more informed citizens about what the police department is all about."
APD will hold an informational meeting on July 15 at 6 p.m. at the Roger A. Hoisington Training Academy for interested seniors.
The class is open to all interested applicants, including home-schooled and private and charter school students.
It's limited to 40 students.
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