ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s no secret that the Albuquerque Police Department has struggled with an officer shortage. Now during the coronavirus outbreak, APD says recruitment numbers are breaking department records. The governor’s stay-at-home order completely changed the department’s recruiting approach two months ago and with a lot of people out of a job right now, so many are signing up.
Even during a public health crisis, the need for police officers in Albuquerque hasn’t changed. “We’ve been facing an officer shortage that has been a decade in the making,” says Mayor Tim Keller. The way the department is recruiting people has changed. “We’re no longer boots on the ground. Everything is social media-based,” says APD Director of Recruiting Dave Romo.
The department says they’ve had to get creative with how they attract recruits and they believe technology has helped boost their reach. “We’re testing 203 people who have signed up for testing on APD online for June 5. That is the most that have ever tested at one time in the history of APD,” Romo says.
APD says the number of people signing up doubled in February and March and tripled during the COVID crisis. It isn’t just technology they are benefiting from. “People are realizing this is a great way to serve your community. We also know there have been lots of layoffs and so forth. So we are really pitching this as a career for folks who are interested in being frontline heroes,” Keller says.
As the department continues to navigate this new normal, “Its a lengthy process and we’re selective so it’s a challenging process,” Romo says. They remain hopeful to reach the mayor’s goal of 1,200 officers. Currently, there are 1,000 on the force. “I just think things are going to get better,” Romo says.
APD is also presenting a virtual recruiting presentation with nine community colleges around the nation that have law enforcement academies. APD tells us sign-ups for the June 9 test is already full, but there are spaces available for the June 19 test. For more information visit http://apdonline.com/.
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