ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Community Safety Department is the city’s division handling behavioral and mental health calls. Right now, it’s in the process of expanding operation hours.
“This could be a game changer and is anticipated to be a game changer for Albuquerque and for our department.”
Right now, they’re operating daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. However, by the end of the year, their will be boots on the ground around the clock.
“The vision for 24/7 was always the goal, and we’re working to make sure that’s the reality,” ACS Division Manager Jeffery Bustamante said.
The department was waiting on funding to expand, and that finally came through in March. Re-appropriated funds from last fiscal year are allowing them to add new positions to meet the need of becoming a 24/7 service.
With 77 current employees, they’re looking to hire 45 more positions. A total of 37 of those thanks to that funding.
“Some of those behavioral health responder positions, including the supervisor positions are posted right now,” Bustamante said.
With ACS responding to more than 30,000 calls in the hours they have now, they believe they’ll be able to respond to many more throughout the night.
“As you might imagine, there’s a lot of overlap, and crises don’t just happen at set hours of the day,” Bustamante said.
While businesses want more help dealing with people loitering around their properties, not all are convinced this will solve the problem.
“I’m all for them doing what they can to help the situation out, but like I said, it’s a wait-and-see,” Steve Vatoseow, the owner of Lindy’s Diner, said.
He said after dealing with issues day in and day out, he wants to see real change.
“These people need more than just a burrito, food, water, they need help. They need to be taken somewhere; they have to be evaluated.”
A new class of ACS responders started training Tuesday with five people. They expect to bring on more throughout the year. If you’re interested in a career with ACS, click HERE.