ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – They’re a key team that the Albuquerque Police Department relies on to respond to crashes and increasingly help collect information for investigations. As more critical work gets piled on the city’s police service aides, APD Chief Harold Medina now says he wants to make sure their voices are being heard.

It was a first-time meeting, earlier this week, as Chief Medina sat down with the city’s police service aides. “It actually goes back to when I became Chief of Police, I thought of my career and I thought of the fact that as a young patrol officer, I sometimes felt like I had no voice,” said Medina.

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To this day, APD relies on its PSAs to respond to crime and crash scenes and help keep sworn officers on patrol. Medina said some PSAs expressed concerns over job readiness. “There are some training gaps and it definitely left an impression to us about how we need to increase and advance the training that the public service aides receive,” said Medina.

Pay is another issue Medina said PSAs raised. “They quickly pointed out and showed that City of Santa Fe PSAs are making more and we’ll be working on that,” said Medina.

Chief Medina said he’s hoping to have one of these meetings every quarter, as more and more responsibility is put on PSAs. “Our PSAs today gather fingerprints, they process low-level property crime they take traffic accidents, they guard homicide scenes, they will recover stolen cars,” said Medina.

The department also relies on PSAs to help fill the ranks of future police officers. “We do know that our number one recruiters are our employees working here right now,” said Medina. “We were at 50, about seven went to the academy that just started on Monday.”

APD has 31 new PSAs in training. Once they graduate later this month, Medina says they will have the most PSAs on staff in a decade with around 70 total.