ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – According to the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), their recruiting and retaining efforts are paying off.

In a news conference Saturday, APD and city leaders laid out their recruitment and retention efforts. While APD said they were losing officers in the past due to retirement and resignation, they mentioned pay raises, announced in March, are helping keep officers on staff and bringing more officers in.

The department currently has 850 officers with 28 new officers graduating in a few weeks. They added they have seen double the number of candidates for the next police academy. Each year, their goal is to gain 100 new officers, and they believe numbers will be above that this year.

In the past 25 years, cadets were paid around $43,000 per year. Now they’re paid $60,000. Patrolmen 2nd class saw a 31% pay increase and will now be paid $63,000 each year. APD also said more Lateral officers, or officers from other departments, showing interest.

The department credits their retention package from last October. They mentioned it encourages officers to stay in the department due to incentives.

“We recognized we had to do something to retain our officers on the back end. Any officer with 19-plus years is now given a $1,500 bonus a month. Plus, 100% medical is paid for them,” said Albuquerque Chief of Police Harold Medina.

APD also believes investing in better technology and workplaces will encourage officers to come and stay. Mayor Tim Keller said at the conference that the city invested more than $60 million in crime-fighting technology which includes gunshot detection and speed cameras.

In the last few years, APD also began renovating its main office and built a new substation. The city also purchased a new building next door to its current training academy on 2nd Street to expand that academy.

“We are hoping that all these things are going to continue to work hand in hand with one another, that our officers will continue to feel invested and important, and that morale will move in the right direction,” said Chief Medina.

Medina hopes to one day reach a total of 1,200 officers within the department.