ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department is shifting to a 12-hour schedule due to staffing within the department. Chief of Police, Harold Medina, tweeted out this morning saying, “Today the department went to 12-hour shifts to help increase staffing levels on patrol. The decision was made after the vast majority of officers supported the 12-hour shift.”

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As of December, the department had 926 officers. The department has had a budgeted goal of 1,140 sworn-in officers since Mayor Tim Keller took office back in 2016. Back in 2016, the department had 833.

Mayor Keller made it a campaign promise that he would try and hire 100 officers every year of his term. So far the mayor has kept up with that promise but has not been able to keep those numbers up to reach the 1200 officer goal. In 2020, the department had 1000 officers.

In a recent interview with our podcast, New Mexico News Podcast, KRQE spoke with Chief Medina and asked him about the department’s staffing issues. He said they have a number of cadets working to get the numbers up.

“We have 52 in the pipeline right now getting ready to start in the next couple months. And we have another 16 getting ready to graduate,” Chief Medina said.

Chief Medina, in that same interview, did say that some of the hardships the department has faced are because of the number of officers eligible for retirement.

“In 2018, our officers got a great compensation package, and it was probably one of the biggest rates we had seen in a decade. So, every officer that had 20 years [in service] had to make a decision at that point, ‘do I retire because I’m eligible? Or do I stay?’ If they stay three more years, they get their retirement.”