ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department is doing what it can to recruit more officers to the department and reach the mayor’s goal of growing the department by 400 officers by the end of his first term. In 2017, Mayor Tim Keller campaigned on hiring more officers and reforming the department. According to the city’s FY2020 budget, it had about 870 officers at the time.
“There have been all sorts of estimates in terms of how many officers we need. I know we need at least 400 more officers and I’ve got a plan on how to do that,” Keller said in KRQE’s 2017 mayoral debate.
The goal was to hire 100 officers a year for four years. APD said it has been doing that or close to it for several years now, including this year. APD has about 51 cadets in the academy right now and another 45 that graduated in April. However, the benchmarks don’t take into account resignations and retirements over the years. Right now, the department has about 980 officers; It’s aiming to have 1,200.
“Right now, some of the biggest challenges, especially coming out of the pandemic is going out and getting people involved again. Re-educating people again on what our standards are,” said Sgt. Peter Silva with APD’s recruiting unit. He said another challenge is educating people that a college degree is no longer required to join the department. Silva said the requirement was dropped a few years ago.
APD is now offering more incentives to hire up officers including a $5,000 sign-on bonus. Last year, the city also started offering student forgiveness loans up to $25,000. APD’s next academy, which pays cadets while their in it, is in December. Sgt. Silva hopes prospective participants do their entrance exams now.
“We encourage people to test as early as possible and not delay. Contact APD recruiting unit and we can help you get in shape, we can help you study, and we can help prepare you for the academy and your final fitness exam,” Silva said.
“I know the community wants to see the department fully staffed and out there, protecting the streets, serving and taking part in all community events taking place. And to do that, we need those community members to help us. If you know somebody who’s interested have them reach out to the recruiting department,” said Sgt. Silva.
To learn more about APD’s hiring incentives, visit apdonline.com.