Albuquerque city councilors on Monday unanimously approved a $3 million appropriation to fund a lateral police officer class for the Police Department.
Sponsored by councilors Don Harris and Cynthia Borrego, the funding bill will pay for a nine-week academy starting in November for about 30 to 40 officers from outside law enforcement agencies who are already sworn and certified, along with their uniforms and equipment.
The condensed program allows officers to become familiar with city ordinances and the Albuquerque Police Department’s standard operating procedures.
“We’ve worked very hard to assure that the number of Albuquerque police officers is increasing,” said Council President Ken Sanchez. “We’ve had some major challenges in the last eight years — the numbers were going backwards instead of forwards, but I think it’s critical to the citizens of the community.”
City officials and councilors alike have expressed hope that the number of officers on the force, plus cadets in the academy, would reach 950 by the end of the calendar year.
“Now that we’re competitive, we’re meeting and sometimes exceeding our recruitment goals.” Mayor Tim Keller said in a statement released after the vote. “Our department will be able to ensure officers coming from other departments share our commitment to community policing and have the training to make our city safer for everyone.”
The funding comes from excess gross receipt tax and “hold harmless” revenues owed by the state in July which were carried over into the new fiscal year.