Copyright © 2023 Albuquerque Journal
The Albuquerque Police Department has formed a “working group” along with local African American organizations and communities to boost recruitment and retention efforts.
Rebecca Atkins, an APD spokeswoman said the working group will try to recruit African American men, women and young adults to enroll in the police service aide program, become police officers or fill such civilian positions as forensic specialists, investigators and other administrative roles.
“The working group is aware of the need to increase the number of African Americans on the APD workforce to serve and protect the community,” Atkins wrote in a news release. “Collectively, community partners decided to work in concert with APD to assist in the accomplishment of its recruitment and hiring goals.”
The group includes the MLK State Commission, the State Office of African American Affairs, the Albuquerque NAACP, African American Student Services, and Black fraternities and sororities at the University of New Mexico, the National Council of Negro Women, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Ministers Fellowship of Albuquerque and Vicinity.
Although the effort is focused on recruiting African American officers, the group will also work with other communities “to reflect diversity and inclusion,” Atkins said.
She said just shy of 3% of officers in the department are African American. According to the most recent United States census, just over 3% of Albuquerque residents are African American alone.
Atkins said representatives from the city and APD have met with the groups several times over the past several months and plan to meet again. She said they will:
• Develop a strategic action plan to increase the number of African Americans enrolling in the police service aide program and applying to test into the police academy.
• Put a retention plan in place to keep African American officers at the department.
• Sponsor a community, city and APD recruitment fair and forum for the African American community and other groups. It’s currently scheduled for Jan. 21 at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial site.
• Continue a joint partnership with the Albuquerque Public Schools’s ROTC program to recruit seniors for the police service aide program.
• Develop a statewide plan to identify and recruit African Americans from state universities and colleges, and look at recruiting out-of-state candidates at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.