The Albuquerque Police Department said its efforts to recruit and retain more officers is paying off with the largest lateral class in several years and fewer officers retiring.
APD spokeswoman Rebecca Atkins said 28 new officers are graduating in June and another 90 are being considered for the July cadet class. She said new cadets got a 37% pay increase, or $60,000 a year.
Atkins said there are 14 lateral officers starting a condensed class later this month — the largest number in four years.
Mayor Tim Keller, Police Chief Harold Medina and other personnel provided a recruitment update Saturday at APD’s training facility in the North Valley.
Medina said the lateral hires — which got a 5% pay increase — came from agencies such as the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office and Rio Rancho Police Department. He said at least one person who initially left APD to join the FBI has decided to return.
Medina said with the incoming cadets and laterals, APD is at 890 officers.
“We remain innovative with how we are growing the police force, from pre-hires, to pay increases and a pipeline of future officers who are starting out as police service aides,” he said in a statement. “We are committed to finding the recipe that helps grow our numbers.”
Mayor Tim Keller had long set his sights on hiring 1,200 officers but recently conceded that number may not be attainable. He said APD’s investments in technology such as ShotSpotter and hiring civilian staff could fill the gaps.
“Our focus on recruitment and retention is paying off,” Keller said in a statement. “We’re seeing more interest in joining APD than we have in years, and we will continue to adapt stay competitive and attract the top talent needed to keep our city safe.”
Atkins said APD is also losing fewer officers to retirement, having only 18 retire since October 2022. She said APD lost 97 officers to retirement in 2021 and 50 in 2022.
Atkins credited APD’s retention package that gives a $1,500 monthly bonus for officers who choose not to retire.
She said they also raised the pay for police service aides, or PSA’s, to $16.20 an hour. Atkins said APD currently has 47 PSA’s, the highest number APD has ever employed — which serves as “a pipeline of future officers to join the rank and file.”