APD cadet classes shrinking despite interest
Posted at: 10/05/2012 4:43 PM
| Updated at: 10/05/2012 6:53 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Friday was graduation day for 11 new Albuquerque Police officers, the smallest cadet class in a decade for a police department that's under intense scrutiny for police shootings and other problems.
Even so, there's no shortage of young men and women who want to be APD recruits. The shortage is in getting the right kind of recruits.
The 11 new officers came from a class of 16 cadets, selected from more than 300 applicants. The 11 are the ones who prevailed after a rigorous six month training period.
"Thanks for stepping up," Mayor Richard Berry told the new officers at graduation ceremonies on the State Fairgrounds. "You're the best, you're the brightest. A lot more started the cadet class than finished, and that says a lot about each of you as individuals."
The department requires more education and more emphasis on psychology from its recuits. It's not enough to be strong and fast and good with a gun anymore.
"Our goal is to hire officers who have a better ability to deal with people one on one," Chief Ray Schultz said. "They have a very strong compassionate side, the ability to communicate, show empathy, relate better to the people we serve."
But the brand new class, now underway, has just 10 cadets, while 31 veteran officers are planning to retire at the end of the year.
"There are obvious advantages with a smaller class," Schultz said. "We've seen it with this class. We have much more hands-on personalized instruction, much more time to work very complex problems on a one-on-one individual basis."
Just two hours after the graduation, Bernalillo County graduated 10 new Sheriff's deputies - a department much smaller than the Albuquerque Police.
The Albuquerque Police Department has just 1,014 officers, while the department's authorized strength is 1,100 officers.