Updated: 06/17/2014 6:32 PM |
Created: 06/17/2014 6:30 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
The Albuquerque Police Department isn't just making big changes in the training of future officers – it's changing the way they're recruited, too.
APD command-level officers say there's already a new emphasis on a skill that may have been shortchanged a bit in the past – communications skills, just as important as the use of weapons and the use of force in general. New officers are still going to have plenty of traditional training in those things, but recruiters are already looking for people with communications skills who can be taught to use them to de-escalate stressful civilian encounters and resolve them peacefully, without violence.
"They don't necessarily have to be in criminal justice," said Commander Kevin Rowe, who heads Recruiting and Backgrounds for APD. "It doesn't matter what walk of life you come from. The fundamental thing we look for is people with integrity, people who want to come and serve, who have a heart for service, plain and simple."
There will be a new recruiting video, and a new look for the APD Online website. A marketing firm is working with APD to attract recruits both locally and nationally.
Rowe said recruiters are encountering an interesting problem: a lot of young people who want to be cops are very adept at communicating with modern social media, but they're sometimes lacking in old-fashioned verbal skills. They're texting and tweeting, but they're not talking – and plain old talking is a skill cops need every day on the street.