Pay disparity has Santa Fe officers heading to Albuquerque
August 28, 2018 05:29 PM
SANTA FE, N.M. – Public safety is on the minds of many people in Santa Fe.
Since July, the police department has lost more than 12 officers, some of them went to APD, which pays more.
A starting wage for a Santa Fe police officer is $19 per hour. At APD, the starting wage is $29 per hour.
The pay difference is blowing a hole into the Santa Fe Police Department. It currently has more than 24 position open.
"When push comes to shove, this is a highly competitive field. This is not as popular an industry to get into as it was in the 90s, not a lot of people are signing up to be police officers," said Shaun Willoughby of the Albuquerque Police Officer’s Association.
The Santa Fe Police Department said in a statement that their priority now is to retain the officers that are already on the force.
The department is also forced to make other hard decisions including adjusting shifts.
“We have to make some hard decisions and prioritize our service for the community," said Deputy Santa Fe Police Chief Robert Vasquez.
SFPD is also considering cutting patrol beats, which include:
- Downtown Plaza officers
- DWI Team
- City Bike Police Team
- City Trails Bike Team
“It’s more than officers wanting money, it’s us ensuring we can provide safety to our community,” said Chief Vasquez.
Santa Fe leaders will be discussing possible solutions at Wednesday night's city council meeting.
From APD’s standpoint, they want as many officers as they can get.
"We are 400 officers down. Our calls for service are through the roof, our crime stats are through the roof. We need to control Albuquerque for Albuquerque citizens. If that means taking the best and brightest from other areas because we are going to pay a more competitive rate of pay,” Willoughby said.
Updated: August 28, 2018 05:29 PM
Created: August 28, 2018 10:36 AM
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