Albuquerque police seeks new recruits, offers pay raise

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Albuquerque Police Department is hoping a pay raise sounds good enough to recruit new officers for its latest academy class. 

The raises are part of a larger scale effort to attract more folks to work at the department.

“I was shocked when I saw where our cadets fell, in terms of comparing them to other agencies,” said APD Chief Harold Medina. 

Medina says when he was a new officer he only made $9.50 an hour. After seeing how cadet pay compared to other U.S. cities, the department decided to up the current pay. 

“We actually had about a huge difference between our cadets who were making about $43,000 to start, and we recognize that we had to change that,” said Medina. 

Now, cadets will make $60,000 a year, which breaks down to about $28 an hour. Patrolmen second class will now make $63,000 a year.   

Medina says the department is still short-staffed, but it’s been slowly increasing its number of officers. 

“We have been able to grow the department to where we’re at right now, about 960 sworn out in the out in doing police work, plus another 30 individuals in various levels of training at the academy,” said Medina. 

He says major reforms under the Department of Justice oversight used to turn possible candidates away from applying, but that stigma is lifting internally. 

“A year ago, DOJ big concern, officers felt they couldn’t do their job, we worked hard to develop sustainable processes. To be fair, in terms of the amount of discipline people receive,” said Medina. “We really developed a process that officers are accepting of internally.” 

Medina says APD still battles the rumor mill from other agencies because of the DOJ oversight, but the department has done more to retain its current officers as well. 

“We now have police officers, first class, senior and master patrolman, and each level is tied into years of service, and each level gets a raise,” Medina said. 

He says along with pay raises for new cadets, APD also started offering competitive retention bonuses and that’s helped keep existing officers paroling the streets.

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