How to Become a Police Officer in Albuquerque
The Albuquerque Police Department has a strong dedication to community policing and is made up of sworn officers who are supported by hundreds of civilian employees.1 Albuquerque is the largest city by population in New Mexico, with more than 887,000 residents living in an area of 187 square miles.2 Although the city’s population is growing, the crime rate for many major crimes including auto burglary, commercial burglary, and robbery dropped between 2017 and 2018.1,2 As of August 2018, the APD had 854 sworn officers, with 147 recruits seated in the 2018 fall and 2019 spring police academies.1 The process for becoming an Albuquerque police officer is detailed below.
Albuquerque Police Officer Requirements
The process of joining the Albuquerque Police Department as a new officer begins with completing an interest card. This allows the Department to decide if recruits meet the minimum requirements for being a cop in the city. To qualify for police recruitment, the APD requires applicants to:
- Be a minimum age of 21
- Hold US citizenship
- Possess a valid driver’s license
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Have completed one of the following: 32 college credit hours, two years of active military duty with an honorable discharge, four years in the National Guard, two years working as a police service aide with the APD, or five years working in any job
Qualified recruits will be asked to take the city entrance exam, submit a personal history statement, and take the physical abilities test. Those who pass these steps will then complete a psychological exam, a background investigation, a polygraph examination, and an interview with the Chief’s selection committee. The final step is to pass a medical exam and drug screening.
For more information about how to become a cop in a typical big city, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page. If you are ready to apply, find specific application information on the Albuquerque Police Department – Police Officer Recruiting.
Albuquerque Police Department Law Enforcement Academy
The APD’s Law Enforcement Academy is responsible for training all new recruits to the department. Newly-hired officers must complete the 26-week program, which includes 40 hours of instruction per week. Class work includes patrol procedures, law, physical fitness, defensive tactics, firearms, police driving, and other areas crucial to working in law enforcement. Upon successful completion of the police academy, new recruits are eligible to become certified officers through the state of New Mexico.
Albuquerque Police Department Information
The APD is divided into six different geographical area commands: Foothills, Northeast, Southeast, Valley, Southwest, and Northwest. The APD is committed to working with the community to eradicate crime and establish positive relationships. They hold a monthly Community Policing Council to hear from the residents of the city about concerns. The Department also hosts a Citizens Police Academy to teach residents about policing in the city. The Academy is free and lasts for 12 weeks. Those interested in attending must apply with the Department and be at least 18 years old.
Department Contact Information
Salary, Benefits, and Jobs Outlook
As new cops-in-training, Academy recruits earn $18.97 per hour during basic training and that salary rises to $20.85 and $29.00 per hour after training and after one year of service, respectively.1 The APD also offers generous benefits including health and dental insurance, overtime pay, bonuses for college degrees, bilingual pay, and a take-home-a-car program.1 After 25 years of service, Albuquerque police officers are eligible to retire at 90% of the top pay level achieved during their service.1 The average salary for a patrol officer in Albuquerque is $51,210.3
The long-term projections for available jobs in law enforcement in New Mexico are promising for new recruits. Growth in this industry is expected to be positive with a 6.6% increase between now and 2022.4 This means that hopeful new cops in the state can expect to see an average of 150 new positions opening up each year.4 For more information on current APD law enforcement positions, take a look at our jobs board page.
- Albuquerque Police Officers Association – A membership organization that supports professional development for officers and promotes charity work in the Albuquerque communnity.
- New Mexico Fraternal Order of Police – Part of the Fraternal Order of Police, the largest police organization in the US, the New Mexico State Lodge works to protect and promote the interests and welfare of New Mexico police and their families.
1. Albuquerque Police Department: https://www.cabq.gov/police/
2. Visit Albuquerque: https://www.visitalbuquerque.org/media/media-kit/facts/
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Albuquerque, NM: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_10740.htm#33-0000
4. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm