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Mayor Berry Supports Return to Work for Law Enforcement

Legislation is fiscally responsible, brings experience back to the community.

Jan. 14, 2016

Today, Mayor Richard J. Berry stood with New Mexico Legislators, Albuquerque City Councilors, representatives from the New Mexico Municipal League, and law enforcement professionals in support of Return to Work legislation for law enforcement in the 2016 Regular Session of the New Mexico Legislature. The Return to Work legislation will allow retired municipal police officers and other retired law enforcement personnel in New Mexico to return to work while still collecting their retirement pensions.50 State Map

After 23 years of the practice of return to work, it was prohibited in 2010 by former Governor Bill Richardson under the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) pension plan. This decision was made as a result of high profile cases where public sector employees took advantage of the system. The sweeping legislation included members of law enforcement and has since decimated public safety departments across the state.

The City of Albuquerque hired an actuarial named William Fornia from the Pension Trustee Advisors to examine the effect return to work for law enforcement could have if reinstated. While other reports claimed that this legislation would harm PERA by millions of dollars, the actuarial review found that return to work for police officers and sheriffs can be accomplished without a negative impact on pension solvency. The actuarial asserts that in some cases, return to work could actually improve pension solvency, while in other cases any nominal costs would be mitigated with a small upfront contribution from municipalities to PERA. The reinstatement of return to work is fiscally responsible. The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) invests $150,000 into training an officer in the academy alone. This sum does not include the additional training the officer receives throughout his tenure and the officer’s invaluable years of experience. By bringing a return to work officer back into the department, the city is saving taxpayers money and retaining the experience it has already invested in.

Just last month, Alexander Weiss Consulting, LLC analyzed the staffing level and organization of the APD. This report determined that the department requires a staffing level of 1,000 police officers in order to adequately serve the Albuquerque community. Currently, the department has 817 sworn police officers. While the department is continuing its robust recruitment efforts, to reach 1,000 officers Return to Work is imperative to bring experienced officers back into the department rather than losing them to other states and departments that do not participate in PERA.

View Documents

  1. Return to Work Summary from City Attorney
  2. Actuarial Review
  3. 50 State Map
  4. Sworn Officer Count Chart
  5. Letter from NM Mayors Caucus
  6. Letter from NM Municipal League
  7. NM Sheriffs’ Association Email
  8. NM Municipal League Priorities
  9. Actuarial Analysis

Letters of Support

View letters of support from mayors throughout New Mexico.