Cadets will be required to have college credits or military experience
Albuquerque— Mayor Richard J. Berry announced Thursday January 5, 2011 that several changes will be made to Albuquerque Police Department’s training academy in an attempt to make it a more collegial environment.
Starting with the 108th Cadet class, which is expected to begin this Fall, cadets will be required to have at least 60 college-level credit hours or three years military experience. In addition, Mayor Berry also announced that he is going to begin a nationwide search for a civilian training director. The director will preferably have background in law enforcement and education. Previously, the academy has been run by a sworn law enforcement officer from within the department.
“Historically we have had one of the best training academies in the country,” Mayor Berry said. “But, we need to keep up with the times. We want officers who are good decision makers.”
Currently the 106th cadet class is going through training at the law enforcement academy and since November, recruiters have been accepting applications for the 107th cadet class, which is expected to begin in the Spring. Although the changes will not officially begin until the 108th class, applicants with college credits or military experience currently applying for the 107th cadet class will be given a priority over those who don’t.
Last May, at the request of Mayor Berry, the Police Executive Research Forum completed a review of all of APD’s officer involved shootings. In the review, PERF made 40 recommendations including making changes to the department’s recruit selection process. The report noted that APD should “find applicants who already appear to have skills in calming and defusing situations” and the department “is already well along in this effort to hire good decision makers.”
“It’s not easy to become an Albuquerque police officer,” Police Chief Ray Schultz said. “With the new requirements it’s going to become even more challenging. That’s what we want – the best of the best.”
Since 2002, 69 percent of the cadets seated in the academy were able to graduate. During this same time, only 11 percent of the people who applied to be Albuquerque police officers were hired.
According to a 2010 study conducted by the National Institute of Justice, only about 1 percent of police departments around the country require college degrees. In 1994 APD had established a college credit or military entrance requirement. The requirement was dropped in 1999.