Skip to main content

APD announces new Open Space Conservation officers

Open Space
August 15, 2023

ALBUQUERQUE – Today, the Albuquerque Police Department announced plans for a revamped Open Space Unit. Open Space conservation officers will patrol open space areas by foot, vehicle, and mountain bikes. They will investigate criminal activity, make arrests when appropriate, work to help protect open spaces.

“Open spaces in Albuquerque are important resources to everyone who lives and visits our town, and we know that we need to keep them safe for those who use them and the wildlife that calls them home,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “APD knows that the way things have always been done is not always the best way to continue doing things, and they are making changes to improve safety throughout our city.”

“Before January, our open space officers were street cops, trained to patrol city streets and urban areas,” said Chief Harold Medina. “These new Open Space conservation officers will have specialized training, education, and knowledge to focus on lawful use and preservation of our open spaces.”

The Department has signed an agreement with the Albuquerque Police Officer’s Association to create 12 Open Space Conservation officer positions and hire directly to that position. This agreement will allow APD to find officers with specialized knowledge in patrolling open spaces, rather than urban areas.

“I’m so happy to let the citizens of Albuquerque know that this new APD Open Space unit will give us all the peace of mind we need to know that our precious and vital open space network will be protected now and in the future," said City Councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn. "Thanks to APD and Parks & Recreation for ensuring that the city is living up to the expectations of the community by safeguarding every piece of land in our open space network.”

“Bernalillo County and BCSO stand ready to work with the City to establish proactive law enforcement in our Major Public Open Space and we hope to soon develop a joint dispatch for visitors to call and report any activity in our Open Space," said County Commissioner Barbara Baca. “The citizens of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County have supported our nationally recognized Open Space Program for decades. Since 1983, the City Open Space Division has preserved and protected our Open Space, from the Sandia Foothills, to the Rio Grande Bosque to the Petroglyphs and the Volcanoes on the west side. I support Mayor Keller and the Albuquerque City Council in this effort to protect our natural resources and the safety of the recreational users.”

“The conservation officer model works and is what Open Space needs,” said Parks and Recreation Department Director Dave Simon. “APD’s new approach will strengthen the Open Space program, provide better service to the public, and increase professional opportunities for officers.”

Previously, the Open Space division worked Sunday through Thursday with three or four officers on patrol. Since reallocating officer resources from the previous Open Space division in January, APD has conducted open space operations through collateral duty officers. The Open Space Conservation officers will nearly double the coverage, with teams of six officers and two or three Police Service Aides on patrol seven days a week.

APD is currently accepting applications for the position of Open Space Conservation Officer. This is a lateral position and offers a $15,000 hiring bonus. Interested candidates can find more information and apply here.