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APD’s Revamped Open Space Division Seeing Results

12-member team effectively protecting Open Space

May 4, 2023

ALBUQUERQUE – APD’s revamped Open Space Division is up and running, effectively monitoring and responding to calls in Albuquerque open space. The expanded team has 12 members, including 7 collateral officers and 5 full-time Police Service Aides. 

APD Chief Harold Medina restructured the division so sworn officers can spend most of their time doing proactive police work targeting crime in the city and also respond to open-space emergencies on an on-call basis. So far, 7 officers joined the collateral program, which means they work full-time on APD’s Proactive Response Teams in different area commands and respond as needed in open space. 

APD’s successful effort to hire more Police Service Aides allowed the department to dedicate 5 PSAs to serve full-time in the Open Space and Rescue Division, mostly handling routine duties that do not require a sworn officer. Only six calls for service have been generated in open space areas over the past six months. Sworn officers responded to these calls and assisted in the rescues.

“We now have more police officers fighting crime and an expanded, but more efficient, Open Space and Rescue team in place at APD,” Chief Medina said. “Our top priority is fighting crime, while making the best use of taxpayer dollars. We will continue to grow the team and work with the broader search and rescue community to cover the open spaces in the Metro Area.”

The five PSAs are designated in the Southwest and Foothills areas of the city checking gates, parking lots, and are paying close attention to camping and possible fires. If the PSAs come across anyone illegally camping, or starting fires, they redirect and educate those individuals on what is allowed in open spaces. If there is a larger concern or an individual becomes aggressive, PSA’s will contact the on-call officers for assistance. 

The department has received positive feedback from the community about the presence of the PSAs along the Bosque and in the Foothills. Over the summer, the department will be posting a few more collateral positions with the hope of adding two to four more officers.