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APD announces new officer retention program

 Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina updates the media on the department's latest retention efforts
Gino Gutierrez
Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina updates the media on the department's latest retention efforts

The Albuquerque Police Department is turning to more tenured officers through a new retention program to help keep more of them on the force.

In a press conference held Friday morning, Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said this new program will provide officers with nineteen years of Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) service credits with additional $1500 at the end of each month and 100% of their medical needs paid for by the city.

But even with senior officers choosing to remain within the department, the number of sworn officers remains below what Medina and the department would like to see.

“Currently we have 857 sworn personnel, which you could imagine is not where we want to be. But we make things work and I think it's important that we look at our ability to provide service as a whole and just not look at sworn law enforcement numbers.”

Medina alluded to the department’s 40 Public Service Aids, 73 911 operators, 29 dispatchers and 514 professional staff.

These other branches of the department help ensure APD is providing a wide array of services for the community.

Another help to the department has been the 9,425 calls fielded by the Albuquerque Community Services Departments.

These are calls that are deemed to be safe enough for trained professionals to take, freeing up more time for officers to attend to their duties with the community.

Ultimately, Medina said the department would like to reach a goal that was set by Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller when he first took office, which was to have APD staffed with 1200 officers total.

Gino Gutierrez was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A lifelong resident of New Mexico, he found interest in broadcasting after falling in love with sports. He attended the University of New Mexico, where he majored in multimedia journalism. While at UNM, he worked the New Mexico Daily Lobo, serving as both sports and managing editor. In addition to working at KSFR, Gino is a freelance photojournalist and can also be heard providing play-by-play commentary for the NA3HL New Mexico Ice Wolves.