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Santa Fe Approves New Contract With Police Union

Kevin Meerschaert
Officers including Police Chief Paul Joye listen as the Santa Fe Governing Body discussed the new contract with its police officers union.

The City of Santa Fe Governing Body has approved a new collective bargaining contract with its Police Officers Association.

The deal for the 2023 fiscal year was approved unanimously Wednesday and has already been ratified by the police union.

The contract includes a 16-percent pay increase for all sworn and civilian bargaining unit employees.

Deputy Chief Ben Valdez says the new contract will keep Santa Fe competitive with other police departments in the region.

“That’s for all police officers through sergeant that will get that base rate increase,” he said. “For our civilian staff…it makes us competitive and we can stay competitive. Those who have been with the organization who are non-sworn..they will be receiving that 16-percent increase as a gesture of all the hard work they’ve done, especially those who have served and continue to serve during the pandemic.”  

The deal also includes language to allow officers and non-sworn personnel to use their vehicles up to a 55 mile radius around Santa Fe. That’s an extension of the current 45 mile rule.

It stems from the ongoing affordable housing shortage in Santa Fe.

A pilot project to help employees purchase homes in the city is expected to help with that problem, but it will take time to become fully implemented.

The Department continues seeking police cadet candidates and experienced lateral police officers.

To attract additional talent the department is continuing to offer for a limited time a $15,000 hiring incentive for experienced lateral police officers.  Lateral officers will receive $7,500 upon hire and $7,500 upon completion of a 1-year probation.  In addition to the hiring incentive, lateral police officers still receive 160 hours of leave upon hire.

Kevin Meerschaert comes to Santa Fe from Jacksonville, Florida where he spent the past 20 years covering politics, government and pretty much everything else.