APD staffing shortage translates into surplus of funds

Posted at: 12/31/2013 6:10 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The city of Albuquerque budgets enough salary pay for 1,100 Albuquerque Police Department officers, but currently APD is short a few hundred. The city says the extra money goes back into the police department budget and can be used on anything they want. But the police union says personnel money should be spent on personnel.

“That's being funded and appropriated and not being used for retention, recruitment, or things in the department it should be used for,” Albuquerque Police Officers Association President Stephanie Lopez said.

Instead the money can be spent on things like computers or equipment. Lopez says it’s an example of how the city isn’t making people a priority. She says uncompetitive pay is sending APD officers to other markets like Durango, Denver and Phoenix.

“The ones that are staying is because of their love for the city and the state and because their family roots are here,” Lopez said.

She says their pay is a big reason the department isn’t attracting recruits. But the mayor told KOB Eyewitness News 4 yesterday that part of the reason for the shortage is because the city has raised requirements for applicants.

"We want to make sure that we get the right kind of recruits into the Albuquerque Police Department to get both the public safety and the community outcomes that we want,” Mayor Richard Berry said.

If APD doesn’t spend the extra money by the end of the year, it goes back into the city’s general fund.