Look, for APD to be competitive in the market place it needs to offer competitive pay and benefits, top notch training, and most importantly a working environment where officers are respected and where they have the backing of their department. This contract may be worse than any contract that has come before for the simple reason that it divides the rank and file and sets officer against officer - "a house divided against itself cannot stand."
The Almighty Alcalde has a history of offering a new contract to the members of the Albuquerque Police Department in the year before a mayoral election. Our Eyes suspect that the mayor's pattern of contract negotiation has more to do with election year politics than with compensating Albuquerque's finest.
If you take a few moments to review the comments from various 34's on this website, you can't help but notice a growing animosity. The division is not between the city and the rank and file, but between officers. Don't think for a moment that this is a coincidence. There's only one person that this particular division benefits - the Almighty Alcalde himself.
(Sidebar)Unfortunately, the general public is caught in the middle. The most experienced officers are being encouraged to leave the department while their replacements are inexperienced officers fresh from the academy. The imbalance is likely to cost us all and don't think for a moment that the mayor and his cronies won't be busy telling us things like "this package shows our commitment to public safety" (ABQ Journal - Subscription).
We found it somewhat humorous that accompanying the article about the approval of the new APD contract was an ad for Las Vegas' Metro Police. Just who do you think they were targeting with the timely ad?
Here's the long-term problem in a nutshell. Marty can't and won't achieve his goal of 1,100 officers by front-loading contracts to benefit younger officers. More experienced officers will simply be leaving the department once their pay flattens out and departments like Metro will be making APD's officers an offer they can't refuse. Who can blame them? Remember, today's young officers are tomorrow's old salts. Under this contract, APD's experienced officers will be other department's new recruits - all at our expense.