"Dan McCay of the Journal wrote an excellent article on December 14, 2014 detailing the manpower crisis within the Albuquerque Police Department. Mr. McCay's article unfortunately did not answer one very important question; Why did APD go from 1,100 officers in 2010 to 884 officers in December 2014? Answer this question and Albuquerque can start to fix their police staffing problems, without getting PERA and the State of New Mexico involved. But does Mayor Berry want to know this answer?
Here is what happened, in early 2010 newly elected Mayor Berry got rid of the Senior Police Officer Retention Bonus program. This program did not involve PERA and was run in-house by the APD. An audit of this program in 2012 showed that 129 APD officers delayed their retirements to take advantage of this program. Once Mayor Berry ended it, those 129 officers retired. In 2010 Mayor Berry set aside the labor agreement that had been agreed to between Albuquerque and the APOA. APD officers subsequently went five years without any pay raises, and the raises that were promised were taken away by Mayor Berry. More APD officers then retired because who wants to stay working for a city that won't honor it's own contract? In 2010 Mayor Berry changed APD hiring standards to require sixty college credit hours to become an APD officer. Immediately, the hiring pool for APD shrank, just like it did in 2001 when past Mayor Jim Baca tried the same requirement. APD, which under the old standards, would have Academy classes of over fifty cadets, saw this number shrink to less than twenty. Several times since 2010 APD would graduate only ten new officers. With cadet classes lasting six months it was easy to see that APD Recruiting was not keeping pace with retirements. If Mayor Berry thought this college requirement would bring in more actual cadets he needed to raise the pay accordingly (college graduates), but instead he took away pay and for five years refused to sign a labor contract with the APOA. The college requirement excluded candidates who, instead of going to college, went to work. These non-college applicants showed they could keep a job, support a home and family. Under the college requirement at APD, proving you were a mature worker and a stable part of the community didn't matter, all Mayor Berry wanted was sixty college credit hours, this even includes degrees in Liberal Arts and Culinary Arts!
Now you have your answer as to why APD has lost over twenty five percent of its’ police officers since 2010. Poor policies by Mayor Berry at the beginning of his tenure as mayor has come back to haunt us now. And what is the biggest problem with APD? Mayor Berry's refusal to accept responsibility for his actions and his refusal to change direction. Mayor Berry finds it easier to blame PERA and others instead of looking in the mirror and seeing that he created this mess."
Thank you for your service Sergeant Klein. And our Eyes inside APD tell us that the exodus within APD is not stopping with the mere offering of cash to those who are eligible to retire. One would think by now Berry-Alcalde would know that you can't pay somebody enough to risk their life everyday while at work. So what's causing these retirements must be something other than money.......