Lower Age Limit To Become APD Police Officer To 18

The Albuquerque Police Department is “aggressively recruiting” for new officers.

APD officials are also saying they hope to recruit a diverse group of young officers.

According to news reports, APD is looking at high school seniors, transfers and women.

The full news story can be viewed here:


The 2018-2019 fiscal budget effective July 1, 2018, APD reflects that 878 sworn police officers are currently employed and APD fully budgeted for 1,040.

APD officials say the department is currently on track to meet its goal of adding 100 officers each year.

The APD Academy so far has 35 cadets set to graduate in December, 2018.

Another cadet class of 40 is scheduled to start in January, 2019.

APD officials also report they have 29 “laterals” coming from other departments and “rehires” returning to Albuquerque who will be graduating in October.

Another class of 20 laterals hires will start in November.

APD’s goal is to increase the force by 124 officers this fiscal year that ends June 30, 2019 or in 9 months.

Police do say it’s an urgent need, and they seek problem-solvers who are looking to not only become an officer but stay an officer and make it a long term career.

The Keller Administration is proposing to spend $88 million dollars, over a four-year period, with 32 million dollars of recurring expenditures, to hire 322 sworn officers and expand APD from 878 sworn police officers to 1,200 officers.

The City is implementing a hiring and recruitment program to offer incentives, pay raises and bonuses to join or return to APD in order to return to community-based policing.

For the first fiscal year of the four-year plan, the 2018-2019 budget provides for increasing funding from 1,000 sworn police to 1,040, not much of an increase the first year.

Notwithstanding the existing funding for 1,000 sworn police, APD at the beginning of 2018 had 878 sworn police.

A new APS officer would make $29 an hour out of the academy.


All prospective Albuquerque Police Department officers must meet the following eligibility criteria:

1. Be a US citizen and at least 21 years old at the time of police academy graduation.
2. Have a high school diploma or GED, and possess a valid driver’s license.
3. Applicants must have completed a minimum of 32 college credits unless the applicant has at least of two years of experience with and received an honorable discharge from the United States military.
4. Two years of continuous service as an Albuquerque police service aid or prisoner transport officer or five years of continuous service in a government or private sector position may also qualify for a waiver of the college credit requirement.
5. Immediate disqualification occurs if an applicant has a felony conviction, has been convicted of domestic violence, or has been convicted of a misdemeanor within three years of the application date.


Having the “minimum” qualifications to be an Albuquerque Police Officer only gives you an opportunity to test for the job.

The actual steps that must be taken to become an Albuquerque Police Officer are complicated and are as follows:

1. Meet the minimum qualifications for prospective officers and verify your eligibility by submitting an interest card to the Albuquerque Police Department.
2. Take the City Entrance Exam, which is similar to a civil service exam.
3. Submit a personal history statement.
4. Pass a physical abilities test.
5. Take the Nelson-Denny Reading Test (Note: this is a multiple-choice test measuring skill in vocabulary and reading.)
6. Submit the required personal documents, such as a credit report and photograph.
7. Complete a written psychological evaluation and background investigation.
8. Take a polygraph exam.
9. Complete a psychological interview.
10. Attend a panel interview with the Chief’s Selection Committee.
11. Complete a medical exam and drug screen.
12. Accept a conditional hire offer and attend the police academy.
13. Begin working as an Albuquerque patrol officer and [completing six months of patrol work with another sworn officer].


Approximately fifteen years ago, the minimum of 32 college credit requirement was added as a minimum entry requirement thereby excluding many individuals from being able to apply.

The rationale for the college credit requirement was that it would mean recruiting a higher quality of applicant and make better police officers.

A person’s education level does not always reflect intelligence nor how a person will react under pressure, especially when a life is in danger and you have to make life and death decisions.

The Albuquerque Police Academy is a six-month academy that requires the successful completion of physical and mental training and screening.

The academy has mandatory attendance of academic classes, in standard operating procedures, criminal procedure and the law with “constitutional policing” emphasized.

The college credit requirement needs to be revisited and determined if it is really necessary given the amount of training and education mandated by the academy.
Another requirement is passing a “polygraph” examine.

It is well settled law that the results “polygraph” examines are not admissible in court unless agreed to by the parties primarily because such examines are considered unreliable.

The rationale for the polygraph exam being evidence of a person’s propensity to lie is highly questionable and it is one requirement that should be revisited.

Eliminating the “college credit” requirement as well as the “polygraph test” would increase the final pool of applicants and not be a lowering of standards.


December 1, 2018 Mayor Keller and Chief Michael Geier will have been at the helm of APD for a full year.

It is about time that they are now seeking a new younger, diverse generation of police officer.

Recruiting high school seniors will require the department to revisit the college credit requirement to become a police officer as well as the 21 year old age limit.

The age limit to become a police officer should be lowered to 18.

Some will question that 18 to 21 years old do not possess the life skills to be police officers which is short cited and really all depends on the individual.

The 18 year old age limit is somewhat arbitrary.

There are 19 year olds and 20 year olds that can probably do the job once trained.

Lowering the age to 18 will increase the pool of recruits needed to expand APD.

1,000 to 1,200 applicants are needed to get a class of 40 cadets.

There is an extensive screening process and Chief’s selection process.

At 18, you must register for the draft in this country.

I have seen many 18 to 21 year olds that have more maturity than many older adults in their 30s.

Men and women are admitted to our military academies once they graduate from high school.

What should be considered is the 18-21 year olds can join the military, be armed, fight and die for our country after extensive training in “boot camp” which is what the APD Academy really is on so many levels.

If the past 8-year history with the APD Academy is any reflection of what will happen, the APD Academy will be lucky to hire and train enough cadets just to keep up with retirements.

The number of sworn police officers has dropped dramatically from 1,100 full time sworn police in 2009 to 878 on July 1, 2018 fiscal year.

In order to increase APD from the current 878 sworn police to 1,040 sworn by this time next year, the APD Police Academy will need to keep up with expected retirements and will have to hire at least 162 new officers either as new recruits or as lateral hires.

Based on APD Academy past performance over the last few years, the Police Academy will not be able to meet the goal.

With 75 cadets in the works 35 cadets set to graduate in December, 2018 and a next class of 40 is scheduled to starts in January, 2019, it is likely 50 will make it through to graduation.

In 2016, the APD Academy graduated more than 90 cadets but because of retirements and other departures, the department had a net gain of six (6) officers.

The main challenge is to expand the pool of recruits without compromising or reducing minimum qualifications and standards.

It will take years to grow the department to the 1,200-level desired to return to community-based policing.

Growing the department will take time, perhaps as much as 10 years which will require Keller to be elected two more times as Mayor.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.