Albuquerque Police Department Officer Requirements

The Albuquerque Police Department houses three major divisions: the Field Services Bureau, the Criminal Investigations Bureau, and the Professional Accountability Bureau. The department also maintains specialty units such as crisis negotiation, emergency response, horse-mounted patrol, and SWAT. Over 1,560 civilians and sworn officers work for the Albuquerque PD, which takes a collaborative, community-involved approach to building safe neighborhoods.1

Steps to Becoming an Albuquerque Police Officer

  1. Meet the minimum qualifications for prospective officers (see below) 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, a multiple-choice test measuring skills 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.

How to Become an Albuquerque, New Mexico Police Officer

The Albuquerque Police Department requires all applicants to first fill out an interest card to determine suitability and eligibility for employment with the department. Eligible applicants are then contacted to begin the multi-step application process. Candidates will complete exams measuring written reading comprehension skills, physical ability and fitness, and psychological suitability for police work. An extensive background check, a medical exam, and a panel interview are also required. Recruited candidates will complete a 26-week training program at the Albuquerque Law Enforcement Academy followed by at least three months of supervised field experience before being permitted to work independently.

Albuquerque Police Officer Job Description

New police officers with the Albuquerque Police Department generally spend their first two years of service on patrol. After completing an initial one-year training period, police officers are issued a patrol car for use during their hours on duty. Police officers may be assigned to various shifts, with overtime pay offered at time-and-a-half. Police officers who have completed two years of service at the Albuquerque Police Department are eligible to apply for positions with specialized units, including crimes against children, the crisis negotiation team, homicide, the vice squad, narcotics, and the horse-mounted patrol. Police officers assigned to specialized units may earn additional specialty pay.

Albuquerque Police Officer Training, Prerequisites, and Education Requirements

All prospective Albuquerque Police Department officers must meet the following eligibility criteria: be a US citizen and at least 21 years old at the time of police academy graduation, have a high school diploma or GED, and possess a valid driver's license. 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. 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. 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.

Candidates who meet these requirements and successfully complete the application process will be invited to attend the Albuquerque Law Enforcement Academy, which is a full-time, 26-week program that includes academic learning as well as physical conditioning. After graduating from the academy, officer recruits are promoted to patrolman 2nd class and receive at least three months of field training. Upon successful completion of training, new police officers will spend their first year of service on probation, after which time they will be promoted to patrolman 1st class.

Albuquerque Police Officer Salary and Job Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a police officer in the city of Albuquerque was $52,100 as of 2015, with a mean hourly wage of $25.05 and a median hourly wage of $25.98.2 The Albuquerque Police Department also offers a full range of benefits, including health insurance, dental insurance, shift differentials, pay incentives for bilingual abilities, overtime at time-and-a-half, parental leave, and holiday and sick leave. Police officers assigned to special duties earn additional specialty pay each month. An estimated 1,630 police and sheriff's patrol officers were employed in the city as of May 2015.2

Contact Information


Albuquerque Police Department
800 Louisiana Blvd SE
Albuquerque, NM 87108

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Is the Albuquerque Police Department hiring?

Answer: The Albuquerque Police Department accepts applications for police officer and support positions periodically. To check if the department is currently accepting applications, visit

Question: How much do Albuquerque police officers make?

Answer: The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average salary of Albuquerque police officers at $52,100 per year.2 Officers can increase their salaries through overtime as well as annual increases based on longevity. According to the department, the 50 highest-earning patrol officers average $87,000 per year.3

Question: Do I need a college degree to become a police officer in Albuquerque?

Answer: While a degree is not required, candidates for police officer jobs in Albuquerque must have at least 32 credit hours of college or university study if they do not have prior military experience or experience as a police service aide or prisoner transport officer in the state. However, an exceptional candidate waiver for those who are at least 24 years of age with an excellent background is available for those who agree to a 3-year service commitment and earn at least 60 college credit hours within three years of hire.

1. Albuquerque Police Department:
2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Albuquerque:
3. Albuquerque Police Recruiting:

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