By Ashley Shickler,
Matthew Thomas, criminal justice interim affairs director, said that a new program that will be taking place at CNM in January 2019 is a team up with the Albuquerque Police Department to provide police academy training for agency sponsored cadets.
The program will be 17 weeks long and will begin on January 7, 2019, with a total of 20 students, he said.
If you look at what the country is doing as a nation, about 50 percent of all basic academy training is through universities and two-year colleges, so CNM is following a national model for academic-based training for police officers, Thomas said.
The program will teach community-based approaches, as opposed to a military-style approach, he said.
“I think the philosophy of a lot of the people that run agencies is that for several decades now, we’ve always had that military mentality, and that obviously isn’t working as well as it should be,” Thomas said.
The goal is to help people who have already been hired by an agency develop the personal skills they need to work alongside the community while keeping it safe, he said.
“My philosophy and CNM’s philosophy is that we need to mentor guardians of the community first and warriors second,” Thomas said.
Thomas said cadets should talk with students, businesses, churches, institutions and so on.
The goal is to have some connections with the community before they go out on the force, Thomas said.
Thomas said that APD pays a higher wage than other law enforcement agencies in the surrounding area, which is causing those agencies to lose their staff, but there is an overwhelming number of applicants, and that’s where the CNM police academy comes in.
This program is a nine-week training for sworn and certified police officers who are taught to become more familiar with Albuquerque’s city ordinances and APD’s procedures, he said.
APD brought more than 30 people from surrounding agencies to discuss procedures, policies and rules, he said.
Because APD is short on training instructors and facilities, accommodating the incoming 100 cadets will be difficult, he said.
If you get hired on by Bernalillo County or APD, you go through 16 weeks of training, he said.
These agencies say that more training is needed, because most police academies are running anywhere from 22 to 27 weeks, and that’s just to get out of the academy. Afterwards, there is on-the-job training. he said.
The state of NM regulates all the police training in the state and requires a minimum of 677 training hours in all sorts of different fields such as theory, firearms, driving and real-life situations, Thomas said.
APD included in the program the required 677 hours plus 90 hours, so there now are more than 700 hours, which translates into 32 college credits, Thomas said.
If the program works out well, it will be around for a while, he said.