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Law Enforcement Careers in New Mexico

New Mexico was ranked the second most dangerous state in the country in 2010.  Members of the law enforcement community in New Mexico work to fight crime and change this growing reputation.  Those who seek law enforcement careers in New Mexico have a number of opportunities, ranging from jobs with the New Mexico State Police to employment as Deputy Sheriffs by the many counties in the state.  The large number of municipal police forces in the state also provides a source of law enforcement jobs in New Mexico.

Jobs with the New Mexico State Police

Originally established in 1905 as the New Mexico Mounted Police, the New Mexico State Police force employs 568 sworn officers to investigate, prevent, detect, and disrupt violent criminals and those who would commit felonies in New Mexico.

Those who seek State Trooper jobs in New Mexico must be 21 years old and possess a high school diploma or GED.  Applicants must obtain 60 hours of college credit.  They can have this to start with, or they can attend the Law Enforcement Academy and receive 30 hours from San Juan College.  In that case, they are given two years to obtain the remaining 30 hours.  If they possess 30 credit hours in the beginning, they can obtain the rest from attending the Academy.  Applicants who are chosen first take a physical fitness test, and then if they pass, a written test the same day.  Training for state troopers is provided by the New Mexico State Police Training and Recruiting Bureau.  Read more information on how to become a State Trooper in New Mexico.

Jobs with Sheriff’s Departments in New Mexico

Those who seek jobs as Sheriff’s Deputies in New Mexico have a wealth of options among the 33 county Sheriff’s Offices in the state.

 

Bernalillo County:  The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department provides a number of law enforcement services for the citizens of Bernalillo County.  The Department has a Metro Air Unit, a SWAT Team, and an extensive Criminal Services Division that provides Crime Scene Investigations.  Citizens of New Mexico who seek jobs as Sheriff’s Deputies in Bernalillo County must be 21 years old before they graduate from the academy and must have a high school diploma or GED.  Applicants who seek training to be Sheriff’s Deputies in Bernalillo County must pass two written exams, a physical agility test, and polygraph, psychological, and medical examinations.

Sandoval County:  The Sandoval County Sheriff’s Department provides law enforcement, animal control services, and court security to residents of the county.  In municipalities, the Sheriff has concurrent jurisdiction.  U.S. citizens who seek jobs as Sheriff Deputies in Sandoval County must be 21 years old and have a high school diploma or GED.  They must have completed the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy or have had equivalent training.

Santa Fe County:  U.S. citizens who seek jobs as Sheriff’s Deputies in Santa Fe County must have a high school diploma or GED and be 21 years old by the time the 22 weeks of training in the academy is completed.

Jobs with Municipal Police Departments in New Mexico

Citizens of the U.S. who seek jobs as Police Officers in New Mexico have a number of options to choose from in the many municipal police departments in the state.

Albuquerque:  Albuquerque has one of the highest crime rates in the country.  This is combated by members of the Albuquerque Police Department.  U.S. citizens who seek job as Police Officers in Albuquerque must be 21 years old by the time they graduate from the academy.  Applicants must have 60 college credit hours with a minimum 2.0 GPA.  This can be waived for those who have served in the military for three years.

Las Cruces:  The crime rate in Las Cruces is high compared to other cities in the U.S.  The 269 members of the Las Cruces Police Department work to combat this by answering approximately 157,000 service calls each year.

Those who seek jobs as Police Officers in Las Cruces must be 20 years old and have a high school diploma or GED.  The first step in the application process is a written exam.  Applicants who pass this then undergo a physical assessment test.  Those who pass undergo a background check, oral interviews, drug screen, and polygraph, psychological, and medical evaluations.

Rio Rancho:  The crime rate for Rio Rancho is lower than that of most cities its size.  This is partly attributable to the efforts of the Rio Rancho Police Department.  Those who seek jobs as Police Officers in Rio Rancho must have prior experience in law enforcement or in the military or have law enforcement certification.  Applicants undergo a physical fitness assessment and a written exam.  If they pass, they are then interviewed and undergo a background check.  Successful applicants receive a conditional offer of employment, but they must then pass drug screening, a medical exam, and psychological screening.  Training for Police Officers in Rio Rancho is provided at the Basic Police Officer Academy.

Roswell: Roswell has a very high crime rate compared to other cities of the same size.  The over 100 members of the Roswell Department responded to nearly 58,000 service calls in 2011 to fight crime.  Those who seek jobs as Police Officers in Roswell and are accepted for employment will undergo training at the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy in Santa Fe for a 22-week course.

Santa Fe:  Santa Fe has a very high crime rate for a city of its size.  The members of the Santa Fe Police Department fight this situation.  Those who seek jobs as Police Officers in Santa Fe must be U.S. citizens and have reached 21 years of age.  Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED.  To be hired, applicants must pass a written exam, physical agility tests, and oral interview, and polygraph, background, psychological, and medical examinations, along with a drug screening test.

New Mexico Law Enforcement Salaries

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, as reported in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition, the median New Mexico law enforcement salaries in 2010 were:

  • Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers: $43,350
  • Supervisors of Police and Detectives: $63,550
  • Detectives and Criminal Investigators: $71,780

Detectives and Criminal Investigators Salaries in New Mexico

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Albuquerque NM
260
77320
Farmington NM
50
48830
North and West Central New Mexico nonmetropolitan area
50
47070
Eastern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area
220
63640

Police Officer and Sheriff Salary in New Mexico

At the Albuquerque Police Department, Police Cadets completing the 25-week academy training receive a starting salary of $37,939.20. After the training program, the promotion to Police Officer Second Class is given and the salary increased to $41,683.20. One year after graduating from the academy, another promotion to Police Officer First Class is given, and the salary increases again to $52,374.40.

The Albuquerque Police Department also offers these benefits to its police officers:

  • Graveyard shift differential: $600 per year
  • Bilingual pay: $600 per year
  • Specialty unit pay: $600 per year
  • Swing shift differential: $300 per year
  • Field training officer: $1,200 per year
  • Bachelor’s degree incentive: $1,620 per year
  • Master’s degree incentive: $1,920 per year
  • PHD incentive: $2,220 per year

Police laterals, which are officers with experience, are started at the same salary level as Police Officer First Class.

At the county level, such as at the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office, deputy sheriffs who are certified but have no law enforcement experience are started at a rate of $34,860.80 per year. Deputy Sheriffs who are certified with at least 5 years of previous experience receive an annual salary of $40,144.

Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers Salaries in New Mexico

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Albuquerque NM
1510
45050
Farmington NM
330
53510
Las Cruces NM
380
45440
North and West Central New Mexico nonmetropolitan area
550
40780
Eastern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area
880
41300
Southwestern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area
270
38840

State Trooper Salary in New Mexico

The state trooper salary in New Mexico begins at $30,784 for New Mexico State Police Recruits. The pay scale beyond that is as follows:

Step
Patrolman
Lieutenant
1
$37128
$63413
2
$38482
$65314
3
$39876
$67271
4
$41267
$69290
5
$42659
6
$44050
7
$45442
8
$46835
9
$48256
10
$49712
11
$51205
12
$52743

Police Supervisors and Detectives Salaries in New Mexico

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Albuquerque NM
200
71300
Farmington NM
50
70400
Las Cruces NM
70
71610
North and West Central New Mexico nonmetropolitan area
60
55830
Eastern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area
120
60530
Southwestern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area
30
69610

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