RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – With a shortage of officers, Albuquerque police saw an opportunity in the upcoming closure of Rio Rancho’s Sprint Call Center that’s putting nearly 400 New Mexicans out of work.
“Quite frankly, I saw this on the news like everybody else,” APD’s only full-time recruiter Officer Russ Alberti said. “Really kind of sad.”
The call center will close on February 5.
“Not to take advantage of anybody’s misfortune, but we can offer something to people who have maybe thought about law enforcement,” Alberti said.
That’s why he paid the call center an unexpected visit Monday morning. The department is roughly 150 officers short, according to a recent staffing study.
Alberti talked to his supervisors beforehand, telling them “‘This would be a good idea just to head up there and maybe talk to some people or at least talk with somebody that could get us in and offer them career opportunities.'”
But because it was an unannounced visit, it didn’t go exactly as planned. An HR person with the call center said it would be better if Alberti came back when the call center holds a job fair.
He did bump into a few employees on the way out, though.
“They said ‘Oh it’s something to think about’ of course, I think a lot of those poor folks are shell shocked,” he explained. “They didn’t see this coming… I don’t think anybody did.”
The recruitment process is harder than ever now, he said, because of the DOJ’s more stringent requirements. So if someone does apply, they have to really want the job.
He’s also worried about people only applying to take advantage of the department’s recent pay raise and the nice pension that comes with retirement, but he believes those people will be weeded out in the academy, if anything.
“If we even get maybe one person out of those 400, if it’s a candidate, it would be worth it,” he said. “It would be worth it.”
It’s unclear when that job fair will take place. Alberti said APD will definitely be there.
Alberti said being a police officer in Albuquerque is an extremely rewarding job.