I’ve heard it before somewhere, but an interesting idea nonetheless:

The Santa Fe Police Department is considering the possibility of recruiting Mexican nationals to fill vacant police jobs. {…}

But Police Chief Eric Johnson said New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy regulations prohibit non-citizens from serving as police officers.

Alessio said the Santa Fe police force, like others around the country, is vying to recruit the same 21- to 30-year-olds as the U.S. military, whose need for recruits is taking a toll on the police department.

“Every day, we get approached by young men and women from Mexico who are in the country legally but are not naturalized,” Alessio said.

I have only one concern about the program: It’s easier to do background checks on Americans than it is someone that was raised outside the US. It seems like it might be easier for someone to slip through the cracks. Then again, the same could be said of American citizens born and raised abroad and Americans that have spent a significant amount of time overseas.

I also speak from a position of ignorance for what kind of background checks we do before we let people in the US legally. If they look as closely at people immigrating as they do at police officers, then the point may be moot. Maybe Logtar can provide some insights?

Category: Statehouse

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5 Responses to Policia de los Estados Unitos

  1. Webmaster says:

    Provided they are legally here, and the departments are having a genuine issue with hiring and not a “we don’t want to pay what the job is worth” issue, then I have no issues with the plan.

    Actually, I was unaware that becoming a police officer required citizenship in the first place.

  2. David Alexander says:

    If the Sante Fe Police Department has to compete against the military for recruits, then the problem is with the low pay for incoming recruits. Raising the starting salaries should be considered before looking for permanent residents.

  3. trumwill says:


    You make a good point, so I did a little investigating.

    According the SFPD website, starting pay after a 1-year probationary period is about $35k per year. That may not be a whole lot in NYC, but I would wager that cost-of-living in Santa Fe is, according to this website is about 45% that of NYC. Pretty good for starting pay on a job that doesn’t require college. That’s base salary, there are also all sorts of incentives and early retirement. That’s pretty competitive for police work, and unlike other departments they do not require any college classwork (many require 60 hours).

    I’m honestly not sure how well the military pays. I get the sense less (if you’re going in as a private), but it may be more if you factor in hazard pay. I’d bet the chief draw to the military is not the money you make but the skills you learn to move on to better jobs. I’m not sure how police departments are going to be able to compete with that purely on a salary level.

  4. David Alexander says:

    I’d imagine that the Army and Marines aren’t attracting as many recruits as before given the chance that one may end up going to Iraq. SFPD should probably consider recruiting from outside of the area to get a wider cachet . Now, if it really comes down to recruiting permanent residents, the best options would be to look for those who have at least three to four years of residency minimum (enough time to leave a paper trail) and mandate that citizenship is obtained in an appropriate amount of time.

    BTW, NYC cops spend 6 months in Police Academy at the equivalent of $26K with starting salary after graduation at $32K.

  5. logtar says:

    When you come into the US legally you go through a very extensive background check. The process for Anyone that is an adult has their background checked, also everyone including minors is given a physical including blood tests for any kind of contagious disease including aids.

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