New Mexico is a great place to work as a law enforcement officer. There are large cities in the state as well as rural areas, and both promise exciting police work. There are warm summers and cold winters that offer interesting variation.
With decent salaries for law enforcement officers, New Mexico is competitive when it comes to future officers choosing a place to begin their career on the force. Salaries typically average between $44,000 and $62,000 per year. Benefits and retirement packages also help the state compete for the best police officers.
To become a police officer in the Land of Enchantment, you have to meet some pretty strict requirements. Local agencies can set their own requirements too. If you don’t meet the following requirements, you can’t become a police officer in New Mexico, period. Keep reading to find out if this profession is for you:
Age and Citizenship
The most basic requirements to become a New Mexico peace officer are your age and your citizenship. You must be at least twenty-one years old. This rule applies to your date of hire. Also, you must be a citizen of the United States. There are no exceptions for green card holders.
Criminal History and Driver’s License
If you get past the first hurdle, then you have to see if your criminal record and driving history also qualify you for law enforcement work in New Mexico. You can’t have any felony convictions and you can’t have any gross misdemeanors, either. The State puts each applicant through a thorough background check, so they find the details of your criminal history.
They also check your driving history. You must have a driver’s license that’s current and valid. You also have to prove that you’re a person with good character, and that checks things like drug and alcohol abuse.
Testing and Education Requirements
New Mexico is unique in that it gives new police recruits a standard assessment test. It’s called the BPOT which stands for Basic Police Officer Test. If you want to work in the profession in New Mexico, you have to pass this test. CPR and First Aid training is something you have to complete, too.
You might need to have some college credits, but the details vary by police department. One example is the Albuquerque Police Department, which says that you need at least thirty-two credits, and those credits must come from an accredited college. If you don’t have college credits, military experience is another way to make you stand out as a candidate during the application process.
Of course, police work is highly physical. You might have to take a daring step to save someone’s life. You might have to pursue someone on foot. On another occasion you might find yourself breaking up a fight. There are lots of physical things that a police officer might have to do during a shift.
For this reason, you have to show that you’re physically fit enough to handle the job. Some people can easily pass this portion of the test, and for others, it’s a struggle. The test is a mix of strength and endurance testing.
There is also a psychological test, to make sure that you can handle the stress of the work. You also have to interview with a group that oversees admission into the profession in New Mexico. Other tests include hearing and vision tests, also designed to make sure you can handle what the job requires.
In the Academy
When you get to the training academy, you have to quickly learn many concepts in order to succeed. The purpose of the police academy in New Mexico is to make sure you learn all of the things that you need to know in order to serve the public with confidence and skill. During training, you have to learn defensive tactics that keep you safe on the job. These tactics include handcuffing and how to take down an unruly member of the public during an arrest.
You also have to learn how to lawfully conduct search and seizure as well as learn a great deal of criminal law. You spend time learning how to write reports and how to investigate a crime scene. You have to continue to train and demonstrate your physical fitness, too.
One great way to jump start your career in police work in New Mexico is by starting to prepare today. It’s never too early to begin learning some of the things you need to quickly master during training. New recruits report less stress and more confidence when they spend extra time preparing before they entered police academy.
You might consider buying an insider’s guide such as Prepare for the Police Academy. This guide is written by the experts in police work and the experts in training for police work. They wrote this guide to help you avoid the pitfalls that cause so many new recruits to fail police academy. It’s available at www.PrepareForThePoliceAcademy.com.
The guide contains simple explanations of the most important legal concepts, like search and seizure, individual rights and common crimes such as larceny and drunk driving. It also includes practical tips for physical training. Beginning today can give you the upper hand so that you can arrive for your first day of training ready to go with confidence in your new career.
County Sheriff Office and Police Departments: