NM Police Officer Requirements



New Mexico can be a picturesque state full of postcard-worthy scenery, but its crime rates aren’t exactly pretty. In fact, it’s downright horrific. Among all the states in the US, it is the absolute worst when it comes to burglary. It is also the #3 worst in forcible rape, #4 worst in aggravated assault, #4 worst in property crime, and #4 worst for all violent crimes. It’s in the bottom half of all the states for every crime category there is, according to the latest FBI statistics released early in 2014.

So if you are going to be a cop in New Mexico, you have your work cut out for you. Police academy requirements in New Mexico differ depending on the particular police department you apply to. Here are some facts about applying at various police departments in the state:

Albuquerque Police Department

During your 25-week Academy training, you’ll earn $18.24 per hour, with overtime. That jumps to $20.04 per hour in your first year as a Albuquerque police officer, plus a $5,000 hiring bonus for successfully completing the Police Academy training.

The qualifications you need as a cadet include:

  • 21 years old by the time you graduate from the Police Academy
  • US citizen with valid New Mexico driver’s license
  • 60 credit hours from an accredited college with a 2.0 GPA minimum
  • No felony or domestic violence conviction; no misdemeanor or use of misdemeanor drugs in the last 3 years; no DWI or use of felony drugs in the last 5 years
  • Not be in collections for amount over $500

You will need to pass the following physical fitness test standards:

  • 29 pushups in one minute
  • 15 minutes and 20 seconds to complete a 1.5-mile run
  • 65.4 seconds to finish a 300-meter run
  • 31 sit-ups in one minute

The application process is lengthy, and it includes a written exam and a persona integrity questionnaire on the first day, physical testing and reading comprehension on the second day, written psych test and personal history submission on day 3 which will then be subject to an intensive background check.

You’ll also be required to undergo a polygraph test. Then there’s a psych interview, a selection board interview, and finally the usual battery of tests to check your medical fitness (including your hearing and vision plus a drug test).

Las Cruces Police Department

As a cadet, you’ll earn $15.50 per hour. Once you graduate after taking the 20-week academy training, you get a $3,000 hiring bonus and your salary jumps to $17.83 per hour. After a year of probation, your salary becomes $20.99 per hour, or about $43,600 a year.

The qualification requirements for the Las Cruces PD are typical, except that you can be 19 years old with just a high school diploma. The application process is similar, and the physical fitness test standards are based on the New Mexico Law Enforcement Agency Standards. The initial fitness standards are the same as that of the New Mexico PD. But after you finish the more than a thousand hours of instruction at the Academy, you need to demonstrate the following physical fitness standards:

  • 35 pushups in one minute
  • 13 minutes and 58 seconds to complete a 1.5-mile run
  • 58.9 seconds to finish a 300-meter run
  • 37 sit-ups in one minute

You’ll also need to pass additional agility standards as well.

Rio Rancho Police Department

You’ll earn $17.39 per hour as a cadet, and this jumps to $18.85 once you graduate from the Academy. The basic requirements include being 21 years old, with a high school diploma, and in addition to the no felony rule you also should not be guilty of various serious crimes within the last three years.

You can apply to be a police officer by going to the official Rio Rancho website. The selection process is typical, but it has its own physical fitness assessment tests. The tests include a 1.5 mile run, sit and reach, bench press, sit-ups and leg press.

Santa Fe Police Department

The starting pay for cadets is $19.11 per hour. The basic requirements are typical, as you need to be 21 with a high school diploma, plus no felonies or convictions involving moral turpitude. The selection process is typical as well. It involves the usual written tests, interviews medical and psych evaluations, background checks, and physical fitness tests.

Its physical fitness standards (including the exit standards) are exactly the same as that of the Las Cruces Police Department as they are based on the New Mexico Law Enforcement Agency Standards.

Roswell Police Department

The basic requirements are also typical, as you need to be 21 years old with a high school diploma, no criminal record, and a good driving record. You also need at least 20/30 eyesight.

The selection process is once again also typical, as it involves the basic written test, interview, medical and psych evaluation, a background check and a test of your physical fitness. The physical fitness standards are based on your age and gender.

As a trainee, you’ll earn $15.7589 an hour, and this jumps to $16.5470 an hour (34,417.76 a year).


Learning how to prepare for the police academy is crucial if you want to be a police officer in New Mexico. You need to understand what they are looking for in the selection process, and you have to be prepared for what you will encounter in the written tests and interviews.

Finally, you have to be prepared for the physical fitness tests, which can be truly challenging in the New Mexico climate. All these and more can be found by studying the Prepare for the Police Academy review manual, which is written by an actual cop who has a psych degree and is also a certified personal trainer.


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