City of Albuquerque

What’s Up With APD’s “Police Service Aides”?

When I returned to my car after dinner Downtown last night, I saw a peculiar kind of police car idling behind my own. Instead of the authoritative “POLICE” banner plastered across the side of a white Crown Victoria, this car was a Chevrolet Impala with the smaller and less-imposing words “Police Service Aide” painted on the doors. Luckily, the presence of this official didn’t seem to have anything to do with my car. But for those curious about who these individuals are and what they do, here are the details.

According to an e-mail from APD Public Information Officer Nadine Hamby, Albuquerque’s 25 Police Service Aides exist to “assist citizens in traffic control, traffic crashes, [and] towing vehicles.” APD’s website says that in addition to assisting officers with traffic accidents, they are also responsible for helping deal with “misdemeanor offenses, delivery of paperwork, [and] parking enforcement.”

For those who let up on the accelerator when they see a Police Service Aide car in the rearview mirror, rest easy. Service Aides can’t arrest anybody and they can’t pull you over, said Hamby.

Police Service Aides must attend Albuquerque’s Police Academy to land a job as a Service Aide, and they must meet all the physical fitness requirements that those applying to be a full-fledged police officer must meet. While the disqualifications for past drug use are slightly less strict for Service Aides as they are for police officers, the requirements in other areas are the same.

“[Service Aides] are also between the ages of 18 and 21,” Hamby said. “Most of [them] are college students and eventually become officers.”