A recent move by UNM aims to improve police officer training in the city.

According to a press release from the City of Albuquerque, UNM has signed a memorandum of agreement with the Albuquerque Police Department and is now conducting talks with the police department “in an effort to bolster training and career development for APD’s finest.” The memorandum was drafted by APD’s Training Division and by UNM’s public administration department.

The contract for the memorandum started last month and will last for one year with the possibility of renewal.

Joseph Wolf, director of training at APD, said the memorandum would provide more opportunities for police officers in the city. Wolf said the collaboration with UNM would bring a more academic approach to APD’s training program.

“It’s about collaborating to help us develop our training to formalize opportunity for officers,” he said. “The primary focus is to update and modernize our management training programs. We’re looking to UNM to help us with our supervisory training…and perhaps a more advanced academic look to help us manage our department.”

APD plans to formulate initiatives with regard to training by the beginning of 2014, Wolf said. He said possible initiatives could include the creation of a fellowship program for APD police officers and of a center for law enforcement leadership for the department.

Still, he said the department is still unsure how much the initiatives would cost and where money would come from.

Wolf said he expects the memorandum to focus especially on the improvement of APD’s leadership.

“We’re starting now to work together what the plan forward is,” he said. “It will begin with our supervisory training. If you have better leadership, you gain efficiencies and gain effectiveness. That’s the objective of the program.”

Wolf said the memorandum could also explore whether management processes at UNM could be applicable for APD. He said the memorandum would be critical to the improvement of APD.

“I do think it’s helpful,” he said. “We’re looking to bring some advanced education, and we also want to look at programs suitable at UNM.”

But Wolf said that this is not the first time UNM and APD collaborated. He said that initiatives between the two bodies happen often, and that the memorandum only “formalized jointly” their relationship.

UNMPD Operations Lieutenant Trace Peck said APD has always helped with the training of UNMPD officers. He said UNMPD officers train with APD once every year, typically during the beginning of the year.

“It’s nothing new,” he said. “It’s probably something that just came to light. We’ve always done our trainings with APD with certified instructors.”

Peck said UNMPD had conducted active shooter trainings with APD just last week. He said UNMPD officers also obtain DWI certifications through the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office.

Peck said that trainings with APD are more economical for UNMPD.

“It’s a cumulative thing in terms of training and who comes,” he said. “It’s financially beneficial for us to reach outside for a specific type of training when it becomes available just because we don’t have the financial assets.”

UNMPD Public Information Officer Tim Stump said the memorandum would tighten the long-standing relationship between APD and the University.

“It keeps a running friendship and camaraderie,” he said. “We have some kind of relationship with them. So it makes it safer here because we know there are 900 cops around the city that we could call all the time.”

Wolf said he is optimistic about the results of the memorandum in the future.

“We’re working together to try to improve,” he said. “External collaborations are important. We appreciate the partnership and we’re looking forward to the future.”