SANTA FE, N.M. – The Santa Fe Police Department is considering the possibility of recruiting Mexican nationals to fill vacant police jobs.
Sgts. Gillian Alessio and Marvin Paulk, who are in charge of the department's recruiting and training, said Tuesday they are considering alternative approaches to fill 20 vacancies on the city's 155-person police force.
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.
"There is a huge pool of people who are dedicated, hardworking and trying to become citizens of this country. They would like nothing better than to devote their time to protecting the communities that they live in," she said.
The United States speeds up naturalization for foreigners who enlist in the U.S. military, and Alessio asked, "Why can't we do that with law enforcement?"