CNM Law Enforcement Academy Graduates First Police Cadet Class
During the academy, cadets earn 32 college credits that can be applied toward a degree in Criminal Justice.

CNM Law Enforcement Academy Graduates First Police Cadet Class

After graduating from the rigorous 18-week academy, cadets will be eligible to be commissioned by the Albuquerque Police Department.
May 22, 2019

In January, CNM launched the Central New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy (CNMLEA) as an effort to support the police cadet training needs of law enforcement agencies across central New Mexico.

The CNM-based academy is helping to address the workforce demand for more police cadets throughout central New Mexico while also providing a collegiate, high-quality education and training environment for cadets to learn the law enforcement profession.

The inaugural cohort of 19 Albuquerque Police Department cadets will cross a major milestone on their way to becoming New Mexico’s newest law enforcement officers at a Graduation Ceremony was held on Thursday, May 23, at 10 a.m. in Smith Brasher Hall on Main Campus.

“Our law enforcement agencies do a fantastic job of providing hands-on training to new cadets,” says Matthew Thomas, academic affairs director for the criminal justice program. “But there is also an academic component that can greatly enhance traditional police officer training.”

Matt says that the CNMLEA is offering a more nuanced approach to officer training, giving cadets the proper academic tools to learn the knowledge and skills of their occupation and apply it accordingly. The academic courses took place on CNM’s Westside Campus with physical, hands-on training such as firearms training taking place at APD facilities.

“Our cadets learn everything from history to law to patrol procedures to interacting with the mentally ill,” he says. “CNM is able to give our cadets resources that they wouldn’t get in a traditional police academy. They have access to tutors, the library, test anxiety workshops, and all of the other student support services that we offer at a community college, which is going to make them stronger officers in the long run.”

The Albuquerque Police Department has been instrumental in the success of the inaugural group of CNMLEA cadets, according to Matt. He says that APD has provided facilities, equipment and instructors throughout the 18-week program and has brought a plethora of knowledge to the academy.

Ashley Martinez Licon says that the CNMLEA has been one of the best experiences of her life so far.

Ashley Martinez Licon is one of the cadets in the CNMLEA and she says that being in a college environment has helped her hone her critical thinking and communication skills.

“It’s been great being here at CNM because as a future police officer, I’ve had the chance to talk and connect with other CNM students and get their feedback on how we can best serve them and make a better impact on the community as a whole,” Ashley says.

Ashley says that the CNMLEA curriculum has challenged her in ways that will make her a stronger and smarter police officer out in the field.  

“We’ve gone over so much over the last 18 weeks,” she says. “We’ve done extensive health and fitness trainings and reviewed every aspect of constitutional, state and criminal law.”

There’s one thing that will never change when it comes to the training of our future law enforcement officers – camaraderie. Ashley says that she has built strong, lasting relationships with her fellow cadets and they have all been each other’s support system throughout this experience.

“We came here as strangers and now we are a family,” Ashley says. “I know they have my back when we are in the field and I will always have their backs as well.”

In the fall, the CNMLEA will train cadets from law enforcement agencies in surrounding areas. Cadets who participate in the academy are sponsored by the police departments.

All police cadets in New Mexico are taught through standardized curriculum designed by the New Mexico Department of Safety. At the CNMLEA, the curriculum is taught by CNM instructors who are subject matter experts and the academy covers everything from criminal justice academic coursework to firearms training.

The cadets graduate from the CNMLEA as police officers and then complete their final training and certifications with their respective police departments. During the academy, cadets earn 32 college credits that can be applied toward a degree in Criminal Justice.

Learn more about the Central New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy.

Above: The inaugural cadet class of the CNMLEA.