Lateral Applicant/School Information


Applicant Qualifications 

  1. Must be 21 years of age at the time of commission. There is no upper age limit.
  2. Possess a high school diploma or GED.
  3. Must be a United States citizen.
  4. Must be in excellent physical health with no conditions which would restrict ability to effectively perform the duties of a New Mexico State Police Officer.
  5. 20/30 corrected vision or 20/100 uncorrected vision, normal depth perception, and satisfactory color vision.
  6. Must have no felony convictions, history of criminal activity, improper conduct, or poor driving record which may affect suitability for law enforcement work.
  7. Minimum of 2 years of law enforcement experience. If currently separated from law enforcement, this separation must not have exceeded one year in length.
  8. Active duty military police applicants must have successfully completed a basic military police course* and completed a four (4) year enlistment as a military police officer in the US Army, US Marine Corps, US Air Force, or US Navy. Contact a recruiter for the recognized courses and occupational specialties/career classifications that qualify for the Lateral School.
  9. Applicants currently on active duty status must submit a notarized letter from their current command attesting to their current status, records of any disciplinary actions, and a statement attesting the applicant is eligible for a general/honorable discharge.

* Specific details regarding the requirements for active duty military police applicants can be located at NMAC

The Application Process

  • Online account (Interest Card): To begin the process, go to and follow the link to the NMSP Lateral Academy. Create an account with us and a recruiter will contact you by either phone or email. Interested applicants may also call the NMSP Training & Recruiting Bureau at 505-827-9200
  • Application: Complete the on-line application through the account and a recruiter will contact you by phone or email to schedule the next phase of the application process when it is available.
  • Physical Fitness Test: Interested applicants will be required to undergo a physical fitness evaluation. The standards for the physical fitness evaluation are as follows:
ActivityDistance/AmountMinimum time/reps
Aerobic Power1.5 mile run15:54
Anaerobic Power300 meter run71 seconds
Muscular Endurance1 minute maximum number of sit-ups27 repetitions
Upper Body Strength1 minute maximum number of push-ups15 repetitions
  • Written Test: Upon successfully completing the physical fitness evaluation, the applicant must take the written aptitude test. The written test is an assessment of reading comprehension, grammar, and mathematics.
  • Polygraph Examination:
  • Background Investigation:
  • Oral Board:
  • Medical Screening:
  • Psychological Evaluation:
  • Chief’s Selection: At the end of the selection process, the Chief of the New Mexico State Police evaluates all of the application packets of those who successfully pass through the application process and selects the top candidates for the next NMSP Lateral Academy.
  • FTO Program: Up to 9 weeks of on the job training with a field training officer after graduation from the Lateral School.


  • Jurisdiction
    • The NMSP has the statewide authority to investigate and enforce criminal statutes, motor vehicle statutes, and administrative statutes.
  • Opportunities for Advancement
    • After two years of service in the Uniform Bureau, officers have the opportunity to apply/test for advanced/specialized units including:
      • Commercial Motor Vehicle Enforcement
      • Investigations Bureau
      • Tactical Team
      • Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squad
      • K9 Team
      • Aircraft Section
      • Online Predator Unit
      • Governor’s Security Detail
      • Crime Scene Team
      • Crash Reconstruction Unit
      • Special Investigations Unit
      • Crisis Negotiations Team
      • Search and Recovery Dive Team
      • Motor Team
      • Honor Guard
  • Uniforms & Equipment
    • All initial uniforms and equipment are provided.
    • Commissioned Officers receive a uniform allowance of $400 twice per year for the purchase of uniform items
    • Take home vehicle
  • Retirement
    • 25 year retirement at 75%, with the ability to earn up to 90% with longevity.
      • Please contact PERA for questions about retirement service credit and benefits
    • No maximum age limit to start your career, no age requirement to retire.
    • Optional New Mexico 457 Plan (Deferred Compensation)
  • Other Incentives
    • Competitive salaries
    • Military incentives – Waiver of 60 college hour requirements, for entry, with two years of military service or 3 years of law enforcement experience
    • Health & Dental Insurance – Comprehensive and competitive plans, with options for vision and pre-paid legal services
    • Life & Disability Insurance – $50,000 per DPS employee, with an additional $25,000 for being an NMSP Officer
    • Option to purchase additional supplemental life insurance
    • Vacation – Paid Vacation of 15-24 days per year, Paid Sick Leave of 12 days per year
    • Duty Injury Leave – Allowance of up to 1440 paid hours for work-related injury/illness that occurs while performing non-administrative law enforcement duties.
    • Additional Earning Opportunities
      • Overtime Opportunities
      • Shift differential
      • Holiday Pay
      • Incentive Pay for Bachelors and Masters Degrees
      • A percentage increase is allowed for certain specialized positions

Duty Assignments

Duty assignments for NMSP Officers are located throughout the State of New Mexico.  NMSP Lateral Applicants will be informed of available duty assignments during the selection process. The Lateral applicant will be able to choose a duty assignment/location, and the applicant will know where he/she will be stationed prior to starting the academy. This location will be guaranteed and upon successful completion of the lateral academy, the applicant/officer will be stationed in this location.

New Mexico Law Enforcement Officer’s Certification Exam

  • Applicants who are not currently certified law enforcement officers in New Mexico must take the NM Law Enforcement Officer Certification Exam (LEOCE) prior to graduation. This exam is a pass/fail exam.

NMSP Lateral School

  • 7 weeks at the Law Enforcement Academy in Santa Fe, NM.
  • Block tests will be given each week, which the students must pass with a score of at least 72%.
  • The lateral academy is a residential academy where meals and lodging are provided.
  • Lateral applicants are free to leave the academy during off-duty hours.
  • Applicants may be required to attend training over weekends/irregular hours and on holidays but will be compensated for this time
  • Lateral applicants must conform to current grooming standards per NMSP policy ADM: 24 Uniform, Grooming and Equipment. These standards can be explained and provided by the recruiter upon request.
  • The NMSP Lateral Academy is designed to be more of a collegiate atmosphere versus the traditional NMSP recruit school. However, there is still mandatory physical fitness training which is included as part of the curriculum. All applicants must participate in this physical fitness training in order to successfully complete the lateral academy.
  • Salary
  • Lateral applications are only accepted at Patrolman level. Starting pay for a New Mexico State Police lateral applicant is based on the number of years of prior law enforcement experience. Applicants will begin receiving pay at this rate immediately upon entering the academy.

Years of ExperienceStepHourly WageYearly Wage
33$ 23.49$ 48,859.00
44$ 23.49$ 48,859.00
5+5$ 24.19$ 50,315.00

The salary structure for all current commissioned officers is as follows:


STEP ====>123456
PATROLMAN $21.35$21.35$23.49$23.49$24.19$25.88