Lateral Applicants and Academy

The New Mexico State Police holds occasional Lateral Academies for currently certified law enforcement officers who want to transfer into the state’s highest law enforcement agency. Our next Lateral Academy will begin on March 25, 2018.

Duty assignments for NMSP Officers are located throughout the State of New Mexico and 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 that location.

Unlike our academies for incoming cadets, the Lateral Academies do not require residential living in the Academy dormitory. The Lateral Academy is a collegiate atmosphere versus the traditional NMSP recruit school.

Lateral testing will consist of a PT test and a written test in Santa Fe. After completing the online application, a recruiter will contact you to set up a test date.

Santa Fe testing address:

NM Law Enforcement Academy (Corner of Cerrillos and Jaguar road)
4491 Cerrillos road
Santa Fe, NM 87507

Las Cruces testing address:

District 4 NMSP Office (Las Cruces)
4055 Sonoma Ranch
Las Cruces, NM 88011

Applicant Qualifications 

  • Must be 21 years of age at the time of commission. There is no upper age limit.
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED.
  • Must be a United States citizen.
  • 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.
  • 20/30 corrected vision or 20/100 uncorrected vision, normal depth perception, and satisfactory color vision.
  • Must have no felony convictions, history of criminal activity, improper conduct, or poor driving record which may affect suitability for law enforcement work.
  • Minimum of 2 years’ law enforcement experience in New Mexico. If currently separated from law enforcement, this separation must not have exceeded one year in length. At this time, we are not accepting out-of-state or military police applicants. If you fit into one of these categories, we encourage you to apply for the traditional recruit school.
  • 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.

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.


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. Click salaries for more details.

Years of Experience Step Hourly Wage Yearly Wage
2-3 2 $ 21.62 $ 44,970.00
3-4 3 $ 23.78 $ 49,467.00
4-5 4 $ 23.78 $ 49,467.00
5+ 5 $ 24.49 $ 50,951.00

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

STEP ====> 1 2 3 4 5 6
YEARS OF SERVICE IN RANK ====> <1 1 2 3 4 5
PATROLMAN $21.6200 $21.6200 $23.7820 $23.7820 $24.4955 $26.2101

NMSP Lateral School

  • 8 weeks of advanced training 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 70%.
  • 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.

The Application Process
* Applicants are responsible for travel arrangements and expenses. Plan for up to 3 days per trip to Santa Fe, depending on the phase of the application process.

On-line 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 Assessments: The first assessment occurs prior to the written test. This assessment is not pass/fail; but it may be a factor that is weighed during Chief’s Selection. See below for the 4 components of the PT assessment.

Failing the physical fitness test in the initial stages of the application process will not prevent you from moving through all other stages, including Chief’s selection. If you are selected by the Chief and have not passed the physical fitness assessment yet, your selection will be conditional based on: 1) passing the physical fitness assessment before the academy begins; and 2) whether an open seat in the academy is available at the time you pass the physical fitness assessment.

There are a limited number of lateral positions available, and for this reason we encourage early participation in the entire application process. The NMSP is committed to helping you achieve your goal of joining our ranks, and we will provide you with a wide array of tools to help you prepare once you’ve been selected by the Chief. For the 2018 lateral academy, we have only 10 positions available.


Aerobic Power 1.5 Mile Run Above 6000 ft–15:54 (minutes:seconds)

Below 6000 ft–15:14 (minutes:seconds)
Anaerobic Power 300 Meter Run 71 seconds
Muscular Endurance 1 minute maximum number of
27 repetitions
Upper Body Strength 1 minute maximum number of
15 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 Interview

Conditional Offer of Employment

Psychological Evaluation

Medical Screening

Chief’s Selection: The Chief selects the top applicants for the next NMSP Lateral Academy.

FTO Program: Up to 7 weeks of on the job training with a field training officer after graduation from the Lateral School.



  • 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


    • 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