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Published: Monday, 2/4/2008

New Mexico recruits police from Michigan


SAGINAW, Mich. - Two years ago, Wyoming recruiters came to Michigan in search of welders, engineers, mechanics, and health care workers.

Now, the police department in Albuquerque, N.M., has its sights set on the state with the nation's highest unemployment rate.

The department has posted billboards in the Saginaw, Flint, and Bay City areas, advertising all-day job recruiting sessions Feb. 20-21 targeting criminal justice students.

"If we found 100 people who fit the bill, we'd hire them," Michael M. Castro, Albuquerque's deputy police chief, said.

Michigan's unemployment rate of 7.4 percent in December - the national average is 4.8 percent - was a big factor into looking north for help, Deputy Chief Castro said.

Out-of-state recruiters eyeing Michigan "is just the reality of the times," Veronica Horn, Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce vice president, said. "Other areas of the country are experiencing some growth, and right now we're not one of those."

Census estimates for 2006 show 493,438 residents living in Albuquerque, up nearly 10 percent from 2000. Saginaw County's population dipped about 2 percent in that period.

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