Out-of-state police recruiters eyeing 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 two all-day job recruiting sessions Feb. 20-21 at Saginaw Valley State University's Ryder Center. The sessions target criminal justice students.

"If we found 100 people who fit the bill, we'd hire them," said Michael M. Castro, Albuquerque's deputy police chief. New Mexico's largest city has nearly 1,000 officers.

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, Castro said.

"It only makes sense that they would target states like Michigan," Jason Palmer, a mid-Michigan employment analyst with the state Department of Labor and Economic Growth, told The Saginaw News.

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

U.S. Census Bureau estimates for 2006 show 493,438 residents living in Albuquerque, up nearly 10 percent from 448,607 in 2000. Saginaw County's population dipped about 2 percent to 206,300 people during the same period.

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