The Albuquerque Police Department plans to increase its ranks of police service aides -- civilian employees who aren't sworn police officers but who perform some of the same duties.
Chief Ray Schultz says the department wants to increase the number of aides to 60 from the current 21.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque's police service aides write initial reports on some crimes and collect some basic evidence.
Aides don't carry guns while on duty and don't have arrest power.
Schultz says hiring more aides will free up regular officers to respond to more serious situations faster and create an apprentice program for aides to become regular officers.
The department's average response time for top priority calls has risen by more than a minute in the past two years.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.