N.M. Officers' Social Media Activities Monitored

Effective immediately, Albuquerque police officers will need approval from the department if they want to post anything work-related on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --

Effective immediately, Albuquerque police officers will need approval from the department if they want to post anything work-related on social media websites like Facebook.

On Wednesday the Albuquerque Police Department released its new social networking policy, and the president of the police union said he’s not happy.

The four-page policy was obtained by Action7 News on Wednesday night.

“If you’re going to represent yourself as part of the city of Albuquerque Police Department, you have to be professional in doing so,” APD Sgt. Trish Hoffman said.

After APD gang unit officer Trey Economidy was caught describing his job on Facebook as “human waste disposal,” the department quickly crafted a stronger social media policy.

As of Wednesday, officers can identify themselves online as APD officers, but anything beyond that needs department approval. All photos depicting APD must be approved by the police chief, and vulgar posts or posts that detail investigations may result in verbal reprimands or termination.

“It’s a shame. Instead of using the policies we have to discipline people from doing inappropriate things, we’re also going to tell people now. It’s tough to be proud and share with family and friends how you love and support this community,” Police Union President Joey Sigala said.

Sigala said he is extremely disappointed in the policy. While he apologizes for posts like Economidy’s, he said the vast majority of officers uphold high standards and shouldn’t be punished for the minority’s bad decisions.

“Appropriate pictures and appropriate things should be able to be displayed, that’s what we’re pushing for,” Sigala said.

In fact, the union plans to ask for the policy to be amended so those proud of the department and the work can show that online.

The policy applies to all social media websites.

Police can use social media to disseminate information about missing people, road closures or other emergencies as long as they follow the new policy.

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