ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department is worried about the way its officers are being portrayed in a version of a popular video game.
A local teenager created a modified version of the video game, Grand Theft Auto, using pictures of real APD patrol cars that players can drive as they act as officers.
The local creator said he did it out of a passion and respect for law enforcement, but police said it’s a violent game that could give people the wrong idea.
A modification of Grand Theft Auto lets people play as officers instead of playing the criminals like the original game.
And as an aspiring police officer, a local 17-year-old took it a step further.
“This is kind of my way of representing Albuquerque PD to my capabilities right now until I’m of age to apply,” Sean Muir said.
The modification with APD cars in the game is available for anyone to download online — and people have, with videos popping up on YouTube.
The game can get gruesome. While some players will write citations and respond to calls for service in the game, others acting as officers are shooting and killing people for no reason.
That’s an image the Albuquerque Police Officers Association finds concerning.
“Police officers don’t go around just killing people. We take this profession very seriously,” said APOA President Shaun Willoughby.
Plus, he said, it hits close to home after deadly officer-involved shootings that have cost the lives of local law enforcement officers.
“[The creator] put a lot of work into it, and I don’t want to tear down somebody’s dream of being a police officer but this is very, very serious,” Willoughby said.
“To be included in a video game such as this that promotes violence is concerning to us because we are not a violent agency, and we know our officers are professional and good at what they do,” APD Ofc. Fred Duran said.
KRQE News 13 went to Gamers Anonymous to see what they thought.
“If you see these cars driving around, they look like APD. It’s interesting and kind of neat to look at and go, ‘Oh, that’s familiar to me,’ but at the same time what it can do to the reputation of a unit… that’s the harmful part,” said Gamers Anonymous President Jon Sakura.
The teen behind it said he means no disrespect.
“I ultimately have the utmost respect for law enforcement all over the country because day in day out, they see us on our worst days,” Muir said.
The teen said he’s constantly updating his version of the game, and he actually had plans to include more patrol cars.