ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – You would think a police officer should know better than to park in a handicapped spot while sitting down for a meal. A University of New Mexico Police Sergeant did just that, and someone snapped a picture of it to post on social media.
“If somebody comes along and they need that spot, it’s just really not fair,” said Beth Nairn, a student at UNM.
A customer at the Los Cuates restaurant on Lomas noticed a UNM Police unit parked in a handicapped spot Friday night.
The pictures were posted to Facebook and quickly spread on social media.
UNM students were quick to tell the Sergeant what they think about his choice of parking spots.
“It’s sort of hypocrisy. You can’t really say one thing and then not follow the same example you expect us to follow. It doesn’t really make sense,” said Nairn.
“Especially as a sergeant, like he should be doing better than that. It’s not okay for him to get off like that without anything just because he’s a police officer,” said Catherine Stringam.
“Say sorry, a public apology,” said Erynn Roberts.
UNM’s Police Department says that officer is sorry for what he did.
The officer also says because it was dark, he couldn’t see the markings on the ground in the parking space. On top of that, he says it wasn’t properly marked as a handicapped spot because it didn’t have a vertical sign in front of the parking space.
However, the city’s Planning & Zoning Department says it is properly marked.
According to the city’s Off-Street Parking Regulations, businesses that date back to before 1986 don’t need a vertical sign.
Los Cuates is at least 50 years old, and the city says the handicapped signs painted on the lot are warning enough.
“He definitely should pay a fine and definitely be talked to. You know what, that’s not cool because you’re held to a higher standard because you are a sergeant,” said Roberts.
The officer will not be formally reprimanded, but he was told to be more observant of where he parks.
The fine for illegally parking in a handicapped spot in Albuquerque is $350.