Albuquerque billboard causes controversy | KRQE Information 13
ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Anti-abortion billboard along I-25 in Albuquerque attracts a lot of attention; Not for his message, but for who is on it. The billboard changes every few seconds, but a picture has caught some drivers, an Albuquerque police officer in uniform next to an anti-abortion message.
A billboard just off I-25 in Albuquerque has takeaway people. It shows the Albuquerque police officer Ryan Holets in his APD uniform with two children. The sign says “My favorite right is life.” Aside from views on abortion, some say they were surprised to see it. “It seemed like it was going into the realm of church and state and how it should be separated,” said Dakota Lopez, an Albuquerque resident.
The billboard is paid for by the Right to Life Committee of New Mexico. The executive director says they chose Officer Holets for a reason. Holets gained national attention in 2017 when he was on duty and met a heroin addicted woman in the eighth month of pregnancy.
Officer Holets eventually adopted their baby, the same baby that was on the billboard, and helped get the mother into rehab. In a statement months ago, an APD spokesman said the group asked Officer Holets if they could use these photos.
APD says he told them it was against policy to post a picture of himself in uniform for a political campaign, but the group still used it against his will. “No, that’s not true. I don’t call them liars just to be clear, but they haven’t contacted me and Officer Holets never told me I couldn’t,” said Ethel Maharg, executive director of Life is Right New Mexico.
Maharg also says that she didn’t need his permission because one of the children in the photos is her grandchild and the photos were already on the internet. “All I know is that when they are online they are in the public domain so you can borrow them,” Maharg said. Below is the full statement from APD.
“We are aware of the billboard and we raised it with the officer who said he was approached a few months ago about using his picture in uniform. The official informed the group that he would not give permission as it would be a violation of APD guidelines to provide a picture of yourself in uniform for a political campaign. The group used the images anyway, without permission and against the will of a police officer who has distinguished himself through his integrity, ”said Gilbert Gallegos, director of communications at APD. KRQE News 13 asked Maharg if APD asked them to remove the billboard and she says they did not contact them.