An elite unit of the Albuquerque Police Department is hanging its controversial noose logo out to dry.
The Repeat Offender Project had for decades used an image that resembled a hangman’s noose on letterhead and other unit-related items, but as of Thursday, the icon is out, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
APD Chief Ray Schultz confirmed to the newspaper in an email that the department is retiring the symbol and apologized “to anyone who may have been offended” by it.
APD Cmdr. Doug West, who oversees the Repeat Offender Project, known as the ROP team, told the Journal that he was not sure if the image was actually a noose claiming that he is “not a knot expert.”
“The simple way I look at it is that it’s a rope, and it’s the ROP team. I don’t read into the hangman’s noose. I don’t know a whole lot about knots,” West said. “It’s something that we need to look at and get rid of … because people would construe this as, like you, you’re looking at it as a hangman’s noose, and if that’s how people are perceiving this, it’s the wrong signal that we need to send.”
Officials told the newspaper that the image is frequently used on internal documents such as wanted posters and is even painted on the wall of the unit’s office.
Schultz told the Journal that the use of the icon was brought to his attention by a city attorney last week, who suggested it might “be misinterpreted by some people in the community.”