About a month ago, the New Mexico State Police started a TikTok account. Last week, the agency debuted its first video, which is of a female officer getting ready for work.
The video of Byanca Castro, a patrol officer based out of Las Vegas has been viewed more than 400,000 times.
NMSP Deputy Chief Carolyn Huynh told the Sun-News that the purpose of the agency’s TikTok account is to show the community what it’s like to be an NMSP officer and to encourage people to apply for the academies.
Huynh said they plan on posting one new video to TikTok each week. The popular social media app hosts videos under one minute long.
“It’s just going to be the different lives of a State Police officer. They’re going to show an officer going to handle a call, dealing with different types of situations – because we want the communities to know what it is we actually do, and to just humanize the officer as well, that we’re not just these stern individuals that you can’t approach,” she said.
Police officers, Huynh said, are very approachable. They’re human, like everyone else, and that’s something they really want the community to understand, she said.
Many NMSP officers have embraced the idea of producing these videos, she said.
“It’s been very positive,” Huynh said of the reaction so far. “We’re getting a lot (of good feedback from officers). It’s about time that we deal with the times, that we ‘get with the program,’ because it really is – it’s this young day and age, and they expect to see us out there. They want a voice for us, so this was essentially a voice for State Police officers.”
Aside from TikTok, NMSP has accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They’ll also soon have a new website.
Huynh said watching their TikTok video grow an audience has been fun.
“Just overnight, we had almost 100,000 views and it’s currently up over 420,000 views and we have over … 40,000 likes. It’s definitely amazing. It’s definitely a milestone for us,” she said.
The idea to create the TikTok account came from NMSP’s community engagement recruiting group, whose responsibility is to come up with creative ideas based on NMSP objectives.
“One of the sergeants came up with it, and one of the objectives is we definitely want to recruit more qualified females,” she said. “So that’s why he took it upon himself to show a female police officer getting ready.”