BCSO launches body camera program

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales showed off the cameras his deputies will soon wear. Despite years of fighting against buying them, the sheriff says he picked the best cameras with the best technology.

BCSO has a five-year, $3.1 million contract with Utility Associates Inc. The body cameras are embedded into the deputy’s uniforms to prevent the cameras from detaching. They also live stream and video can be made available immediately. Officials say the body cameras will automatically start recording any time a deputy draws his gun from his holster which has a sensor. It will also start if the deputy activates their lights and sirens, begins to run or invovled in a fight because it can detect the movement through the sensors.

Sheriff Gonzales has long opposed the use of lapel cameras, but the state legislature passed a new law last year requiring them statewide. KRQE asked the sheriff if he is still against the cameras. “I guess if you look at it from this standpoint, we didn’t buy a camera. I bought a digital evidence management system. I didn’t buy a traditional camera,” said Sheriff Gonzales.

The sheriff also released his body camera policy. Deputies are required to wear them while in uniform. There are some exceptions including not recording when deputies are inside schools or on school grounds.

Around 160 deputies have been outfitted with the cameras and trained. Nearly 100 patrol cars also have dash cameras in them.

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