ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Bernalillo County Commissioners have tried before to get all deputies to use cameras. It didn’t work, and now one commissioner is hoping more money will convince the sheriff.
On Wednesday, about a dozen people lined the sidewalk with signs that said, “The public has a right to the truth.”
“I thought it was important for the commission to make a stronger statement around lapel cameras saying, ‘Yes, we recommend them,’ knowing of course, that we don’t dictate what the (sheriff’s) department does,” Commissioner Debbie O’Malley said.
At the next county commission meeting, Debbie O’Malley will propose setting aside a $500,000 to get lapel cameras for deputies. That’s on top of $500,000 already allocated last year for dashcams in patrol cars.
However, the department has yet to spend that money. It’s up to Sheriff Manny Gonzales. He has been vocal about cameras, saying deputies don’t need them.
The family of Elisha Lucero disagrees. Deputies shot and killed Lucero in July.
On Wednesday, her family held a protest outside the sheriff’s office to try to get his attention to implement cameras.
“She’s a 4-foot-11, young female. Come on, how big of a threat could she be to three officers that they had to unload on her like that?” Elaine Maestas, Elisha’s sister, said.
KRQE News 13 asked O’Malley why she thinks the funding will persuade the sheriff this time. She says it could be the push the project needs.
She says the resolution will require the commission and the sheriff’s department to work together on implementing a plan.
The sheriff has said in the past he would rather upgrade his eight existing dash cameras then provide them for all 321 of his deputies.