ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The law requiring New Mexico law enforcement agencies to outfit their officers with body cameras goes into effect Sunday. However, we’re learning not every local agency has met the deadline.
Senate Bill 8 requires body cameras to help provide video evidence while holding officers accountable. But the McKinley County Sheriff’s Office said it’s still working to get the body cameras for its officers.
“We’re acting in good faith to try and comply with this bill the best that we can, and I think it will be a good addition to what we have,” said James Maiorano III, Undersheriff, McKinley County Sheriff’s Office. “Just the timeline and the money has been very difficult to pull off.”
The undersheriff said they have eight out of nearly 40 officers equipped with body cameras right now. He said it took a while for the county’s finance department to approve the budget for the estimated $200,000 cameras. He also mentions it will take until the end of the year to get them, citing a traffic jam for vendors since other agencies throughout the state are ordering cameras too.
Meanwhile, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s office did not respond to our calls about their body camera status. However, in a press release from two days ago, BCSO said it’s working with the county manager to get a camera vendor and finalize the cost.
Sheriff Manny Gonzales has publicly resisted the use of body cameras for years. But back in July, the department said it’s now moving in that direction.
A spokesperson with the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office sent KRQE News 13 a statement, urging all law enforcement agencies to comply. They go on to say the DA’s office will immediately notify the state Attorney General and the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy if they discover any law enforcement officers are out of compliance with the statute.
It’s unclear how the DA’s office will prosecute cases by agencies that don’t have cameras yet. KRQE News 13 reached out to the governor’s office to confirm which agencies are still not in compliance but we did not hear back.
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