GALLUP, N.M. (KRQE) – The Gallup Police Department is now implementing smartphone body cameras. Visual Labs, a California-based company that develops software for Android smartphones issued a press release regarding the cameras after consulting with the department. The press release states that in October 2020, GPD fully transitioned from using in-vehicle “dash” cameras to body-worn cameras.

While the department says the cameras were effective, the dash cameras didn’t have the ability to record the officers once they left their patrol car and the field of vision of the camera was limited. GPD states that the department has been planning for the deployment of body-worn cameras for almost two years and that the passing of Senate Bill 8 sped up the implementation.

Visual Labs says the body-worn cameras used by officers are fully-functioning Android cell phones. Officers use a Kyocera DuraForce PRO 2 smartphone that is waterproof and dustproof. Each phone includes an application installed by Visual Labs which is the only FirstNet Certified body camera application.

“The goals of our body-worn camera program include enhancing services providing transparency with respect to interactions between our officers and our citizens,” said Police Chief Franklin Boyd in a press release. “We had been in process of deploying body worn cameras before recent legislation required their use, so we were well positioned to comply with the new law.”

According to the press release, in addition to being a bodyworn camera, the Visual Labs app allows the phone to be used as a digital camera, audio recorder, and personnel locator. A feature of the app provides the ability to automatically upload footage to secure cloud storage which eliminates the need for docking stations, routers, and additional hardware.

Command staff are now able to receive real-time situational awareness and make tactical decisions when they are not at the scene.