BCSO sheriff remains defiant on lapel cameras as commissioners pass resolution
October 16, 2019 06:10 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The debate about whether Bernalillo County Sheriff's deputies wear body cameras and get more dash cameras continues.
Sheriff Manny Gonzales believes those cameras shouldn't be priority. However, commissioners continue to call for transparency.
Bernalillo County commissioners voted Tuesday on an administrative resolution to recommend implementing the cameras.
The recommendation cannot force the sheriff to implement the cameras. It does set aside $3.5 million over four years to pay for the cameras.
“With the kind of authority that you have comes responsibility, this is where this comes in,” said Commissioner Debbie O’Malley. “It’s not about studies. We want a visual recording of that interaction between an officer and individual.”
Besides those calling for transparency, others were at the meeting pushing for what they call necessities like facilities or better equipment, and more officers.
Sheriff Manny Gonzales’ stance hasn’t changed during his time as sheriff. He continues to assert that body cameras wouldn’t necessarily increase transparency or improve safety.
“So for us, it's not about the camera and being distracted away from what we're trying to do,” said Sheriff Gonzales. “We're staying focused on fighting crimes and keeping families and businesses safe here.”
But commissioners said these cameras are exactly what their constituents want. However, they can't force the department to get them.
The resolution calls for the commissioners and sheriff's office to work together, but what comes next is unclear.
“I believe that if we put money forward and he does not want to spend the money on lapel cameras because he doesn’t feel that it’s a necessity for public safety then that’s what you elected him to do,” said Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada.
Updated: October 16, 2019 06:10 AM
Created: October 15, 2019 10:15 PM
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