BCSO sheriff wants to upgrade body cameras after technology issues

[anvplayer video=”5180519″ station=”998122″]

BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. – The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department’s new body cameras were advertised as state-of-the-art. But, apparently, the quality of the system is a matter of perspective.

The sheriff says the body-worn camera system his predecessor brought in is now on its way out. He says it’s not just about body cameras.

His decision to move on is about moving his department into the future

“I keep telling people, technology is huge for me. Especially the shortage that we see within law enforcement right ranks, you have to supplement it with technology,” said BCSO Sheriff John Allen. 

Previously, Allen told KOB 4 audio quality, recording consistency, and video file management were all concerns he had. 

“I didn’t invest in a camera. I invested in a digital evidence management system,” said Allen in 2022.

Former Sheriff Manny Gonzales brought in “Utility Associates Inc.” after the state-mandated body-worn cameras for law enforcement.

The county signed a $3.8 million deal for five years. Now, it seems that the deal is coming to an end.

“Utility is a good company, I don’t want to disrespect them. It’s just, it’s time for us to move on,” said Allen. 

At the end of May, the county sent a letter to Utility Associates notifying them of their intent to terminate the agreement. But Allen says this call goes beyond the camera.

“Everyone keeps getting stuck on the body camera, I’m looking at the software, and the technology. How it expands, and how we can build on it and make it last even after I’m gone,” Allen said. 

He plans to move the department over to Axon, and says they will allow the department to scale their technology into license plate readers, drone video and make his deputies’ lives easier.

“We’re moving on, moving forward, and we’ll see where it ends up. We’re excited,” said Allen. 

Allen says he’ll be calling on county commissioners to make things official during their next meeting at the end of June.