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New Mexico sheriff embraces body cameras after resistance

February 10, 2021 GMT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A county sheriff in New Mexico who has previously resisted the use of deputy-worn body cameras is now embracing the technology, officials said.

“We’re learning from this and there is value in this,” Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales said on Tuesday. “We’re just in the infancy stage of this camera program, so I’m looking forward to what it has to offer in the future.”

The Bernalillo County sheriff’s office outfitted deputies with police body-worn cameras last month, KOB-TV reported.

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Gonzales unveiled the device on Jan. 22 that each of the 310 deputies are now wearing after a newly approved state law requiring law enforcement to have body cameras.

“I’m embracing it to figure out where it’s going to take us,” Gonzales said.

Bernalillo County, which includes Albuquerque, has agreed to a more than $3 million, five-year contract for the BodyWorn camera by Utility, Inc. The contract covers two cameras in each vehicle, Wi-Fi hot spots for the cruisers, uniform tailoring to hold the devices and a holster that will automatically activate the cameras when a gun is drawn.