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Sheriff Required to Follow State Guidelines

Bernalillo County officials announced Wednesday that they have signed a $3.8 million deal with a Georgia company to provide body and vehicle cameras for the sheriff’s department.

The agreement calls for Utility Inc. to supply 363 body cameras for deputies while 148 vehicles will be equipped with front- and rear-facing cameras. The service agreement includes installation, software, training and maintenance for five years.

Sheriff Manuel Gonzales had long dismissed body-worn cameras despite public pressure and the urging of the County Commission. After state lawmakers passed a bill in June requiring body-worn cameras for all law enforcement agencies in the state, the sheriff’s department began working to meet the mandate.

“This is a historic step for Bernalillo County and the protection of our deputies and the citizens of the county,” County Manager Julie Morgas Baca said in a statement. “The county is fulfilling the state legal requirement of body-worn cameras while ensuring that interactions between law enforcement staff and those they contact are recorded for the protection of all.”

The cameras will allow deputies to automatically begin recording when important events such as a high-speed pursuit occur. The technology includes in-vehicle communication hubs and video recorders to automatically offload recordings from both the vehicles and body-worn cameras.

County officials say delivery and installation of the cameras will begin Dec. 7. [ ]

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