ALBUQUERQUE — University of New Mexico researchers say the Albuquerque Police Department’s lapel camera policy is confusing and hard to enforce.
The study, released Wednesday, suggests the department limit requirements for lapel cameras in order to create clear rules about exactly when officers need to be recording, The Albuquerque Journal reports.
Police officers told researchers with the University of New Mexico’s Institute for Social Research that the current policy has made them talk to people less while working their beats, made them more less likely to forgive minor infractions and has led to frustration when cases are dismissed because of lack of video evidence.
“The requirement to record everything was described as tedious and overkill and in some instances, a hindrance or distraction to other important job responsibilities,” the study says.
Police Chief Gorden Eden defended the cameras. He said the footage has helped officers write more accurate police reports and has helped exonerate officers accused of wrongdoing.
The study was announced about a year and a half ago and cost about $70,000.
“We think this report is one of the premier comprehensive studies that has been done on on-body recording systems,” said Rob Perry, the city’s chief administrative officer. “There’s been nothing of this particular nature.”
The researchers recommended the department get rid of the current policy calling for all citizen encounters to be recorded. They also suggest the department make a policy on what happens when video is missing and how video is released for court and media purposes.
Lapel cameras have come under fire since the department adopted them as part of a settlement with the Department of Justice in 2012.
City Attorney Jessica Hernandez said Wednesday that a new policy that should clarify camera use has been written, but it is waiting for review by the DOJ, monitoring team and police union.