Los Lunas PD switches to HD lapel cameras

Posted at: 05/14/2014 8:24 PM
By: Jen Samp, KOB Eyewitness News 4

There's a lot that goes into being a police officer and Sgt. Frank Lucero with the Los Lunas Police Department says his lapel camera is one of the most useful tools on him.

"These things are invaluable," he said.  

Lucero says in most cases the cameras protect officers in the field and the old cameras were harder to maneuver.

"They proved to be somewhat undependable," he said, "The battery wasn't lasting long enough, and the controls were cumbersome and small. Officers were having a hard time activating them."

The Los Lunas Police Department spent an extra $3,500 for new high definition cameras to capture everything.

"We like to utilize them to our advantage to help us document officers' actions and responding to incidences," he said.

The recent HD lapel recording caught a New Mexico State Police officer putting a repo man in a choke hold.

The officer has now resigned over his confrontation. 

In a letter to state police, Charles Vernier says he needs to restore his mental health. 

The incident in Los Lunas was captured on cell phone video and police lapel camera video.

Los Lunas police says the new lapel cameras are bigger so they don't move around on the officer.

They're also easier to navigate. Sgt. Lucero says it takes less time for officers to turn on the cameras.

"I don't have to double check or worry about it," he said.