SANTA FE (KSMX)- On Wednesday, July 8, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation requiring New Mexico police officers to wear body cameras in response to concern about excessive use of force by law enforcement.
The camera requirement applies to city police, county sheriff’s agencies as well as state police and the Department of Public Safety.
Law enforcement agencies must maintain the body camera footage for at least 120 days. Police who interfere with the devices or otherwise flout the camera requirement could face penalties for withholding evidence.
In addition, Senate Bill 8 establishes that the Law Enforcement Academy Board will now permanently revoke the certification of any police officer who is found guilty, pleads guilty or pleads no contest to a crime involving unlawful use or threatened use of force in the line of duty, or if he or she failed to intervene in a police action involving unlawful use of force.
The measure passed the Senate 31-11 and the House 44-26 in the June special session, which centered primarily on repairing a $2 billion hole in the state’s COVID-damaged budget. Senate Bill 8 pairs with another bill signed by the governor after the special session establishing a state Civil Rights Commission, which will provide recommendations to the Legislature about other public safety reform as well as qualified immunity.