Bill to exempt the use police body-cams in certain situations gets "do-pass"
Senate Bill 368, which is sponsored by Senator Harold Pope, would allow law enforcement officers to suspend the recording on their body cameras in situations that involve notifying a member of the public of a death, the conduction of an undercover investigation sanctioned by a law enforcement agency and operations involving the recovery and disposal to render safe and disassemble of an explosive or incendiary device.
The only exemption listed that garnered some scrutiny was the one involving undercover investigations.
Members of the committee raised some concerns about the language the bill used and what defined an undercover investigation.
A member of New Mexico’s ACLU also cited the possibility of this exemption being used as a loophole by law enforcement agencies.
One of Senator Pope’s expert witnesses, Commander Aaron Jones of the Albuquerque Police Department shared his insight on what sets an undercover operation apart.
“The distinction is that there is going to be an investigation. An undercover investigation is tasked with continuing a criminal investigation where law enforcement is needed to create an on-going relationship with someone who is subject of that criminal organization or a crime that is being investigated.”
When asked if he would like an amendment adding such language to the bill, Pope said he would work on additions to it when it got to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The bill was passed by Senate Health and Public Affairs on a 5-0 vote.