Los Lunas, NM, August 30, 2019 – Los Lunas Police Department currently has 42 officers wearing WOLFCOM body cameras. Lieutenant Jose Hernandez says the department has been using body cameras since around 2006 and that they have always been a wonderful tool. According to him, they have been using audio recorders to document their interactions with the public since 1999, many years before body cameras came around. It only goes to show how much Los Lunas P.D. values transparency between their officers and the community they protect.
According to Lt. Hernandez, the use of body cameras was something that happened naturally. “There’s no incident that happened, it was just something that evolved and it became something that was national, but we had been doing it prior to,” said the Lieutenant. Out of the 42 officers that currently use WOLFCOM body cameras, 8 of them use the recently purchased Halo Body Cameras and 34 use Vision Body Cameras, but the department plans on switching everybody over to Halos. “The officers actually like the Halos. It’s easier for them to remember to turn on. One of the biggest features why the officers like it is the opportunity to set it so that it vibrates every 5 or 10 seconds,” said the Lieutenant. “This way, it notifies them after the call. If they get in their car, they don’t forget to turn it off and waste a bunch of battery life,” he added.
Lieutenant Hernandez emphasized body cameras have helped him and his colleagues in many cases, several of them being career-saving situations. “There was some evidence that was lost, we couldn’t locate it. It happened to be some drugs. The video camera actually caught what he had in his hand and when it fell off his hand,” said the Lieutenant. “We were able to determine he didn’t do anything illegal. It was just an accident. It fell off his hand while he was trying to put stuff in the trunk of his car,” he added. The Lieutenant also shared another situation where body cameras were helpful. “We have great footage of an officer-involved shooting that was deemed to be a good situation. The officers were justified in what they did, so that was also captured. It’s always been a wonderful tool,” said Lt. Hernandez. “It allows us to keep tabs on what our officers are doing, how they’re acting and making sure that we are giving the community the best service that we can provide, professional service” he added.
The WOLFCOM Evidence Management Software, according to the Lieutenant, is a key aspect of the body camera solution. “The reason why we stayed with WOLFCOM was because of the fact that the software allows third-party media to be uploaded into the program. We have other cameras that aren’t WOLFCOM, we have surveillance cameras and other stuff that are other brands, so it made it easier for us to be able to keep all that stuff in the same software instead of having 2 separate servers or storage areas,” said Lt. Hernandez. “That was the main sell,” he added
The state of New Mexico, according to the Lieutenant, has always been supportive of body cameras since the beginning. “We couldn’t have done it had the state not provided [funds]. They came back and paid for all the original cameras that I purchased. So the state did come forward with some money to get it started,” said Hernandez.
Los Lunas Police Department has recently purchased WOLFCOM’s Standalone Smart Redaction Solution and the Lieutenant is enthusiastic about it. “I’m really excited for the redaction software computer that we purchased and we’re gonna be adding probably a whole new position for somebody to handle all the redaction because we are seeing more requests from the public of our videos,” said Hernandez.
WOLFCOM’s latest body cameras and software updates seem to be pleasing Lt. Hernandez. “I think WOLFCOM, with the WEMS now is a lot better suited for different departments,” said Jose. “I would recommend [WOLFCOM] to another department. WOLFCOM with the WEMS has really fulfilled what we need it for” he added.
The Lieutenant has some tips for departments looking to purchase body camera solutions. “I would just say to other departments, when you start a program, whether it’s with WOLFCOM or other ones [companies], you just gotta make sure the software and everything else fits your department and what you need it for. We did a lot of research and WOLFCOM and WEMS are still something that helps us with our everyday use. It fits us. I’m happy and I think the Chief and the Deputy Chief, they trusted me to buy the right equipment and to start the program and to know when we need to make changes. As much as I can see, WOLFCOM is really progressing and adding other programs and making stuff better,” said the Lieutenant.