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Institute for Social Research

MSC02 1625
1915 Las Lomas NE
Albuquerque, NM 87106

Physical Location:
1 University of New Mexico

Phone: (505) 277-4257
Fax: (505) 277-4215

UNM-CARA Studies Albuquerque Police Department On Body Camera System

February 4, 2016

This review of the On Body Camera System in Albuquerque, NM focused on determining the current use of the system and information to inform the development of an auditable policy. The full report titled City of Albuquerque Police Department On Body Camera System (OBCS) Research, can be found at: http://www.cabq.gov/police/ department-of-justice-doj-reports or http://isr.unm.edu/reports/

The study offers several recommendations for the Albuquerque Police Department. Some of these recommendations may be instructive to law enforcement departments and researchers. 

This research uses two methods to study the use of OBCS.

Review of official data. Five sources of information were provided by APD. The Calls For Service computer aided dispatch data (CAD) and the OBCS data is the backbone of our official data analysis. These data contain the primary number of the call, the time each call was created, the time dispatched to the officer, when the officer arrived on-scene, and when the officer closed each call. CAD also includes the type of call, the priority of the call, the address of the call, the beat of the primary officer on the call, as well as any other officer(s) answering the call.

The EVIDENCE.comTM website holds the Taser camera system video data and contains all the identifying information for the video recordings, EVIDENCE.comTM data was linked to CAD data. The EVIDENCE.comTM data included the time and length of the call, the description of the call and report number, and also the officer identifying information.

Focus groups. We conducted focus groups with sworn staff from three different bureaus Field Service Bureau (FSB), Investigative Bureau (IB), and Special Service Bureau (SSB), including patrol officers, sergeants and lieutenants. There was variety in the age of the participants, years of service, and gender. Patrol officers, sergeants, and lieutenants contributed information about when cameras were actually being used, how camera equipment was used, the pros and cons about using the camera system, their approach to a new policy, and “out-of-the-box” suggestions for improving the OBCS. Moreover, they gave their opinions, regarding the review of video footage, realistic policies, auditing cameras usage, the benefits of OBCS, the impact of OBCS on officer performance, and police transparency.