DOÑA ANA COUNTY, New Mexico -- By the end of the week, all Doña Ana County Sheriff's deputies will have body cameras designed to capture their interactions with the public.
"I think it's a very effective tool for law enforcement," said Capt. Jon Day. "Their purpose is going to be to provide a lot more transparency to the public."
This past summer, New Mexico lawmakers voted to require all law enforcement agencies to purchase and deploy body cameras for all sworn officers in the state.
"I don't believe this is going to be the silver bullet to solve all the problems for law enforcement, but I do believe this will aid us in transparency with the public as well as evidential purposes for law enforcement," Capt. Day said.
Agencies had 90 days to purchase and implement the cameras. However, state lawmakers did not provide any additional funding to local departments.
Doña Ana County spent close to $600,000 funding 180 cameras and storage for the footage, according to the department. Yearly maintenance will be $100,000, which includes the salaries of document technicians.
The cameras are automatically activated by certain triggers, including a deputy turning on his or her lights, speeding or getting into a crash, Capt. Day said. If a deputy is around others, one body camera camera will activate other deputies' cameras.
"It limits the officer forgetting to turn on the camera, because the cameras automatically turn on by themselves," Capt. Day said.
The Sheriff's Office is required to store all footage for 120 days, but Capt. Day told ABC-7 that the department will store crime scene footage for a year.
Earlier this year, body camera footage allowed the public to hear and see what happened when a Las Cruces police officer restrained a suspect who ultimately died in custody.