ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department is asking Taser to improve its lapel cameras as the department looks into why there is no lapel video from the officer who shot and killed 19-year-old Mary Hawkes two months ago.
APD policy requires officers to wear and activate lapel cameras, but in order to enforce that policy and punish officers not following it, they need to be able to prove it was more than just a camera malfunction.
The public will never see lapel video from Officer Jeremy Dear the April morning he shot and killed Hawkes, a suspected truck thief, near Central and Wyoming.
A report from lapel camera manufacturer, Taser, said that is because logs don’t show he ever hit record and the camera was actually powered off when he fired the fatal shots.
Either the power switch was turned off or a cable was disconnected, but Taser can’t say for sure if it was Dear’s fault.
Deputy Chief William Roseman said Taser is working on developing the technology to get those answers in the future, so APD knows if officers should be disciplined.
“Based on what we found from this report, what we’ve asked Taser to do is to update their firmware to where it can differentiate between what shut that camera system down,” Roseman said.
No word on when that will happen.
A Taser report also shows a clip, which keeps the cable plugged in to power the camera, was missing on Dear’s equipment.
APD said it is looking into why and how long Dear’s camera was missing that key part. Roseman said that is something officers are responsible for checking.
“It is up to the individual officers, like any other piece of equipment they’re issued, it is up to that individual officer to be testing his equipment and making sure it’s working,” Roseman said.
Citing the criminal and internal investigations into the Hawkes shooting, APD isn’t answering questions about Dear, including if he ever reported that missing clip or any issues with his camera.
The deputy chief said supervisors do inspections of officers’ equipment once a month, but just by looking over it, not actually testing the equipment.
Dear is on desk duty.
APD records show Dear has been flagged for use of force at least 11 times over the past couple years, including at least two cases where he didn’t have lapel video.