N.M. bicycle officers to mount cameras


By Phil Parker
Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE, N. M. — Santa Fe police are considering providing video cameras to the bicycle officers who use pedal power to patrol downtown.

The cameras, similar to those already used in police patrol cars, would help resolve disputes over what really happens when confrontations occur among bicycle cops and those they deal with on the street.

"They're on all the police cars," Mayor David Coss said of cameras, "and police find them to be very useful to straighten out the he said/ she said situations that come up a lot."

At a recent meeting at the Mayor's Office with two advocates for the homeless, Coss also suggested a workshop-style gathering of homeless people, police officers and community members to address concerns.

The mayor was responding to complaints concerning police treatment of homeless people in the downtown area.

Santa Fe faces a problem confronting many towns - trying to find ways to help and provide for the homeless population while policing illegal behavior, like public drunkenness. Two homeless men recently killed a third in the bed of the Santa Fe River near downtown's De Vargas Park.

Coss, in fact, has made the problems of homelessness a priority. He created his Blue Ribbon Panel to End Homelessness shortly after he was elected mayor four years ago.

But Coss is standing by Santa Fe bicycle cop Jeff Worth, who has became the target of complaints by some homeless advocates.

"The Police Department has investigated every formal complaint they've gotten," and he has been cleared, Coss said.

Copyright 2009 Albuquerque Journal

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