Border officers and agents to begin using body cams

Border Report

New technology to help agency review use-of-force incidents, allegations on misconduct

A Border Patrol agent detains a migrant atop Montezuma’s Pass in Coronado National Memorial, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Hereford, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Some border agents and officers will soon begin wearing body cameras to “enhance policing practices and reinforce trust and transparency,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Monday.

The agency plans a broader implementation of body cams but expects to deploy approximately 6,000 cameras by the end of 2021.

“Our agents and officers serve the public and protect our borders every day with great skill and professionalism,” Troy Miller, CBP acting commissioner, said in a statement. “Providing them with state-of-the-art technology and tools like body-worn cameras will support their work and provide greater transparency into interactions between CBP officers and agents and the public.”

The body cams are part of CBP’s new Incident-Driven Video Recording Systems program. They are roughly the size of a deck of playing cards and record and store video and audio.

The cameras run continuously, but they won’t save the footage until the agent activates it. However, the data recorded includes the two minutes before the camera is activated. The nature of the incident and its evidentiary value will determine which footage is deemed retainable.

The footage will allow CBP to review encounters and use-of-force incidents and to investigate allegations of misconduct.

The agency is deploying the cameras in phases, beginning at Border Patrol locations across the Southwest and northern borders.

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