A portion of U.S. border agents from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will wear body cameras in a massive operational change aimed at "reinforcing trust and transparency" in the agency's policing practices, according to the Biden administration.
This policy aims to provide further accountability and transparency among the organization and will also increase oversight of federal agents.
“Our agents and officers serve the public and protect our borders every day with great skill and professionalism,” said Troy Miller, CBP Acting Commissioner. “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.”
CBP said it plans to deploy about 6,000 cameras by the end of 2021.
Body-worn cameras are part of the agency’s new Incident-Driven Video Recording Systems program, which records and stores video and audio data to support the agency’s mission. The cameras are roughly the size of a deck of playing cards – agents and officers will wear them on the front of their uniforms. The cameras will be running continuously in the background, and once an agent or officer activates a camera, it begins to save the footage starting two minutes before the activation of the camera. CBP has drafted protocols for agents and officers to follow when activating their cameras, with safety of personnel and the public as the foremost considerations in shaping the policy. Footage is retained based upon the nature of the recorded incident and its evidentiary value.