Amidst nationwide controversy related to police brutality, law enforcement agencies throughout the United States have begun to implement body cameras. The goal of the body camera is to resolve any “he said, she said” arguments between civilians and law enforcement. The body camera records civilian encounters made by law enforcement and will benefit civilians and law enforcement alike by providing a documented account of all encounters.
Jurisdictions that have implemented body cameras require law enforcement officers to enable the body camera any time they have an encounter with a civilian. For example, a police officer must turn on his body camera whenever he makes a traffic stop, or responds to a call for help.
United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – the nation’s largest law enforcement agency – announced last week that it will take steps to “study expanded use of cameras in and around the border environment.” In other words, CBP does not appear to have moved much closer to actually using body-worn cameras. After more than a year of testing and studying, the announcement of plans to further delay implementation came as a disappointment.
Immigrants typically encounter CBP when they are scared and vulnerable. Often, they are at one of the United States borders or ports of entry after having fled exceptional violence in their home countries. The use of body-worn cameras by CBP will provide much-needed transparency and accountability in these situations.
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