OAN’s Roy Francis
2:21 PM – Tuesday, May 23, 2023
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced a new body-worn camera policy for all law enforcement agencies under its umbrella, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Secret Service, and Federal Protective Service.
Alejandro Mayorkas, the Homeland Security Secretary, explained that under the new policy, all law enforcement officers and agents that will required to wear the cameras will go through an “implementation phase” while the department works with Congress to secure funding to equip all agents nationwide.
“As defined by Agency policy, in all appropriate circumstances when [law enforcement officers] are conducting patrol or are otherwise engaged with the public in response to emergency calls,” the policy said. “During a pre-planned attempt to serve an arrest warrant or other pre planned arrest, including the apprehension of fugitives sought on state and local warrants; or, during the execution of a search or seizure warrant or order.”
According to the new policy, all DHS agencies would be required to “develop, or update, policies to address the content of this policy within 180 calendar days of this policy’s implementation.”
As of right now, 7,000 cameras have been issued to agents with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection since 2021. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is currently also going through a pilot program for familiarity with the cameras.
Mayorkas said that the purpose of the new policy was to secure the “public trust” and to do that agents need to be accountable, transparent, and effective.
“Our ability to secure the homeland rests on public trust, which is built through accountability, transparency, and effectiveness in our law enforcement practices,” said Mayorkas. “Today’s policy announcement is designed to advance these essential values. Requiring the use of body-worn cameras by our law enforcement officers and agents is another important step DHS is making to bring our law enforcement workforce to the forefront of innovation, and to further build public trust and confidence in the thousands of dedicated and professional law enforcement officers at DHS.”
A department official told ABC News under anonymity that the policy will most likely not apply to Secret Service that are located on the White House Grounds.
“We had to come to the right balance,” the agency official said.
There are currently around 80,000 law enforcement officers that fall under the DHS umbrella, which is the largest agency in the federal government.
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