Justice Dept. launches first phase of body-worn camera program

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday announced the roll out of its program to require federal agents to wear body cameras. File Pool Photo by Win McNamee/UPI

Sept. 2 (UPI) — The Justice Department on Wednesday said it launched the first phase of a program requiring department law enforcement officers to wear body cameras.

In a statement, the Justice Department identified agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix and Detroit would be the first to wear such devices.

The ATF headquarters further clarified via Twitter that the two divisions plus its academy were currently implementing the initiative.

“ATF welcomes the use of body-worn cameras by our agents,” said Acting Director Marvin Richardson. “The department’s policy reflects ATF’s commitment to transparency as we work to reduce firearm violence in our communities.”

Under the program, law enforcement agents are to use body-worn cameras during pre-planned operations, such as serving arrest warrants, and over the next few weeks the program will be rolled out to agents in the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, the department said.

The rollout comes after the department in October of 2019 launched a pilot program for federally deputized task force officers to use body-worn cameras. Last October, the department announced its policy on body-worn cameras stating it would permit state, local, territorial and tribal task force officers to use them on federal task forces.

“Law enforcement is at its most effective when there is accountability and trust between law enforcement and the community,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said.

“That is why we have expanded our body worn camera program to our federal agents, to promote transparency and confidence, not only with the communities we serve and protect, but also among our state, local and Tribal law enforcement partners who work alongside our federal agents each day.”


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