Homeland Security Agents to Test Body Cams
Agents with a Department of Homeland Security investigative unit will wear body cameras for the first time as part of a six-month pilot program testing the costs and benefits of using the technology in federal law enforcement, the Associated Press reports. The cameras will be used by 55 members of the SWAT-like special response teams at Homeland Security Investigations in Houston, Newark, and New York. Homeland Security Investigations, which focuses on transnational federal crimes such as drug and human trafficking and fraud, is a component of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, (ICE). A senior ICE official said the agency expects to expand the pilot to include officers who conduct immigration enforcement arrests.
“With its body worn camera pilot, ICE is making an important statement that transparency and accountability are essential components of our ability to fulfill our law enforcement mission and keep communities safe,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said. Homeland Security Investigations agents are expected to use the body cams when carrying out such actions as making pre-planned arrests, questioning suspects and executing search warrants. The footage would be available to defense lawyers in criminal cases as part of the discovery process as well as to others under the Freedom of Information Act. The pilot program is intended to evaluate the cost of the program and the effectiveness of the equipment.
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