DHS to implement body camera policy for all agencies
The new policy would require agents to wear body cameras when they are responding to emergency calls, and carrying out planned arrests and search warrants
May 30, 2023 6:59am
Updated: May 30, 2023 6:59am
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced last week its plans to enforce the first department-wide policy requiring agents and law enforcement agents to wear body cameras when interacting with the public.
The new policy would require agents to wear body cameras when they are responding to emergency calls, and carrying out planned arrests and search warrants, said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
"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 says.
"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."
The guidance asks the DHS agencies—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Secret Service, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)—to develop or review agency-specific policies to meet or exceed the request outlined in the policy within 180 days.
The policy comes after President Biden signed an executive order requiring law enforcement agencies to review their use of force policies.
“Our ability to secure the homeland rests on public trust, which is built through accountability, transparency, and effectiveness in our law enforcement practices,” Mayorkas said in a statement.
“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,” Mayorkas added.
Several DHS agencies already require officers to use body cameras, reported The Hill. Around 6,000 CBP officers have been wearing body cameras since August 2021. ICE carried out a pilot program to test the use of body cameras in November 2021. Similarly, the Secret Service issued an agency-wide policy in September 2022.
The DHS oversees nine operational law enforcement agencies with around 80,000 law enforcement officers and agents around the country.