In an effort to support its work and provide greater transparency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has begun equipping an initial group of agents and officers with body cameras.
The body cameras are part of the agency's new incident-driven video recording systems program, which records and stores video and audio data to support the agency's mission.
According to CBP, these devices, roughly the size of a deck of cards, will be worn on the front of agents' and officers' uniforms. The cameras will operate continuously in the background, and once an agent or officer activates a camera, it begins saving images beginning two minutes prior to the camera's activation, the agency said.
When activating their cameras agents and officers will be required to follow a protocol drafted by CBP, with the safety of personnel and the public as the primary considerations in shaping the policy. Images are retained depending on the nature of the incident recorded and their evidence value.
CBP maintained that it is adopting new, thoroughly tested and vetted technologies that efficiently and effectively support its complex missions, so it expects to deploy approximately 6 thousand cameras by the end of 2021.
As part of this program, the agency is deploying the cameras in phases, beginning at Border Patrol locations along the southwest and northern borders, followed by selected Office of Field Operations ports of entry throughout the United States.
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