US Customs and Border Patrol has confirmed they'll start using body-mounted accountability cameras on their officers in West Texas, New Mexico, Florida, Washington, Oregon, and Michigan. The ACLU has been working to make this happen since 2012, soon we'll see what exactly becomes of it.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been fighting for this so long because according to their research:
"At least 39 people have died and dozens have been seriously injured since January 2010 in encounters with CBP, the nation's largest law enforcement agency. Nearly 34 of those deaths were the result of CBP officers and agents using lethal force. Last year marked the most violent year at the hands of CBP since human rights groups began tracking incidents in January 2010. The trend has continued into the new year, as CBP personnel have been involved in multiple shootings in recent weeks."
Vicki Gaubeca, director of the ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights, personally added; "Equipping port-of-entry officers and Border Patrol agents with body-worn cameras, governed by privacy protections, will help protect abuse victims, and if used appropriately these cameras will help ensure that CBP's interaction with community members is fair and lawful."
Deputy chief of the US CBP El Paso sector Benjamine Huffman told the Albuquerque Journal: "We're very optimistic that body-worn cameras will give us a much greater opportunity for transparency and accountability within our organization."
A 2013 Police Executive Research Forum study found "67 cases involving Border Patrol's use of deadly force" that seemed suspect, "including agents' firing on vehicles not posing a lethal threat and shooting people throwing rocks or other objects unlikely to cause serious injury."
That was enough to inspire CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske to agree to camera-testing. This next-phase rollout that's just been announced will be the agency's first real use of the tech in the field.
Image via AP