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Tag: Body-worn cameras

DOJ Rolls Out Use of Body-Worn Cams for FBI, DEA, ATF, U.S. Marshals

Photo: Shutterstock

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department is beginning to rollout the use of body-worn cameras for federal law enforcement officials.

ATF agents in Phoenix and FBI agents in Detroit began wearing the cameras Wednesday during pre-planned operations. 

The FBI, DEA, ATF and U.S. Marshals will continue to roll out the first phase of body-worn cams over the next several weeks. 

In June, the Justice Department announced that federal agents will be required to wear body cameras while serving arrest warrants and executing raids. At the time, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a memo that the agencies had 30 days to submit plans governing the use of body cams. 

“Keeping our communities safe is a top priority for the Justice Department,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement Wednesday. “Law enforcement is at its most effective when there is accountability and trust between law enforcement and the community. 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.”

In a news release, the heads of the FBI, ATF, DEA and U.S. Marshals said they were looking forward to outfitting their law enforcement officers and agents with body cams. 

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

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said, “The Drug Enforcement Administration is committed to the safety and security of the people we serve, our agents, and task force officers. We welcome the addition of body worn cameras and appreciate the enhanced transparency and assurance they provide to the public and to law enforcement officers working hard to keep our communities safe and healthy.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray said, “The FBI remains committed to meeting the need for transparency. Phasing in the use of BWCs is another, important way for us to meet that need.”

Director Donald Washington of the U.S. Marshals Service said, “We continue striving to fortify the public’s trust in our responsibility to uphold the rule of law while keeping communities safe as we have for more than two centuries. Body worn cameras increase the transparency of law enforcement activities, and we will work to obtain the necessary resources to fully execute our body-worn camera program.”

By the end of the year, about a third of Border Patrol agents will wear body cameras, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced in August.

In October 2020, the Justice Department announced that state and local law enforcement may begin wearing body cameras during some join operations with federal law enforcement.