CALIFORNIA.- U.S. Customs and Border Protection began testing the use of body cameras by its employees at nine locations, potentially leading to a broad rollout by the nation’s largest law enforcement agency that would make it the first federal agency to use the devices on a large scale.
Customs and Border Protection previously concluded in 2015 after a yearlong study that body cameras were not yet suitable for widespread use due to cost, technological challenges and the need for labor union approval.
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However, it said the cameras had potential in limited circumstances. The agency’s review also found that cameras used in field tests did not function well in the rugged, remote conditions in which many Border Patrol agents work.
“Some fared better than others,” said Austin Skero, director of the agency’s law enforcement safety and compliance directorate.
Customs and Border Protection officials said technology has evolved since the 2015 test, and the cameras used in the current field tests will build on lessons learned in the previous test. The equipment was provided by several manufacturers the agency declined to name.
Officials also said the potential benefits of the cameras include providing evidence in criminal cases, improved training and strengthening of job performance and accountability.