On Oct. 28, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a press release announcing a pilot program that will allow federally deputized task force officers to use body-worn cameras while serving arrest warrants, or other planned arrest operations, and during the execution of search warrants. The following is the press release.
Today, the Department of Justice has announced a pilot program that will allow – for the first time – federally deputized task force officers to use body-worn cameras while serving arrest warrants, or other planned arrest operations, and during the execution of search warrants. The Department of Justice, through its law enforcement agencies, partners with state, local and tribal law enforcement on hundreds of federal task forces throughout the nation. Together, these task forces work to combat violent crime, stem the flow of illegal narcotics and arrest dangerous fugitives. Several of the Department’s partner state and local agencies require their officers to wear body-worn cameras and have requested their officers wear these cameras on federal task forces when the use of force is possible.
“I am pleased that this pilot program takes into account the interests and priorities of all the law enforcement agencies involved in federal task forces,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “These are some of the most dangerous jobs in law enforcement, and I am grateful for the sacrifice of those who serve. The Department of Justice has no higher priority than ensuring the safety and security of the American people and this pilot program will continue to help us fulfill that mission.”
“ATF’s partnerships with local and state law enforcement are crucial to protecting our communities from those who commit violent crimes involving firearms, explosives, and arson; we continually strive to be the best possible partner,” said Acting Director Regina Lombardo of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). “ATF’s commitment to our partners includes adopting the appropriate use of technology to enhance effectiveness and accountability. ATF, FBI, DEA and the U.S. Marshals have worked closely with the Attorney General and leadership from local law enforcement agencies in the development of a pilot policy for the use of body-worn cameras by local officers participating in federal task forces. I look forward to implementation of this pilot as ATF continues to work with local and state law enforcement to remove the most violent offenders from our communities.”
“The Drug Enforcement Administration values its partnerships with state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the country, and we look forward to continued collaboration,” said Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). “Task force officers working alongside DEA special agents play a critical role in safeguarding our communities from violent criminals, drug traffickers, and dangerous cartels, and their local knowledge and expertise are vital to making our streets safer.”
“We appreciate the Attorney General’s intentions to improve accountability through DOJ’s new body worn camera pilot policy,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “The FBI’s very mission is to protect the American public and uphold the Constitution. We value the continued support of our task force officers as our close collaboration is a vital part of that mission. It’s our hope this program will help us to fulfill our mission and build trust within our communities – a common goal among all of our task force partners.”
“The U.S. Marshals Service has long-standing and extremely successful partnerships with state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the country. These partnerships result in the arrest of nearly 100,000 violent fugitives each year, bringing immediate relief to communities and protecting the most vulnerable populations,” said United States Marshals Service (USMS) Director Donald Washington. “The USMS remains committed to assisting our task force partners in performance of the critical fugitive apprehension mission that contributes to the safety of our communities.”
The Department of Justice’s pilot program will go into effect in select cities on Nov. 1, 2019. The Department would like to thank ATF, the DEA, the FBI and the USMS, as well as all of the state and local law enforcement leaders that have provided input and guidance.