Body-worn cameras aren’t just for police officers. Agents with Customs and Border Protection began testing out body-mounted cameras this week as the second phase of a “feasibility study” examining accountability mechanisms in the wake of a scathing independent review of the department’s use-of-force practices, the Albuquerque Journal reported. New Mexico is one of the program’s pilot locations.
“Body-worn cameras are viewed as a potential tool that may help CBP continue its progress toward greater transparency and accountability,” the agency said in a statement, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
In recent years, the Border Patrol has developed an increasingly visible accountability and deadly force problem. Agents with the department have killed an average of seven people a year since January 2010, and declined to discipline a single agent involved in a deadly force investigation.
“[Body-worn cameras] will help protect abuse victims,” Vicki Gaubeca, director of the ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights said in a statement,” and if used appropriately these cameras will help ensure that CBP’s interaction with community members is fair and lawful.” Far from a complete solution though, the ACLU warns, body-worn cameras must be coupled with more transparency and an end to racial profiling in order to address the agency’s troublingly use of deadly force.