Human Rights

Border Patrol Still Unsure About Body Camera Program

After a year of testing and studying body cameras, border patrol officials say the agency is still unsure about rolling out the program fully.

Border Patrol Still Unsure About Body Camera Program
Getty Images / George Frey

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it's still deciding if agents will be required to wear body cameras. 

Officials have released a year-long study into if the cameras could actually work. The answer is a bit complicated. 

The agency's commissioner has supported the idea of body cameras, citing an event from last year where surveillance footage helped clear a border agent who was accused of pulling a gun on a Boy Scout. (Video via U.S. Customs and Border Protection

But the report also points out the body cameras could be ineffective, costly and possibly damage agent morale. 

The report doesn't sit well with critics. The Texas ACLU released a statement saying, "The use of body cameras would ensure that CBP’s officers remain accountable for their actions and would also protect them from false or frivolous complaints." 

The CBP is just one of the many law enforcement groups being pressured to adopt body cameras in the wake of a number of high profile police killings.

But some groups argue the agency's relatively high number of fatal incidents warrant more transparency. According to the ACLU, at least 42 people have died "at the hands of CBP officers" since 2010. 

But implementing a body camera program could be hard for the CBP. Border agents are sometimes sent out in the field for weeks at a time, so finding cameras that can withstand the heat is a big obstacle.

Next –– the CBP says it plans to add body-worn cameras at checkpoints and other operations as it continues to wrestle with the decision. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.