(JustPatriots.com)- On Monday, the Department of Justice issued a new memo that requires all federal law enforcement officers to wear body camera when conducting raids or executing arrest warrants. It follows a series of high-profile incidents involving police officers being accused of wrongdoing and is a welcome change that will ensure federal officers follow similar rules to local and state law enforcement agencies.
The memo says that while the Department’s law enforcement components don’t often conduct patrols or engage in a way that would require the body cameras – emergency calls, for instance – there are circumstances where agents will engage with the public during pre-planned operations.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said that these occasional interactions with the public will now require the wearing of body cameras.
Following the memo, the nation’s federal law enforcement agencies will now be required to put in place new policies over the next 30 days. Justice Department officials will also embark on a project to train federal prosecutors on how to use the body camera footage as evidence.
Under former Attorney General William Barr’s direction, the Justice Department announced last fall that state, local, tribal, and territorial task forces would require the wearing of body cameras on federally deputized officers as well as federal task forces to ensure that important evidence can more easily be obtained. This new memo appears to be an extension of that Trump-era rule.
The move was welcomed by the National Police Association, with spokesperson Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith saying that many federal agencies are involved in dangerous situations that the public should witness through body camera footage.
She added that the footage can also be used to help improve the safety of agents, citing the story of FBI agents Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger who were killed while executing a search warrant in February of this year.