First set of Justice Dept. agents now wearing body cams

Sep 1, 2021, 12:34 PM | Updated: 12:37 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department has identified the first set of federal agents to wear body cameras under a new policy that reversed a yearslong ban, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday.

The agents, who work for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix and Detroit, will wear the cameras for pre-planned operations like arrests and searches. It is the first step under a Justice Department policy enacted earlier this year that requires all of its federal agents to wear body cameras when executing arrest warrants or searching buildings. The program is being slowly phased in.

Last October, the Justice Department formalized a new policy to allow local officers to wear body cameras during joint operations, which had reversed a policy that had strained its relationship with some law enforcement agencies. The issue had previously hit such a boiling point that Atlanta’s police chief had withdrawn city police officers from federal task forces over the issue.

But even as the Justice Department made these major policy shifts to allow the use of a tool that has been common for years with most local police agencies, there has still been confusion about the process for local task force officers — and the length of time it will take to actually allow them to be worn in the field.

Only federal agents assigned to the two field offices have currently been assigned the cameras, though the Detroit office covers the entire state of Michigan, and the Phoenix division covers other nearby cities as well, like Albuquerque. The cameras were not used on Wednesday but would be used in those divisions going forward, an ATF spokesperson said.

Agents who are assigned to ATF’s special response teams – the specialized tactical squads used to serve warrants on some of the most violent offenders in the U.S. – have not yet been assigned body cameras. An ATF spokesperson said all new agents in the academy are also being taught to use body cameras as part of their training program.

Other agencies, like the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service are expected to begin phasing in their body-camera programs in the next few weeks, Justice Department officials said. The agency said it will “rely upon Congress” to provide funding to equip every agent in the country with a body camera.

“Law enforcement is at its most effective when there is accountability and trust between law enforcement and the community,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said. “That is why we have expanded our body worn camera program to our federal agents, to promote transparency and confidence, not only with the communities we serve and protect, but also among our state, local and Tribal law enforcement partners who work alongside our federal agents each day.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

French President Emmanuel Macron addresses a media conference during the G7 summit at Castle Elmau ...
Associated Press

COVID: Paris court rules govt failed to stockpile face masks

PARIS (AP) — A Paris court ruled on Tuesday that the French government failed to sufficiently stock up on surgical masks at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and prevent the virus from spreading. The ruling came as the number of registered infections with coronavirus variants rises sharply. It wasn’t immediately clear if […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

Key moments in Flint, Michigan’s lead-tainted water crisis

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan Supreme Court order that charges related to the Flint water scandal against former Gov. Rick Snyder, his health director and seven other people must be dismissed is the latest development in the crisis that started in 2014. That was when the city began taking water from the Flint River […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

Court lets Tennessee 6-week abortion ban take effect

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal court on Tuesday allowed Tennessee’s ban on abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy to take effect, citing the Supreme Court’s decision last week to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights case. The action by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes before Tennessee’s other […]
11 hours ago
FILE - Mexican and U.S. abortion advocates gather on day two of a three day meeting to discuss thei...
Associated Press

Mexican networks ramp up help for US women seeking abortions

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Abortion pills smuggled into the United States from Mexico inside teddy bears. A New York home used as a pill distribution hub. A small apartment just south of the U.S.-Mexico border converted into a safe place for women to end their pregnancies. Networks of Mexican feminist collectives working with counterparts in […]
11 hours ago
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Tajikistan's President Emomali Rakhmon pose for a photo...
Associated Press

Russia working on Taliban ties, Putin says in Tajikistan

MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin says Russia is trying to build relations with the Taliban and that Russia wants to see all the ethnic groups in Afghanistan take part in running the country. Putin’s statement Tuesday came in a meeting with President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan during the Russian leader’s first trip abroad since […]
11 hours ago
FILE - In this undated photo released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows a dispersing wolf...
Associated Press

Conservationists call for action on Northwest wolf poaching

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Wildlife advocates say there has been a distressing uptick in wolf poaching cases in the Northwest in the past year and a half. Four dead wolves were discovered in the northeastern corner of Washington state in February. That followed the poisoning of eight wolves in eastern Oregon in 2021, along with […]
11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
First set of Justice Dept. agents now wearing body cams