ICE announces initial deployment of body-worn cameras

AMTV, WASHINGTON, March 13 — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced today the initial deployment of 1,600 body-worn cameras to its two law enforcement components, Homeland Security Investigations and Enforcement and Removal Operations. The deployment is consistent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Body Worn Camera Policy and as required by the Executive Order on Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety.

“Public trust is dependent on transparency, and our ability to effectively conduct our mission is dependent on public trust,” said Deputy Director and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director Patrick J. Lechleitner. “The deployment of body-worn cameras to our officers and agents assists in building that public trust through transparency and accountability. It is an essential element in our public safety and national security mission.”

Today’s announcement is designed to advance these core values — requiring our law enforcement personnel to use body-worn cameras is an important step in modernizing ICE operations while building trust and confidence in our dedicated law enforcement professionals. The timeline for agencywide implementation is dependent on the availability of appropriated resources.

During the first phase of implementation, ICE will distribute body-worn cameras and provide specific training to ERO and HSI personnel in the Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, Buffalo and Detroit areas of responsibility.

The agency updated its policy regarding the use of body-worn cameras for law enforcement personnel earlier this year. The updated policy applies to all aspects of pre-planned ICE enforcement activities that are conducted by ICE personnel to further ICE’s mission, excluding certain investigative activities.

Among other restrictions, body-worn cameras will not be used for the sole purpose of recording individuals engaged in First Amendment activities. Although this policy establishes requirements for the use of body-worn cameras, not all ICE law enforcement personnel will immediately be issued cameras. ICE is working to secure resources required to ensure full implementation of the new policy.

The policy was largely developed through DHS’s Law Enforcement Coordination Council, a forum that allows the Department’s nine law enforcement agencies and offices to collaborate on law enforcement issues with input from stakeholders across the department, including subject matter experts from both operational law enforcement agencies and DHS headquarters offices, such as the Offices of Strategy, Policy and Plans; Civil Rights and Civil Liberties; General Counsel; Privacy; and Public Affairs.

ICE first announced its body worn camera pilot program in December 2021, when ICE law enforcement officers tested the use of body worn cameras for pre-planned law enforcement operations.

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