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Border Patrol To Test Body Cameras

The U.S. Border Patrol could join the ranks of law enforcement wearing body cameras.
Image: United States Border Patrol works to secure the United States border with Mexico along the Rio Grande river.
File photo of U.S. Border Patrol agents searching a person suspected of crossing the Rio Grande River to enter the United States illegally near McAllen, Texas, March 19. LARRY W. SMITH / EPA file

The Border Patrol’s training academy next month will begin testing body cameras that could be worn by agents.

The cameras will be tested at the academy in Artesia, New Mexico starting Oct. 1., R. Gil Kerlikowske, Customs and Border Protection commissioner, said at a news conference Thursday.

“Putting these into place, as you know, is not only complicated, it’s also expensive,” Kerlikowske said. “We want to make sure we do this right.”

Kerlikowske has been taking steps to make the agency more transparent and accountable after years of criticism over the agency’s failure to investigate or hold agents accountable in shootings and other use of force incidents.

There has been an outcry for more use of body cameras by law enforcement following violence and protests in Ferguson, Mo. over the fatal shooting by an officer of Michael Brown, a teen who was unarmed.

In addition:

--Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced he was giving Customs and Border Protection authority to investigate employees for alleged criminal misconduct. CBP said internal affairs employees who are general investigators will become criminal investigators.

--The agency is using FBI practices to put in place a formal review process for use of force incidents, which also will be reviewed by an interagency board.

--The agency is forming an Integrity Advisory panel that will be co-chaired by former U.S. DEA administrator Karen Tandy and New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton.