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Groups Propose Lapel Cameras To Monitor Border Patrol Agents

Audio

Aired 6/5/13

Pro-immigrant activists are proposing an amendment to the Senate immigration reform bill that would require U.S. Border Patrol agents to wear lapel cameras to monitor their behavior.

— Immigrant rights activists want U.S. Border Patrol agents to wear lapel cameras to monitor their interactions with people they encounter while on patrol.

An increasing number of police departments are equipping officers with wearable cameras in order to monitor police conduct and curb abuses. The cameras also provide evidence to back up, or refute, allegations.

Officers in Albuquerque and Oakland are required to tape their interactions, and many law enforcement jurisdictions in Texas have at least some officers who wear cameras.

A pilot lapel camera program in Rialto, Califo. found a nearly 60 percent reduction in the use of force by police officers. The number of complaints filed against officers dropped by nearly 90 percent during the yearlong study.

Now, a group of pro-immigrant activists from the U.S.-Mexico border region are lobbying for an amendment in the Senate immigration reform bill that would outfit Border Patrol agents with lapel cameras.

“If it’s good enough for police, it should be good enough for CBP,” said Andrea Guerrero, executive director of Alliance San Diego.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, CBP, oversees the Border Patrol.

“It is those agents that often have encounters with border residents and with migrants without any witnesses or cameras,” Guerrero said. “It turns into a ‘he said, she said,’ and leaves us without answers as to what happened.”

The Southern Border Communities Coalition has counted 20 Border Patrol-involved killings since 2010. The group estimates the cost of outfitting the estimated 20,000 Border Patrol agents along the U.S.-Mexico border at $20 million.

But the union representing Border Patrol agents opposes the idea of agents wearing cameras.

“We have concerns about protecting the privacy and identity of agents who routinely are threatened by cartels and other criminal organizations,” Shawn Moran, spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council, said in an email.

Moran also said the union didn’t trust CBP to use footage from lapel cameras productively.

“Instead of using it to show agents doing their jobs correctly and professionally 99.99 percent of the time, CBP would scour the info looking for minor policy violations and would use that to discipline agents,” Moran said.

The Senate is expected to start debate on the immigration reform bill next week.

Comments

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 5, 2013 at 4:05 p.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

I don't understand why all law enforcement doesn't wear lapel cameras. Oh, that's right, then the psychotic sociopathic bully cops couldn't run around like rambo on a power trip slamming, beating, and shooting people.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 5, 2013 at 4:25 p.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm all for it so long as the footage can be used to help identify and deport illegal aliens.

Why don't we equip congressmen with lapel cameras as well?

Nah, the footage be too sickening to watch.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | June 6, 2013 at 9:16 a.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

CA offender, lol. How are you going to "identify" immigration status through a camera??? You sure try, though. I'll give you that.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | June 6, 2013 at 9:17 a.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

Arevalos: Meet me around the back.

Bimbette in Jetta: Wha-what???

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | June 8, 2013 at 4:35 p.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

As soon as they put cameras on the lapels, the bleeding hearts will be crying about these felon's civil rights. We just can't do enough to appease the felons from the south. Build a better, stronger electrified fence before we are forced to accept Spanish as our language. Enough of the insanity of D.C. !!!

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Avatar for user 'MaoTzu'

MaoTzu | June 8, 2013 at 8 p.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

This could be a step in the right direction towards getting these government employees under control.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | June 9, 2013 at 9 a.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

How about we get the millions of felons under control. Better fences, mass deportation and then we talk. There already is a legal path to citizenship !!!!! Use that one.

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