SALT LAKE CITY – Starting today, local cops will have one more tool at their disposal while they’re working with federal law enforcement. The Department of Justice is kicking off a pilot program that allows officers to record things that haven’t been recorded before.
Local police officers are frequently asked to help agencies like the FBI, DEA and ATF when the federal agencies need extra hands. When these local officers are working for their own jurisdictions, they can use body cameras whenever they have them.
However, Executive Assistant US Attorney for Utah Andy Choate says, “Our cross-deputized officers weren’t allowed to wear body cams during their work as federal agents on the task force. Federal agents aren’t typically issued body cams.”
Choate says the reason for this is that federal agencies frequently deal with sensitive information and they use sensitive investigating methods.
“Typically, a lot of the information that federal officers work with, especially agencies like the FBI, is classified,” he says.
The DOJ has joined with the Salt Lake City Police Department to allow these officers to use these cameras in certain situations. Choate says they can begin recording after pre-planned arrests and pre-planned search warrants.
Why was Salt Lake City chosen?
Choate says, “Chief Brown has been on the vanguard of transparency for local police departments,” adding, “We want Chief Brown and we want the Salt Lake City Police Department as our partners. So, we have decided to kick it off in Salt Lake City as a pilot program to see how it works department-wide.”
The program will last for 90 days, and the DOJ will analyze the results to determine if body cam use will be authorized across the country.
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