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US border agency begins second phase of body camera testing

User: West Midlands Police
Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced it will start testing body cameras on agents in the field. The first phase of the feasibility study took place in the border agency's training academies from October through December 2014.

CBP says its goal is greater transparency and accountability. 

"We're very glad to see Border Patrol moving forward on these tests," said Ryan Bates, executive director of Michigan United, a statewide civil rights and social justice organization. "And we're very glad to see that their new commissioner is showing some leadership on the issues of civil rights."

Bates said the move will help address problems of excessive force and racial and ethnic profiling. "Without body cameras, without video, often these incidents just become one person's word against another," he said, adding that body cameras will also protect officers against unfounded claims.

The border agency said that Detroit will be one of the locations around the country where the Phase II evaluation of body cameras will take place. It expects this phase of the evaluation to be completed this summer.

-- Virginia Gordan, Michigan Radio Newsroom