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Opinion

Readers React: Finding the right body camera for Border Patrol officers

To the editor: The answer to “What does the Border Patrol have against body cameras?” is this: Nothing. Unlike most other law enforcement agencies, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, already uses thousands of cameras.

CBP officers and agents work at ports of entries and along more than 7,500 miles of border encompassing mountains, deserts, forests, rivers and coastline. As a former police chief, I know cameras foster transparency and accountability. That’s why CBP voluntarily evaluated the use of body-worn cameras — a first in federal law enforcement.

CBP is expanding its use of various cameras — including body-worn cameras — at training academies, checkpoints and in high-risk environments. We are also putting mobile cameras in vehicles, adding more fixed cameras and putting cameras on our vessels.

The evaluation of body-worn cameras showed they have potential benefits for CBP. But we need to find technologies durable enough for our varied environments before spending taxpayer dollars.

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R. Gil Kerlikowske, Washington

The writer is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner.

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