CBP Answers to NTEU Questions on its Incident-Driven Video Recording System Directive

July 29, 2016

NTEU provided its input in the form of questions and comments that CBP has responded to below:

 

1- Will the records be subject to FOIA? 

Unless determined otherwise by higher authority, it is reasonable to believe that Body Worn Camera (BWC) data will fall under FOIA protocols.

 

2- Telling subjects they are being recorded could make a bad situation worse. 

Remember, the spirit and intent of BWCs is that it has been proven to have a “calming” effect on a situation.  If that is not the case in a specific scenario, then the officer could/would exercise discretion and not announce his intentions to record.  This “announcement” is not mandatory nor does it trump good officer discretion and concerns for safety.

 

3- Can CBP remotely turn on a camera for a remote inspection? 

No, though some technologies allow for nearby BWCs to activate automatically when another BWC is turned on, OFO has no intention of using personnel to become mobile surveillance tools against their will.

 

4- Can a supervisor/manager order an officer to turn the camera off against the wishes of the officer? 

Yes.  If a supervisor is on scene and makes this decision, he/she becomes responsible for his/her actions.  Though this is not anticipated to be a frequent occurrence, it would be reasonable to believe that an on-scene supervisor, taking control of the incident, may issue orders which may include the deactivation of BWCs. 

 

5- Will the cameras be considered gear that must be cared for by the officer? 

As it is not anticipated that these items will be issued to personnel, it is envisioned that these items will be utilized similar to what has been done with radios.  Personnel might “check them out” at the beginning of a shift and turn them in before going off-duty.

 

6- What are the consequences for the officer if it is lost or damaged? 

As stated in #5, these items will be deployed using similar protocols to other existing items.  As with any equipment we utilize, it is reasonable to believe that some will be lost or damaged during the normal course of the work day.  Unless it can be demonstrated that an officer did not demonstrate reasonable care, this is not seen as being a concern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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© 2016 by National Treasury Employees Union Chapter 137, Miami, FL

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