Press Releases

Beyer, Natural Resources Dems Request Briefing From Department of Interior on Police Camera Policies

Request follows US Park Police shooting of Bijan Ghaisar, Inspector General finding that DOI body camera practices fail to meet industry standards

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Washington, February 28, 2018 | comments

Today Rep. Don Beyer, House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva, and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Ranking Member Donald McEachin requested a briefing from the Department of the Interior (DOI) on the Department’s body camera and policing policies, the status of implementation of the policies, and the current status of deployment of police cameras throughout DOI.

The Members wrote:

“As you know, the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Office of Inspector General (OIG) found DOI’s ‘body camera policy and practices are not consistent with industry standards.’ This report is especially concerning after the shooting of 25-year-old Bijan Ghaisar by U.S. Park Police officers.

“As Bijan Ghaisar’s case illustrates, police cameras have the potential to improve policing by building trust in communities, providing transparency, and protecting innocent civilians. To assist us in conducting oversight, we request a briefing on policies, implementation of the policies, and deployment of police cameras throughout DOI.”

The House Natural Resources Committee has jurisdiction over the Department of the Interior. Text of the letter follows below, and a signed copy is available here.


Harry Humbert

Deputy Assistant Secretary

Public Safety, Resource Protection, and Emergency Services

U.S. Department of the Interior

Mailstop 3428-MIB

1849 C Street N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20240

 

Dear Deputy Assistant Humbert:

As you know, the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Office of Inspector General (OIG) found DOI’s “body camera policy and practices are not consistent with industry standards.” This report is especially concerning after the shooting of 25-year-old Bijan Ghaisar by U.S. Park Police officers. The shooting was captured on camera by the Fairfax County Police who were also on the scene, but not by the U.S. Park Police as they had neither body cameras nor car dashboard cameras to capture video.

The OIG identified 13 recommendations that would help DOI manage its body cameras to be consistent with industry best practices. The report also found that, “to date, use of body cameras has been voluntary and decisions to purchase equipment are generally made at the field or regional level.” The report did not include an examination of dashboard camera policies. Implementing the IG’s recommendations, examining dashboard camera policies, and prioritizing the purchase and adoption of body cameras are important steps to bringing the Department into the modern policing age. 

As Bijan Ghaisar’s case illustrates, police cameras have the potential to improve policing by building trust in communities, providing transparency, and protecting innocent civilians. To assist us in conducting oversight, we request a briefing on policies, implementation of the policies, and deployment of police cameras throughout DOI.

Please contact Kate Schisler in Congressman Beyer’s office or Vic Edgerton of the committee staff with any questions. We look forward to your response.

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