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Inspector General: Park Police's body camera policies subpar

Inspector General: Park Police's body camera policies subpar
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The Interior Department's Office of the Inspector General concluded Thursday that subpar drafted policies on body camera use present a risk to the Interior Department and its bureaus, including the U.S. Park Police.

The Interior Department currently lacks a finalized official policy on the use of body cameras by law enforcement.

Use of body cameras has been voluntary and decisions to purchase equipment are generally made at the field or regional level within the Interior Department, the report said. The report said bureaus are currently in the process of issuing their own policies, including the Park Police.

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The report additionally said that a current draft proposal at Interior on the issue still fails to meet standards set by the law enforcement industry.

The Inspector General's recommendations for the draft policy included standards for controls over body camera recordings, prohibiting manipulation of devices and a ban on sharing recordings.

"Implementation of a successful body camera program is at risk, particularly in areas such as data quality, systems security, and privacy," the report said. "The inconsistent use of body cameras and failure to adhere to industry standards also increases the risk that investigative or judicial proceedings will be challenged for failure to properly maintain evidence chain of custody, and could lead to an erosion of public trust in bureau law enforcement programs."

The Inspector General's Office issued their recommendations to the Interior Department on Nov. 28.

On the evening of Nov. 17, a police chase ended with Park Police officers firing nine shots into a Jeep Grand Cherokee and killing the driver on George Washington Memorial Parkway in Washington, D.C.

The footage of the shooting was made public last week. The body camera footage was released by Fairfax County police officers. The Park Police officer involved was not wearing a body camera.

The case has been turned over to the FBI.

Speaking at a town hall meeting with Interior employees in D.C. on Thursday, Secretary of the Interior Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith Zinke5 major ways that Interior slashed protections for wildlife  Trump extends Florida offshore drilling pause, expands it to Georgia, South Carolina Conspicuous by their absence from the Republican Convention MORE referenced the incident, saying he hadn't seen the footage until it was on the news.

"We’ll get to the bottom of it if there’s inappropriateness," Zinke told the crowd. "We want to make sure we’re doing the right thing. So we want to hold ourselves accountable, and when you are law enforcement you are held to a higher standard because you have a badge."