U.S. Park Police to start wearing body cameras

U.S. Park Police to start wearing body cameras
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Officers in the U.S. Park Police (USPP) will start wearing body cameras this year, the National Park Service announced Thursday.

The agency said in a statement that its new chief Pamela Smith will start a body camera program for the park police in San Francisco within 90 days and that the program will be “implemented across the country” by the end of the year. 

Smith, who starts as USPP chief on Sunday, will be the first African American woman to hold its top job, the agency said in a statement. 

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The body camera announcement comes as the agency has faced scrutiny over uses of force, particularly following a 2017 shooting death and the agency’s involvement in clearing protestors near the White House last year.

The announcement also comes following a nationwide reckoning on policy brutality following the killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd by police. 

“Body-worn cameras are good for the public and good for our officers, which is why I am prioritizing implementing a body-worn camera program within my first 90 days,” said Smith said in a statement. “This is one of the many steps we must take to continue to build trust and credibility with the public we have been entrusted to serve.”

USPP has jurisdiction over the country’s national parks and are a unit of the National Park Service.