All Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks police officers will start wearing body cameras from December 21, as part of a policy implemented following President Biden’s executive order requiring all federal law enforcement agencies to wear body cameras. The body cameras will be in use during specific events such as when a weapon is fired, during traffic stops, and while transporting those in custody. The new policy aims to help the police force be transparent and protect Veterans, their families, caregivers, survivors, visitors, and VA employees while on VA grounds.
VA Police Officers to Wear Body Cameras Following President Biden’s Order
On May 25, 2022, President Biden signed an executive order requiring all federal law enforcement agencies, including the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks, to use body cameras. Accordingly, all officers within the system will start wearing these devices from Dec. 21.
This new regulation aims to enhance police transparency and safeguard veterans, their families, caregivers, survivors, visitors, and VA employees on VA grounds, as indicated by the Department of Veteran Affairs’ press release.
Officers will utilize these cameras during significant operations such as when firing a weapon, activating their vehicle’s emergency lights, conducting investigations, or during traffic stops and while transporting those in custody. The mandatory use of in-car cameras is also part of these new procedures.
Privacy Concerns and Use of Footage
To guarantee the privacy of the public, VA officials underwent extensive training in preparation for this transition. The footage obtained from these cameras will exclusively serve for investigative purposes.
VA Secretary Dennis McDonough supports the use of dashcams and bodycams, saying they will enhance safety, trust, and transparency while promoting de-escalation.
Legal Requirements for Body Cameras
The mandate is in line with the Cleland-Dole Act of 2022, which expressly requires the VA’s law enforcement department to use Body cameras that record and store both audio and video. It is fundamental in promoting transparency and protecting the privacy and civil rights of the public.