Salt Lake City officers join a national pilot program to allow body camera use on federal task forces

Local and state officers working on federal law enforcement task forces in Salt Lake City will now be able to wear cameras while serving warrants and making arrests, marking a change in U.S. Department of Justice policy.

Salt Lake City is one of six jurisdictions chosen for a pilot program where local officers on task forces with the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Marshals service will use the cameras, according to a Wednesday news release.

The Department of Justice announced the pilot program Oct. 28. It comes after state and local law enforcement agencies — many of which already outfit officers with body-worn cameras — requested that police deputized into federal task forces be able to continue wearing cameras in situations when using force is possible, the release said.

Federal agents still will not wear cameras, executive assistant U.S. Attorney Andy Choate said.

Attorney General William Barr said in a news release, “I am pleased that this pilot program takes into account the interests and priorities of all the law enforcement agencies involved in federal task forces. These are some of the most dangerous jobs in law enforcement, and I am grateful for the sacrifice of those who serve.

“The Department of Justice has no higher priority than ensuring the safety and security of the American people and this pilot program will continue to help us fulfill that mission.”

Salt Lake City police spokesman Michael Ruff said all SLCPD officers wear body cameras, so the pilot program “won’t be a huge change.” But he said the department is happy to support the program.

The program will run for 90 days. Then, information gathered will be used to make a nationwide policy for body-worn camera use by local officers in federal task forces.