WASHINGTON (DC News Now)—Law enforcement agencies under the Department of the Interior will now have to wear body cameras, following new rules laid out earlier this week.

That includes US Park Police, as well as other agencies including US Fish and Wildlife and the Bureau of Land Management.

The Department made the announcement Monday and said it’s a way to increase transparency.

“Every single day across the country, the Interior Department’s law enforcement officers risk their lives to safeguard our communities, public lands and waters, and critical resources,” said Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau.

“In reforming policing practices, the Department is helping strengthen the unique connection that law enforcement officers have with the communities that they serve and move the nation forward towards community-focused law enforcement,” he said.

Under the policy, any officer who is actively patrolling or engaging with the public must have a body worn camera.

The new policy is a welcomed change for Virginia State Senator Scott Surovell.

“Just to see them taking some action I think will help a little bit with people feeling like Park Police is taking some action,” said Surovell.

The Senator, along with many other state and federal leaders, have been calling for USPP to wear bodyworn cameras after two Park Police officers shot and killed 25-year-old Bijan Ghaisar in 2017. It happened after a chase on the George Washington Parkway.

Ghaisar was rear ended by an Uber driver on the Parkway, but drove away after the incident. The Uber driver called the police who then tried to pull Ghaisar over several times. Ghaisar did not comply. He was unarmed at the time of the shooting.

The incident was captured on dashboard camera from Fairfax Police. The two Park Police officers did not have on body cameras.

“The shooting of Bijan Ghaisar was very traumatic for the community,” said Senator Surovell.  “A lot of people had questions and a lot of those questions went unanswered until they had video to see and once they saw the video that created even more questions and concerns about how it went down.”

He’s hopeful the new policy will help build more trust with the community.

“In my community there is a lot of distrust in the Park Police because of what happened,” he said. “It’s good to see the department taking steps that’ll allow there to be more transparency in their arrests.”

US Park Police did begin requiring officers to wear body cameras in 2021, following the start of Chief Pamela Smith. Smith has since retired.

So far, officers in the San Francisco and New York City offices wear them. USPP is in the process now of finalizing the program for DC officers.  

The new rule does not require officers to had dashboard cameras.

It also amends use of force policies and bans no-knock warrants.