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Atlanta Chief of Police Erika Shields. Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Local police are increasing their use of body cameras, which often puts them at odds with the federal agents they work with — who "never wear body cameras," the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: A 2018 Justice Department survey found that 47% general-purpose law enforcement agencies had acquired body cameras by 2016. 80% of the largest local police departments, which employ 500 or more full-time sworn officers, had acquired body cameras by that time.

What's happening: Local police departments tell the Post the DOJ "has helped fund and train local police departments in body-camera use while ignoring federal use." When local officers work with federal agents on joint task forces, they are prohibited from wearing body cameras.

What they're saying:

  • “I believe they have an obligation to join us in 21st-century policing,” Todd Axtell, the St. Paul, Minnesota police chief, told the Post about federal agencies.“This is what they’ve been preaching. It’s ironic they aren’t complying with what they preach to be so important in policing.”
  • The Justice Department's lack of camera use is due to “safety and security concerns, such as protecting sensitive or tactical methods used in arresting violent fugitives or conducting covert investigations," a DOJ official told the Post.
  • “If you’re policing and you’re policing properly,” Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields told the Post, “you have nothing to fear” from wearing a body camera.

What to watch: Shields pulled Atlanta's officers from federal joint task forces with the DEA, the FBI and others after federal agents refused to wear body cameras — and chiefs in Houston and Austin are considering the same if a compromise isn't reached with federal agencies.

Go deeper: The police technology revolution no one is hearing about

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
27 mins ago - Economy & Business

The fragile recovery

Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits is falling but remains remarkably high three weeks before pandemic assistance programs are set to expire. More than 1 million people a week are still filing for initial jobless claims, including nearly 300,000 applying for pandemic assistance.

By the numbers: As of Nov. 14, 20.2 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits of some kind, including more than 13.4 million on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs that were created as part of the CARES Act and end on Dec. 26.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The top candidates Biden is considering for key energy and climate roles

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged President-elect Joe Biden to nominate Mary Nichols, chair of California's air pollution regulator, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The reported push by Schumer could boost Nichol's chances of leading an agency that will play a pivotal role in Biden's vow to enact aggressive new climate policies — especially because the plan is likely to rest heavily on executive actions.

U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows

Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from 6.9%, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The labor market continues to recover even as coronavirus cases surge— though it's still millions of jobs short of the pre-pandemic level. The problem is that the rate of recovery is slowing significantly.