Resources about Policy

In View: BWCs and Police Accountability

Concerns about racial disparity in police actions have prompted a large number of responses from governmental, advocacy, and police groups. Various reports have documented such disparities in the patterns of traffic stops, stop and frisk searches, arrests, officer-involved shootings, and deaths in custody. Efforts to understand and respond to the apparent disparities in how minority citizens are treated by the police have taken many forms. Motivated in part by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing report, body-worn cameras (BWCs) have assumed a primary role in efforts to build bridges between the police and the community. Funding made available by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) in 2015 to 73 law enforcement agencies (with additional funds made available in 2016) to support the purchase and implementation of body-worn cameras has hastened the spread of this technology. The use of BWCs has been supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance BWC Toolkit, developed by Dr. Charles M. Katz and Dr. Michael D. White, as well as a larger set of resources available at the BJA website. In addition, there is a weekly BWC newsletter that is part of a broader Training and Technical Assistance effort on the part of the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

An explicit focus on the growing use of BWC by law enforcement is to increase transparency and thereby enhance police accountability to the public. One salient aspect of such an approach is the desire to reduce disparities in the treatment of citizens by the police. Implicit in this approach is the idea that most police–citizen encounters do not reflect bias.

BWC TTA Webinar

We are learning that the implementation of body worn camera (BWC) technology involves more than the introduction of new technology into law enforcement. Full implementation of BWCs in a police agency affects key areas of operations and administration, as well as internal and external stakeholders, in significant ways. For many departments, the implementation of BWCs is in direct response to community and stakeholder concerns about police use of force and the desire for transparency in how these incidents are investigated, reviewed, and managed.  

In View: Commentary on the BWC Policy Report on Civil and Human Rights

This week the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and Upturn released a scorecard that evaluates the civil rights safeguards of police body-worn camera (BWC) programs in 50 U.S. cities. The Leadership Conference scorecard rates BWC policy on 8 criteria that are directly related to citizen rights and citizen privacy. We read their report with interest, as several of the agencies in their report have received funding through the Bureau of Justice Assistance's (BJA) BWC Policy and Implementation (PIP) program.

Suggested Guidelines on Use of Body Cameras by Police

The introduction of law enforcement body cameras raises a number of questions for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.   At the core of these questions is the issue of how best to increase accountability and oversight of police officers’ conduct while not increasing and enhancing the explosion of surveillance and information gathering already being conducted by government. This memorandum  was developed by the ACLU of Illinois outlining the privacy safeguards they believe necessary to keep the focus on accountability and oversight of police, and preventing the use of body cams from becoming another broad surveillance tool.  

Implementing a BWC Program: Recommendations and Lessons Learned


Source: PERF

In an effort to address these questions and produce policy guidance to law enforcement agencies, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), with support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), conducted research in 2013 on the use of body-worn cameras. Drawing upon feedback from the conference, the survey results, and information gathered from the interviews and policy reviews, PERF created this publication to provide law enforcement agencies with guidance on the use of body-worn cameras.

 

Body Worn Cameras and Use of Force

On July 26, 2016 at 1:00pm eastern, the Body Worn Camera Training and Technical Assistance program presented a webinar titled "Body Worn Cameras and Use of Force Policy." We are learning that the implementation of body worn camera (BWC) technology involves more than the introduction of new technology into law enforcement. Full implementation of BWCs in a police agency affects key areas of operations and administration, as well as internal and external stakeholders, in significant ways.

In View: How BWCs Can Be a Risk Management Lens to Use of Force

Body-worn cameras (BWCs) are rapidly being deployed in police departments around the country. These deployments come with a host of expectations, as well as challenges. Departments shouldn’t overlook, or underestimate, the simple premise that the day the first BWCs are deployed they begin to document department operations, policy, practices, and training in a detailed manner not previously possible. This documentation places a responsibility on the department to identify, correct and evaluate shortcomings in their BWC initiatives. Nowhere is this more important than in all aspects of use of force. BWCs can be a vital tool in monitoring use of force. Departments should consider implementing a risk management feedback loop to accomplish this task.

Score your BWC Policy

As part of the Bureau of Justice Assistance Body-Worn Camera (BWC) Pilot Implementation Program (PIP), a Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) team—composed of members of CNA, Arizona State University, and Justice and Security Strategies, Inc.—has created a BWC Policy Review Scorecard (“the Scorecard”). The Scorecard assesses the comprehensiveness of an agency’s BWC policy, captures local issues that influence policy (e.g., specific state regulations), and identifies areas for policy enhancement.

Body-Worn Camera Policy Review Scorecard

As part of the Bureau of Justice Assistance Body-Worn Camera (BWC) Policy Implementation Program (PIP), a Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) team—composed of members of CNA, Arizona State University, and Justice and Security Strategies, Inc.—has created a BWC Policy Review Scorecard (“the Scorecard”). The Scorecard assesses the comprehensiveness of an agency’s BWC policy, captures local issues that influence policy (e.g., specific state regulations), and identifies areas for policy enhancement.