Resources about Research on BWCs and Related Issues

BWCs and Officers in Specialized Units

Questions have begun to emerge regarding the potential utility of BWCs for specialized units in a police department, such as K9, traffic, tactical, gang, and undercover units. Given the near-sole focus on patrol, the role of specialized units in BWC deployment is often overlooked. Further, the advantages, disadvantages, and challenges associated with BWCs may be very different for specialized units than for patrol.

In View: Interpreting BWC Video Footage

Following the intense public scrutiny of law enforcement since the summer of 2014, community members, politicians, and police executives alike have called for the adoption of body-worn camera (BWC) systems.  There have been a variety of reasons offered in support of body-worn cameras, all of which coalesce around advancing three potential benefits: a signaling benefit, a behavioral change benefit, and a documentation benefit.  Agencies and executives that are considering or implementing BWC programs may want to contemplate how different policies and procedures will advance or undermine thes

Reducing Violence During Police Encounters

One of the most compelling perceived benefits of body-worn cameras (BWCs) involves the potential for reductions in citizen complaints and police use of force. A handful of early studies reported significant reductions in both outcomes following BWC adoption, but several recent studies have failed to document such effects.The current study explores this question using data from a randomized controlled trial conducted in the Spokane (WA) Police Department.

BWC's and Suspects of Inmate Partner Violence

It is generally precieved that the benefits of BWCs include the ability to increase transparency and police legitimacy, improve behavior among both police officers and citizens, and reduce citizen complaints and police use of force. Less established in the literature, however, is the value of BWCs to aid in the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of intimate partner violence (IPV) offenders.This article examines the effect of pre- and post-camera deployment on a number of outcomes related to arrest, prosecution, and conviction of intimate partner violence offenders.

Considering The Issues Around Assessing Officer Compliance

This webinar discusses different approaches to how police agencies monitor compliance to body worn camera (BWC) policy, and how they manage non-compliance to BWC policy. Representatives from Corpus Christi Police Department, New Orleans Police Department, San Antonio Police Department and Las Vegas Metropolitain Police Department discussed important issues as: how to audit and monitor compliance to BWC policy, adjustments to monitoring over time, variations in responses to officer non-compliance, and constraints due to vendor provisions for monitoring data.

In View: A Response to President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing in Relation to BWCs

The recent review of the evidence supporting Pillar 3 Recommendations in the final report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing raises several important issues related to police body-worn cameras (BWCs). The first issue involves the small but rapidly growing body of research on police. When the President’s Task Force final report was released in May 2015, there were only a handful of studies available that empirically assessed the impact of police BWCs. In the last 18 months, law enforcement leaders and researchers have collaborated to quickly advance the knowledge base on BWCs. In that time a number of important studies have been published and dozens more are underway. This research has identified a number of important themes.

For example, the research has consistently shown that officers are generally supportive of BWCs, and their support increases after they begin wearing the cameras (Gaub et al., 2016; Jennings et al., 2014). Research also suggests that citizen support for BWCs is high—among both the general population (Sousa et al., 2015) and citizens who interact with police and have those interactions recorded (White et al., 2016a; 2016b). Several studies have also documented the evidentary value of BWCs for criminal cases (Owens et al., 2014; Morrow et al., 2016). Much of the research has also focused on the impact of BWCs on citizen complaints against officers and the use of force. Though there are mixed findings regarding the impact of BWCs on force and complaints, the weight of the available evidence documenting positive effects is persuasive (Ariel et al., 2015; Hedberg et al., 2016; Jennings et al. 2015; Mesa Police Department, 2013). In sum, our understanding of the potential impact of BWCs has advanced considerably in a short period of time.

The second important issue raised in the recent “Evidence-Assessment” report involves the cost and complexity of implementing a BWC program, as well as the attendant wide range of factors that come into play. A BWC program has implications for nearly every unit in a police department, civilian and sworn. State law, the local political environment, the internal police culture, and the nature of the police-community relationship all affect the implementation and healthy functioning of a BWC program. As a consequence, the impact of a BWC program may vary considerably across agencies. Did the agency engage in a deliberate, collaborative planning process? Does the agency have a clear and comprehensive administrative policy? Does the agency monitor officer compliance with administrative policy? Has the city and agency leadership accounted for the ongoing costs associated with management of the BWC program? Do citizens support the deployment of BWCs in their jurisdiction? Will changes in the local political climate affect support for the BWC program? Answers to all of these questions likely affect the impact and consequences of a BWC program, and it is clear there are many important questions left to explore.

Nevertheless, our knowledge regarding BWCs has progressed at a very impressive rate. We know much more now than we did 18 months ago, when the final report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing was released. And given the considerable resources and expertise marshaled by the U.S. Department of Justice, local law enforcement agencies, and policing researchers from the U.S. and abroad, I have no doubt our understanding of BWCs and their impact will continue to grow at an exponential rate.

The city of Clarksville, Tenn. is searching for an opinion on BWC's

The Clarksville police department is asking for help. The police department is asking the residents of Clarksville to complete a survey on if they support the use of body-camera's. Clarksville is currently in the process of applying for a government grant that will be used to fund body worn camera's for the city's police officers.

Click here to read more.