Assessing the Utility of Body-Worn Cameras for Collegiate Police Agencies
Nearly all scholarship on body-worn cameras (BWCs) has focused on municipal police departments, as they comprise a majority of sworn agencies. Given the unique environment of collegiate law enforcement agencies, however, it is possible that their paths to BWCs—and the benefits and challenges they experience—vary from that of more traditional agencies. Using a survey of 126 collegiate police departments and in-depth interviews with 15 collegiate police executives, this study describes their goals, challenges, and benefits related to BWCs. Importantly, it also describes the decision-making of agencies that chose not to implement BWCs, giving voice to an understudied population and providing guidance to special agencies in making the decision to adopt BWCs. The most notable benefits and challenges interrelate with their placement as part of institutions of higher education, such as the impact of collegiate privacy concerns (e.g., FERPA) and the utility of BWC footage in both law enforcement and educational processes.
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