BWCs and Procedural Justice

Assessing the Effects of  Body-Worn Cameras on Procedural Justice in The Los Angeles Police Department 


Department of Criminal Justice, Rochester Institute of Technology Justice & Security Strategies, Inc


John D. McCluskey, Craig D. Uchida, Shellie E. Solomon, Alese Wooditch, Christine Connor, and Lauren Revier

This paper explores variations in procedural justice delivered in face to face encounters with citizens before and after the implementation of body worn cameras (BWC). The paper draws on recent advances in the measurement of procedural justice using systematic social observation of police in field settings in the Los Angeles Police Department. Data collected on 555 police citizen encounters are examined in bivariate and multivariate models exploring the primary hypothesis that BWC affects procedural justice delivered by police directly and indirectly. Results indicate that significant increases in procedural justice during police-citizen encounters were directly attributable to BWC’s effect on police behavior as well as indirect effects on citizen disrespect and other variables. The implications for policy include explicit measurement and monitoring of procedural justice or elements such as officer discourtesy in departments adopting BWC. Further research questions such as more detailed examination of citizens’ behavior changes under BWC are also considered in the context of the findings. 

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