Does Agency Size Matter? Key Trends in Body-Worn Camera Policy and Practice

Does Agency Size Matter? Key Trends in Body-Worn Camera Policy and Practice

Source

BWC TTA Team (2020)

Authors

Michael D. White, Ph.D.; Michaela Flippin, M.S.; and Aili Malm, Ph.D.

 

This report serves as an addendum to our more extensive four-year policy analysis report. Refer to the larger report for a more detailed description of the methodology, selection of policy issues, and general policy trends. In this report, we explore whether there is variation in body-worn camera (BWC) policy positions across agencies of different sizes. For example, do departments with fewer than 25 officers address BWC policy issues such as activation and de-activation the way much larger agencies do?

In this report, we examine 22 specific issues across 10 general policy areas. Our review focuses on 250 policies of agencies that received funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) BWC Policy and Implementation Program (PIP) in FY 2016, FY 2017, and FY 2018.

We created a four-level classification of agencies based on the number of sworn officers:

  • Extra-small: 1–24 sworn (n=68)
  • Small: 25–99 sworn (n=88)
  • Medium: 100–499 sworn (n=59)
  • Large: 500 or more sworn (n=35)

Three general findings emerged from the policy analysis by agency size.

  1. Overall, there is a high degree of consistency in policy positions across agencies of different sizes. For the most part, agency size does not affect BWC policy.
  2. There are a handful of notable differences across policy issues, but there is no clear or consistent relationship between policy positions and agency size. Extra-small and small agencies did not always align. Medium and large agencies did not always align.
  3. When there were notable differences on an issue, extra-small agencies (1–24 sworn) were usually the outlier.

The consistency in positions across agency size bodes well for identifying best practices in body-worn camera policy.

Read the full report here.

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