External Stakeholder Perceptions of BWCs

What Happens Downstream? External Stakeholder Perceptions of Police Body-Worn Cameras


Arizona State University, Center for Violence Prevention and Community Service


Natalie Todak, Janne E. Gaub, and Michael D. White

External stakeholders’ acceptance of a police innovation shapes how it spreads and impacts the larger criminal justice system. Therefore, a lack of support among external stakeholders for BWCs can short-circuit their intended benefits. Existing research studies have, however, focused on the implications of BWCs for police officers and the citizens with whom they come into direct contact. As such, there is little direction for agencies concerning the perceptions and concerns about BWCs from others who are affected by a department’s decision to implement a new program.

The current study addressed this lack of guidance by identifying a range of stakeholders in two U.S. cities where the police department had recently implemented a BWC program. This report reviews findings from in-depth interviews and focus groups with 42 external stakeholders, investigating their perceptions of the technology and its impact on their daily work practices. The sample ranges from courtroom actors (judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and investigators in those offices) to professionals who work cooperatively with police in the field (e.g., fire/rescue and mental health), city leaders, members of civilian oversight review boards, and crime victim advocates. The report concludes by offering suggestions for agencies on how to best plan and implement a BWC program in ways that meet the needs of all stakeholders. Below is a review of the study’s key findings and recommendations.

To read the entire study, click here