The Impacts of Body‑Worn Cameras: An Examination of Police Specialty Unit Perceptions through Diffusion of Innovations
American Journal of Criminal Justice (2021)
The present study analyzed data from 39 semi-structured interviews with specialized unit officers from one mid- and one small-sized police department in the United States. The data indicates that specialty unit officers perceived body-worn cameras in terms of the costs and consequences of the technology, which aligns with the diffusion of innovations paradigm. These officers had differential views of the costs of BWCs and the capabilities and uses of BWCs compared to patrol officers. These findings urge further investigation into the costs and consequences of body-worn cameras on specialty units, as well as an exploration into the impact of the technology’s technical capabilities. If there are key differences between specialty units and patrol officers in perceptions of the cameras, policy regarding the technology may be best if it can address these differences in order to maximize the benefits of the technology.
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