Key Trends in Body-Worn Camera Policies

Key Trends in Body-Worn Camera Policy and Practice: A Six-Year Policy Analysis of US Department of Justice-Funded Law Enforcement Agencies


Body-Worn Camera Training and Technical Assistance


Michael D. White, Ph.D., Carlena Orosco, Ph.D., Aili Malm, Ph.D.

The CNA Corporation, Arizona State University (ASU), and Justice and Security Strategies, Inc. (JSS) provide training and technical assistance (TTA) to law enforcement agencies who have received funding for body-worn cameras (BWCs) through the US Department of Justice (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) BWC Policy and Implementation Program (PIP). Administrative policy review is a central feature of the TTA provided to the PIP sites. The TTA team developed a policy review process and BWC Policy Review Scorecard to assess the comprehensiveness of BWC policies. This report describes the results of an analysis of 447 policies from fiscal year (FY) 2015–2020 grantees that had their BWC policy scorecards approved through this process. Through review of the 447 agency policies, we identified key BWC policy trends across 11 important BWC issues. Several of the trends involve substantial policy differences between agencies funded in different years.

Click here to read the report.

Addendum: Does Agency Size Matter?

This report serves as an addendum to our extensive four-year policy analysis report

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) Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation (PIP) Program 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.