Officer Perceptions of Body-Worn Cameras: Directory of Outcomes

Officer Perceptions of Body-Worn Cameras: Directory of Outcomes

Source

BWC TTA (2020)

Authors

Dr. Janne E. Gaub, Dr. Jessica Huff, Dr. Michael D. White, and Dr. Aili Malm

Introduction 
The research base on the impact of police body-worn cameras (BWCs) has grown rapidly, and over time, the results have become increasingly mixed. This development poses two problems: 
 

1. It is difficult to keep track of the quickly growing evidence base. 

2. It is difficult to make sense of the sometimes competing findings across studies. 

 

Moreover, studies can vary widely in terms of their methodological rigor. We have developed the Body-Worn Camera Outcome Directories to address these two problems. The Directories provide a comprehensive, up-to-date overview of the existing research by outcome (use of force, citizen complaints, officer activity, officer perceptions). More detailed instructions for interpreting the directories are included in each document. 

 

The directory of studies examining officer perceptions of BWCs is available below.  If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Michael White (mdwhite1@asu.edu), Dr. Janne Gaub (jgaub@uncc.edu), or the BWC TTA Team (bwctta@cna.org).

 

Officer Perception Directory

 

Summary of the Officer Perception Directory (2/20/20)

 

General

There are 32 entries in the directory. A wide range of methods were employed in those entries, with in-person surveys (13) and online surveys (10) being the most common. Sixteen entries examined patrol officer perceptions only, and 13 examined a mix of officer ranks/units. Eight were conducted pre-deployment, and 10 were conducted post-deployment. Thirteen entries examined officer perceptions both pre- and post-deployment. The entries cover officer perceptions on a wide range of topics. The table and text below provides a quick summary of the findings from the entries.

 

  1. Officers have positive overall attitudes about BWCs. Entries also show positive perceptions about evidentiary value and court outcomes, the impact of BWCs on police/community relations, and the impact on citizen complaints.

 

  1. The entries show negative perceptions about the impact of BWCs on citizen resistance, officer use of force, and their ability to use discretion.

 

  1. The entries show mixed or neutral perceptions about the impact of BWCs on officer safety, citizen cooperation/respect, and the number of citizen contacts, as well as ease of use/comfort.

More detail on each topic is below.

 

Topic

Positive Perceptions

Negative Perceptions

Mixed/Neutral Perceptions

Overall Perceptions

X

 

 

Evidence Quality

X

 

 

Court Outcomes

X

 

 

Police/Community Relations

X

 

 

Citizen Complaints

X

 

 

Officer Safety

 

 

X

Easy to Use/Comfortable

 

 

X

Citizen Behavior

 

 

 

     Cooperation/Respect

 

 

X

     Aggression/Resistance

 

X

 

Officer Behavior

 

 

 

     Citizen Contacts

 

 

X

     Discretion

 

X

 

     Use of Force

 

X

 

     Arrests

-

-

-

  

 

Overall perceptions

Twenty-three of the 32 entries provide an overall measure of officer perceptions regarding BWCs. Of the 23, 13 reported positive perceptions (57%), six reported negative perceptions (26%), and four reported neutral/mixed perceptions (17%). 

 

Evidence Quality

Sixteen of the 32 entries reported an overall measure for evidence quality provided by BWCs. Out of the 16 that reported a measure, 14 of those reported positive perceptions (87.5%). Just 2 reported neutral or mixed perceptions (12.5%). There were no negative perceptions towards the evidentiary quality of BWCs.

 

Court Outcomes

Of the 32 entries, just 9 reported officer perceptions regarding court outcomes. Seven of the 9 reported positive perceptions on BWCs’ impact on court outcomes (78%). The other two reported neutral/mixed officer perceptions on BWCs’ impact on court outcomes (22%).

 

Police/Community Relations

Thirteen of the 32 entries report officer perceptions on BWCs impact on police/community relations. Of the 13, 8 report positive perceptions (62%), 3 report neutral/mixed perceptions (23%), and 2 report negative perceptions (15%).

 

Citizen Complaints

Twenty-three of the 32 entries reported a measure of officer perceptions on BWCs impact on citizen complaints. Of the 23, 14 reported positive perceptions (61%), 5 reported negative perceptions (22%), and four reported neutral/mixed perceptions (17%).

 

Officer Safety

Twenty of the 32 entries reported officer perceptions of BWCs impact on officer safety. Of the 20 entries, eleven reported negative perceptions (55%), six reported neutral/mixed perceptions (30%), and three studies reported positive perceptions (15%)

 

Easy to Use/Comfortable

Of the 32 studies, 12 reported officer perceptions regarding the comfort-level and accessibility for BWCs. Seven of the 12 report positive perceptions (58%), three report negative perceptions (25%), and two report neutral/mixed perceptions (17%).

 

Citizen Behavior

Cooperation/Respect

Twenty-one of the 32 entries reported officer perceptions of citizen cooperation/respect. Of the 21, ten studies report negative perceptions (48%), six report positive perceptions (28%), and five report neutral/mixed perceptions (24%)

 

Aggression/Resistance

Of the 32 entries, 13 reported an overall measure of BWCs impact on citizens’ aggression/resistance. Of the 13, eight reported negative perceptions (62%), four reported neutral perceptions (31%), and one reported positive perceptions (7%).

 

Officer Behavior

Citizen Contacts

Seventeen of the 32 entries reported officer perceptions of the BWCs impact of the quality of citizen encounters. Of the 17, seven reported positive perceptions (41%), five reported neutral perceptions (29%), and five reported negative perceptions (29%).

 

Discretion

Fourteen of the 32 entries reported officer perceptions of the BWCs impact on their discretion. Nine of the 14 reported negative perceptions (64%), four reported neutral perceptions (29%), and one reported positive perceptions (7%).

 

Use of Force

Of the 32 entries, 18 reported officer perceptions regarding BWCs impact on the officers’ use of force. Eleven of the 18 reported negative perceptions (61%), four reported positive perceptions (22%), and three reported neutral perceptions (17%).

 

Arrests

Only 2 of the 32 entries reported officer perceptions for the impact of BWCs on arrests. One reported positive perceptions and the other reported neutral perceptions.