Police BWCs as ‘Neutral Observers’: Perceptions of public defenders
Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice (2020)
The research on police body-worn cameras (BWCs) has rapidly expanded to evaluate the technology’s impact on a range of police outcomes. Far fewer studies have addressed the various effects on downstream criminal justice actors, and those that do have focused almost entirely on prosecutors. Thus, public defenders have remained on the periphery of the police BWC discussion, despite playing an important role as an end-user of the technology. This study draws on qualitative data from focus groups with public defenders in the Commonwealth of Virginia to discuss the perception of BWCs as neutral observers in a police–citizen encounter. We then provide implications and recommend avenues for future research.
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