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Police Officer Perceptions of Body Worn Cameras

Description

In the wake of in-custody deaths of civilians at the hands of police officers, body-worn cameras (BWCs) have entered the national conversation as a possible tool to increase officer accountability,

In the wake of in-custody deaths of civilians at the hands of police officers, body-worn cameras (BWCs) have entered the national conversation as a possible tool to increase officer accountability, build trust, and potentially prevent these incidents. Current research looks promising, as rates of complaints filed against officers tend to drop after BWCs are implemented; however, any research surrounding the subject is still new and there are few existing empirical studies that focus on BWCs. The success or failure of BWC pilot programs going forward will have a large influence on future law enforcement policy and officer-citizen interactions. In this study, surveys were administered to officers from the Spokane, WA Police Department throughout 2015 and the Tempe, AZ Police Department from 2015 to 2016. The surveys gathered officer opinions on a range of issues, such as how they believe citizens and officers will act in the presence of a BWC, their use in completing incident reports, and their role in collecting and presenting evidence. This paper examines current police officers' views on BWCs, their possible benefits and setbacks, and how their implementation might factor into law enforcement practices.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12