Body Cameras and Police

Source: Police Quarterly, Vol. 19 no. 3, September 2016
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Public Perceptions of the Justifiability of Police Shootings: The Role of Body Cameras in a Pre- and Post-Ferguson Experiment
Scott E. Culhane, John H. Boman IV, and Kimberly Schweitzer, Police Quarterly, Vol. 19 no. 3, September 2016
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From the abstract:
We conducted two studies, wherein participants from across the United States watched, heard, or read the transcript of an actual police shooting event. The data for Study 1 were collected prior to media coverage of a widely publicized police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. Results indicated that participants who could hear or see the event were significantly more likely to perceive the shooting was justified than they were when they read a transcript of the encounter. Shortly after the events in Ferguson, Missouri, we replicated the first study, finding quite different results. Although dissatisfaction with the shooting was seen in all forms of presentation, video evidence produced the highest citizen perceptions of an unjustified shooting and audio evidence produced the least. Citizens were nonetheless overwhelmingly favorable to requiring police to use body cameras. Body-mounted cameras with high-quality audio capabilities are recommended for police departments to consider.

Officer Perceptions of Body-Worn Cameras Before and After Deployment: A Study of Three Departments
Source: Janne E. Gaub, David E. Choate, Natalie Todak, Charles M. Katz, and Michael D. White, Police Quarterly, Vol. 19 no. 3, September 2016
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From the abstract:
Over the past few years, several events have highlighted the strained relationship between the police and residents in many communities. Police officer body-worn cameras (BWCs) have been advocated as a tool by which police–community relations can be strengthened, while simultaneously increasing transparency and accountability of police departments. Support for BWCs from the public and federal government is strong, and some studies have examined police perceptions of BWCs. However, comparisons of officer perceptions of BWCs in different departments are lacking, as are assessments of officer attitudes pre- and post-BWC deployment. This study compares officer perceptions of BWCs in three police departments in the western United States between 2013 and 2015, both before and after BWC program implementation. The similarities and differences among officer perceptions across departments are examined, and the authors consider the implications of findings for police departments moving forward with BWC technology.

Assessing the Impact of Police Body-Worn Cameras on Arresting, Prosecuting, and Convicting Suspects of Intimate Partner Violence
Source: Weston J. Morrow, Charles M. Katz, and David E. Choate, Police Quarterly, Vol. 19 no. 3, September 2016
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From the abstract:
The perceived benefits that generally accompany body-worn cameras (BWCs) include the ability to increase transparency and police legitimacy, improve behavior among both police officers and citizens, and reduce citizen complaints and police use of force. Less established in the literature, however, is the value of BWCs to aid in the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of intimate partner violence (IPV) offenders. We attempt to fill that void by examining the effect of pre- and post-camera deployment on a number of outcomes related to arrest, prosecution, and conviction. The findings provide initial evidence for the utility of BWCs in IPV cases. When compared with posttest non-camera cases, posttest camera cases were more likely to result in an arrest, have charges filed, have cases furthered, result in a guilty plea, and result in a guilty verdict at trial. These results have several implications for policing, prosecuting, and convicting IPV cases.

Increasing Cooperation With the Police Using Body Worn Cameras
Source: Barak Ariel, Police Quarterly, Vol. 19 no. 3, September 2016
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From the abstract:
What can change the willingness of people to report crimes? A 6-month study in Denver investigated whether Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) can change crime-reporting behavior, with treatment-officers wearing BWCs patrolling targeted street segments, while control officers patrolled the no-treatment areas without BWCs. Stratified street segments crime densities were used as the units of analysis, in order to measure the effect on the number of emergency calls in target versus control street segments. Repeated measures ANOVAs and subgroup analyses suggest that BWCs lead to greater willingness to report crimes to the police in low crime density level residential street segments, but no discernable differences emerge in hotspot street segments. Variations in reporting are interpreted in terms of accountability, legitimacy, or perceived utility caused by the use of BWCs. Situational characteristics of the street segments explain why low-level street segments are affected by BWCs, while in hotspots no effect was detected.

Research on Body Worn Cameras: Meeting the Challenges of Police Operations, Program Implementation, and Randomized Controlled Trial Designs
William H. Sousa, James R. Coldren, Jr., Denise Rodriguez, and Anthony A. Braga, Police Quarterly, Vol. 19 no. 3, September 2016
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From the abstract:
As police departments across the United States equip officers with body worn cameras (BWCs), research has focused on the technology’s impact on police interactions with citizens, officer misconduct, officer use of force, and false allegations against police. Given the large number of police agencies implementing BWCs across the country (numbering in the thousands), there will be a growing number of opportunities for BWC evaluations and expectations that these programs will be evaluated. Studying the implementation of BWCs presents a number of challenges to both researchers and police agencies, particularly when large police organizations are involved. Drawing on our experiences involving a BWC experiment with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, this article discusses the programmatic challenges of implementing a BWC program in a large agency (technical, political, and administrative) while simultaneously evaluating the program using a randomized controlled trial design.