Contentious debate is currently taking place regarding the extent to which public scrutiny of the police post-Ferguson has led to depolicing or to a decrease in proactive policework. Advocates of the “Ferguson effect” claim the decline in proactive policing increased violent crime and assaults on the police. Although police body-worn cameras (BWCs) are touted as a police reform that can generate numerous beneﬁts, they also represent a form of internal and public surveillance on the police.
In 2017, the Fairfax County (Virginia) Police Department, known as FCPD, decided to launch a pilot implementation of body-worn cameras (BWCs) to learn what the technology involved, the response of its officers to it, what community members and local organization leaders would think, and the changes in policing practices and outcomes that would occur. Some police agencies in the Metropolitan Washington, DC area had already adopted BWCs and there was a push nation-wide to implement them quickly in the face of numerous high-proﬁle and controversial interactions between police and citizens.
Considering BWC Costs and Benefits
Body-worn cameras (BWCs) have become a popular technology for use in police forces around the world; however, little is known about the effects of this technology on policing and on the criminal justice system more generally. In this article, we discuss reported benefits and limitations of body-worn cameras. We examine the current evidence-base for BWCs and the legislative framework in NSW.
Body-worn cameras provide officers with a reliable and compact tool to systematically and automatically record their field observations and encounters. They can be used for documentation purposes, to include interactions with victims, witnesses, and others during police-public encounters; arrests; and critical incidents. These documents provide items for agencies to consider when developing their own body-worn cameras programs.
To read the documents, click here.
The New Orleans, Louisiana, Police Department provided examples of its Stops, Searches, Arrests, Use of Force, and Procedural Justice Audit Form and Use of Force Reporting and Force Statements Audit Form to assist agencies interested in implementing similar audit and reporting practices.
To view the New Orleans Stops, Searches, Arrests, Use of Force, and Procedural Justice Audit Form, click here.