Many people know Wichita, Kansas, as the “air capital of the world,” or as the birthplace of both White Castle and Pizza Hut. Wyatt Earp also worked as a Wichita police officer long before the famed 1881 shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. More recently, we recognize Wichita as an early adopter and innovator of police body-worn cameras (BWCs).
Resources about Privacy and Related Issues
Part II: The Role of Body-Worn Cameras (BWCs) in Recent Public Protests in Smaller Agencies: Benefits, Challenges and Solutions Webinar
It is important to acknowledge that the implementation of body-worn cameras (BWCs) affects various operations and administration, as well as internal and external stakeholders, in significant ways. We are in a critical time in history where this technology can assist law enforcement agencies during protests and other First Amendment events.
Part I: The Role of Body-Worn Cameras (BWCs) in Recent Public Protests in Larger Agencies: Benefits, Challenges and Solutions
Arizona State University (ASU), a BWC TTA project partner, conducted a survey asking BWC PIP sites about their experiences with the recent protests, the value that BWCs added, challenges and problems each agency experienced, and solutions their agency implemented to overcome those challenges and problems.
The Camden County, New Jersey, Police Department began its body-worn camera (BWC) program in 2015 with a pilot program. Camden County received its first Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) BWC Policy and Implementation (PIP) grant in 2016 and a second BWC grant in 2017. The agency employs around 650 employees, including 450 sworn officers, and is responsible for providing preventive and reactive policing services for the residents of Camden City, which covers 8.9 square miles and serves a population of 78,000.
The ‘Big Brother’ fear can be very challenging for deputies, police, and, correctional officers to overcome when their actions are being recorded and displayed to the community upon request. This fear for officers/deputies includes sometimes unfounded fears of being caught, someone always watching, and their actions being made public for everyone to see all of the time. This webinar provided insights and experiences regarding how law enforcement agencies and their officers and deputies wearing body-worn cameras overcame the ‘Big Brother’ fear.
Video technology has been an important public safety tool for decades. From the earliest closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems in correctional facilities to in-dash cameras in police vehicles, video technology has been used to deter criminal behavior, document encounters or behaviors of interest, and to investigate and solve crimes. The current iteration of video technology in public safety is body-worn cameras (BWC). The use of BWCs dates back to 2005 when small-scale tests were conducted in police departments in the United Kingdom (Goodall, 2007).
Body-worn cameras (BWCs) have spread rapidly to municipal and collegiate police agencies across the country. The research and guidance on BWCs, however, has focused primarily on their implementation in municipal agencies. To date, only one study assesses their use in a collegiate setting. Though collegiate agencies are similar to municipal agencies in many ways, there are important differences between a college campus setting and a traditional town, city, or county.
In late August, a Texas jury convicted former Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver of the murder of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. The uncommon verdict largely rested on footage of the incident captured on Oliver’s body camera, technology the city’s police department implemented in 2015. As more law enforcement agencies nationwide use police body-worn cameras, states are developing and refining policy guidance.
Despite relatively little extant research, efforts to expand the use of body-worn cameras (BWCs) in policing are increasing. Although recent research suggests positive impacts of BWCs on reducing police use-of-force and citizen complaints, little is known about community members’ perceptions of BWCs. The current study examined perceptions of residents of two Florida counties and found a large majority of respondents supported the use of BWCs. Structural equation modeling was utilized to examine factors that influence views of BWCs.