Research

Resources about Research on BWCs and Related Issues

Body-worn cameras and transparency: Experimental evidence of inconsistency in police executive decision-making

Body-worn cameras (BWC) have diffused rapidly throughout policing as a means of promoting transparency and accountability. Yet, whether to release BWC footage to the public remains largely up to the discretion of police executives, and we know little about how they interpret and respond to BWC footage – particularly footage involving critical incidents.

The Effects of Body-Worn Cameras on Violent Police Victimization

Body-worn cameras (BWCs) have been presented as a technological innovation to cultivate greater civility in police–citizen interactions. Attempts have been made to clarify the impact of BWCs upon various policing outcomes, but the effects of BWCs on assaults against police has received scant research attention. Existing studies have been limited to a handful of jurisdictions with limited generalizability to a broader range of police organizations.

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.

Police Body Cameras: What Have We Learned Over Ten Years of Deployment?

In January of 2020, the National Police Foundation (NPF), in partnership with Arnold Ventures, co-sponsored a one-day conference, “Police Body-Worn Cameras: What Have We Learned Over Ten Years of Deployment?” This forum explored what we have learned about body cameras—both through scientific research and law enforcement practice—in the years since their deployment, as well as considerations for future implementation.

Effects of police body‐worn cameras on citizen compliance and cooperation: Findings from a quasi‐randomized controlled trial

This study tests the effect of body‐worn cameras (BWCs) on stopped drivers’ perceptions of complying with police directives, obeying traffic laws, and cooperating with the police. A quasi‐randomized controlled trial was conducted with drivers stopped at routine traffic checkpoints. Drivers in the treatment group encountered police officers wearing BWCs, and drivers in the control group encountered police officers without BWCs. Surveys were administered after the stop.

Attitudinal Changes Toward Body-Worn Cameras: Perceptions of Cameras, Organizational Justice, and Procedural Justice Among Volunteer and Mandated Officers

Little is known about officer perceptions of body-worn cameras (BWCs), and whether perceptions change following implementation within their agencies. BWC deployment varies, with some agencies mandating officers to wear BWCs and others using volunteers. Researchers have yet to assess attitudinal differences between volunteers and mandated officers. This study addresses these gaps using data from an evaluation of BWCs in the Phoenix Police Department to examine officer perceptions of the utility of BWCs, perceptions of organizational justice, and support for using procedural justice.

The distribution of police use of force across patrol and specialty units: a case study in BWC impact

The objective of this study was to examine differences in use of force by police patrol and specialized units, and the impact of body-worn cameras (BWCs) on use of force in these groups. We used administrative data from the Tempe (AZ) Police Department collected during a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of BWCs. t tests of means and ARIMA models were constructed to analyze unit-level variation in use of force. We found that Tempe officers in specialized units use substantially more force than patrol officers.

Body-Worn Cameras in Community Supervision

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).

Making Sense of the Increasingly Mixed Research on Body-Worn Cameras (BWCs)

Over the past five years, the number of research studies on BWCs has exploded, from just five in 2014 to nearly 120 as of December 2019. The studies address numerous outcomes including use of force and citizen complaints, officer and citizen perceptions, court outcomes, and officer activity measures (e.g., arrests and self-initiated calls). Some utilize “gold standard” randomized controlled trials (RCTs), whereas others use less rigorous methods.