Police Body Cameras Have No Impact on Officer Behavior
Police Body Cameras Have No Impact on Officer Behavior
An Austin police officer demonstrates body cameras last week
22 October, 2017, 00:35
The study explains that after two years of data collection, the cameras "had no detectable, meaningful effect on documented uses of force or civilian complaints".
There are now no state laws regarding a general policy of use for body-worn cameras in law enforcement, nor any laws dealing with the length of time law enforcement should store the videos. These included that study outcomes reflect increased awareness between colleagues of who is wearing a camera and who isn't, the unique nature of policing in the nation's capital, as well as misuse of the cameras by officers.
Some law enforcement officers in South Dakota are getting body cameras thanks to a $300,000 grant.
"They're hiring the right people; they've got good training; they've got good supervision; they've got good accountability mechanisms in place", White says.
The cameras also raise questions of surveillance and privacy. The answer will likely vary from department to department.
The federal government has provided police departments with $40 million for body cameras and state and local governments have contributed significant dollars to them as well. "If cameras don't decrease use of force, don't decrease the number of misconduct complaints and don't change officer behavior, then what are we adopting cameras for?" Between June 2015 and March 2017, D.C. police randomly assigned over 2,200 individual officers to wear body cameras or not.
"It's going to be a win-win for both the officers and the citizens because now we're going to have a fully recorded interaction, whether it be a traffic stop or a suspect stop or investigating a crime".
The full results of the study can be found here. "Particularly for officers - and this is the exception - who might be more inclined to misbehave".
"Police departments have been rushing to body cameras without sufficiently deciding what the goal is", said Seth Stoughton, a former officer and a law professor at the University of SC.
One 2012 study in Rialto, California, suggested the body cameras have a "calming" effect. "As we conclude this comprehensive study, we will recommit ourselves to always evaluating what works -and what does not- to better serve our residents and creating a safer, stronger DC".
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