Police Body Cameras

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Literature Review Some of the biggest issues in policing are the topics related to police behavior in police departments all around the United States. For various reasons, police departments have had to implement technologies into policing to reduce the number of incidents, complaints, and criticisms between civilians and officers. The implementation of body cameras on police officers is a strategy used by agencies to avoid outrages and criticism, increase accountability, and deter violent behavior of both officers and civilians. Multiple studies in the United States conducted within the last ten years show varying results and of the use of body cameras in police departments. Studies on Body Camera Usage in Police Departments by the National…show more content…
Research shows that 95% of all large police departments have BWC programs in their departments. The extension of BWC programs are due pushed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Campaign Zero, and Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) to improve policing in the country. The reason for an increase in the use of BWC in departments is due to officer involved shootings and incidents in which bystanders recorded events and later posted the videos on social media. A theory on the effects of body cameras states that police officers and civilians behave differently on when being recorded than they would off film. This theory suggests that when a person is being watched, crime reduces, honesty is encouraged, and work productivity is increased. For officers, body cameras are used to encourage officers to follow department policies and deter the officers from engaging in misconduct, unethical behavior, and in instances of unjustified use of force. For civilians, being recorded during a police contact can prevent them from engaging in violent acts towards other civilians or police officers. Altogether, body cameras can be used to prevent cases of police misconduct, to deescalate situations, and be used as evidence in criminal investigations (David Yokum,…show more content…
Another theory states that BWC can increase uses of force in police departments. If an officer believes that there is an opportunity to use force, when it is not completely necessary, he or she will know that based on body camera evidence they can use force and not be punished for it. To study whether body cameras have positive or negative effects, police departments have applied the use of Randomized Controlled Trails (RCTs) in random shifts to compare the behavior of the officers with body cameras officers without body cameras in a shift. RCTs in European police departments found mixed results in the use of force of police officers and that the use of body cameras reduced the amount of reported grievances on police officers. The effects of body cameras depend on the context of the situation, such as the severity of the case they are handling, motivation, and body camera accountability (Doleac,
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