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Examining Body‐Worn Camera Integration and Acceptance Among Police Officers, Citizens, and External Stakeholders [2018]

Research Summary
We explore integration and acceptance of body‐worn cameras (BWCs) among police, citizens, and stakeholders in one jurisdiction (Tempe, AZ) that adhered to the U.S. Department of Justice’s (U.S. DOJ’s) BWC Implementation Guide. We assess integration and acceptance through (a) officer surveys pre‐ and postdeployment, (b) interviews with citizens who had recent police encounters, and (c) interviews with external stakeholders. We also analyze (d) officer self‐initiated contacts, (e) misdemeanor court case time to disposition, and (f) case outcomes. We found high levels of BWC acceptance across all groups. Officer proactivity remained consistent. Time‐to‐case disposition and the rate of guilty outcomes both trended in positive directions.

Policy Implications
Although the results of early research on BWCs showed positive impacts, the findings from recent studies have been mixed. Implementation difficulties may explain the mixed results. Planning, implementation, and management of a BWC program are complex undertakings requiring significant resources. The technology also generates controversy, so the risk of implementation failure is substantial. The findings from our study demonstrate that adherence to the U.S. DOJ BWC Implementation Guide can lead to high levels of integration and acceptance among key stakeholders.

Michael D. White Natalie Todak Janne E. Gaub

Criminology & Public Policy, Volume 17, Issue 3, August 2018

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