Article

Picture This: Body Worn Video Devices ('Head Cams') as Tools for Ensuring Fourth Amendment Compliance by Police

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Abstract

A new technology has emerged with the potential to increase police compliance with the law and to increase officers’ accountability for their conduct. Called “body worn video” (BWV) or “head cams,” these devices are smaller, lighter versions of the video and audio recording systems mounted on the dash boards of police cars. These systems are small enough that they consist of something the size and shape of a cellular telephone earpiece, and are worn by police officers the same way. Recordings are downloaded directly from the device into a central computer system for storage and indexing, which protects them from tampering and assures a defensible chain of custody. This article explores the good that BWV can do for both the police and members of the public, particularly how these recordings might play a role in assuring that officers comply with Fourth Amendment search and seizure rules. Field tests of BWV in Britain have shown that police used the devices to keep records and record evidence, and that the devices were a uniquely effective bulwark against false complaints. Coupled with a requirement that every citizen encounter involving a search or seizure be recorded, and a presumption that without a recording the factfinder must draw inferences in favor of the defendant, BWV can help resolve disputes over search and seizure activities, and give the public a heretofore unattainable degree of assurance that police officers enforcing the law obey it as they do so. While BWV is certainly no panacea, and presents significant issues of tampering and reliability, it can help bring accountability and rule following to an aspect of police behavior that has largely proven resistant to it.

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... To some extent the term "body-worn cameras" has become virtually synonymous with "accountability." Proponents of body-worn cameras purport that they can be used to hold officers accountable for their behavior by making their actions more transparent to others (Coudert et al., 2015;Cubitt, Lesic, Myers, & Corry, 2017;Harris, 2010;Ortiz, 2018;Tankebe & Ariel, 2016;White, 2014;Scheindlin & Manning, 2015) and therefore officers become more self-aware (Ariel et al., 2016b). The assumption is that the "awareness of being videotaped leads to transparency, and transparency leads to accountability; ergo, greater awareness leads to increased police accountability (Ariel et al., 2016b, p. 305)". ...
... The more compatible an innovation, the more likely that innovation is to be adopted by social entities (Rogers, 2003). In the case of body-worn cameras, this technology addresses a need for police agencies who seek to improve transparency and community relations in an environment that has been critical of the police (Coudert et al., 2015;Cubitt et al., 2017;Harris, 2010;Tankebe & Ariel, 2016;White, 2014). Research suggest that citizens are generally in favor of police body-worn cameras whether they are community stakeholders or "frequent-flyers" (Taylor, Lee, Willis, & Gannoni, 2017;Todak, Gaub, & White, 2018) as the presence of the cameras (if recording) make citizen encounters more transparent and thus can help ensure that individual, citizen rights are protected (Koen et al., 2018;White et al., 2017). ...
... arrest, citations, verbal warning). Within the context of police decision making, the body-worn camera research has been primarily centered around how these devices impact officers' decisions to use-force, make arrests, write citations, and attentiveness of citizens' rights, and professionalism (Harris 2010;Pew Research Center, 2017;Ready & Young 2015;Voight et al., 2017;White 2014). While this literature has made invaluable contributions to the collective understanding of body-worn cameras given that patrol officers are the gate-keepers of the system, the current study was centered around learning from the officers themselves how, if at all, they felt body cameras had changed the way they exercised their discretion in day-to-day encounters with the public. ...
... The current perception held by some in the public about police behavior is troubling. The need to confirm police conduct through video recordings seems to be an indictment of poor police behavior, which is disappointing because community-based policing has advanced police legitimacy over the years (COPS, 2014;White 2013;Harris, 2010Schellenberg, 2000. ...
... Some criminal justice administrators had trouble believing suspects would provide consent to search when they possessed a trunk full of narcotics and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Awareness expanded to racial profiling and recent high profile cases depicted in the media (Albright et al., 2004) Because of smartphone technology police are now routinely captured on video (COPS, 2014;White, 2013;Harris, 2010;Blum, 2002). Today, we see it sensationalized via the media. ...
... If the police are aware they are being observed, then they are more apt to adhere to policies, rules and social norms Ramirez, 2014;Harris, 2010). From a specific and general deterrence theory, most poor behavior seems to be deterred by the perception of swiftness and certainty of punishment . ...
Thesis
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This paper explores the impact video recordings have on policing strategies. Improved police legitimacy, professionalism, transparency, innovation and crime reduction efficiency were seen with body worn (BWC) and in-car camera policies. Privacy and mistrust were concerns for both police and the public. Closed circuit television (CCTV) assisted with crime reduction when coupled with human effort; however, controverting data revealed it only displaced crime. License plate readers (LPR) exponentially assisted in investigations. However, despite the perceived benefits, policies must be considered with clear goals that consistently consider the holistic human experience. Police video recordings have documented limitations and consequences that criminal justice administrators should consider as technology in the 21st century catches up with community mandates. The research examined BWC projects at Rialto, Vallejo, Phoenix and Mesa Police Departments. For instance, the data in the Rialto Police Department body-camera one year study revealed that use of force complaints dropped by 59% and citizen complaints by 88% compared to control samples. In addition, the effectiveness of CCTV and LPR'S were examined in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Wichita and Newark. In all of the studies-the human experience was an important factor in the effectiveness of video recordings of policing strategies. Without clear and direct policies, and if the police were given the latitude to activate, the data showed that they typically would not activate BWC from the outset of a citizen contact. Keywords: police body-worn cameras, police in-car cameras, discretionary versus mandatory activation
... The use of body-worn cameras and their ability to provide a detailed visual and audio record of what transpired during an incident compared to what an officer recalls later in a police report also has significant legal implications (Harris, 2010). Almost all the studies on the relationship between body-worn cameras and the legal domain consist of legal analysis rather than empirical research, so much of what we discuss here awaits a more thorough assessment (Lum et al., 2015). ...
... Similar to past technologies, such as the patrol car and two-way radio, it is important that policymakers, police practitioners, and court actors recognize that these cameras will create new problems that will need to be addressed (Harris, 2010). Fortunately, the many ongoing research projects funded by both the federal government and private foundations promise to deliver results that can help improve police policy and practice. ...
... Decreased resistance and less use of force reduces officer and citizen injuries and the likelihood of complaints (Ariel, Farrar, & Sutherland, 2015;Ariel et al., 2016aAriel et al., , 2016bCoudert et al., 2015;Ellis, Jenkins, & Smith, 2015;Grossmith et al., 2015;Jennings, Fridell, & Lynch, 2014;Jennings, Lynch, & Fridell, 2015;Katz, Choate, Ready, & Nuňo, 2014;Miller et al., 2014). BWCs also provide a means of holding officers accountable for their words and actions, and ensuring compliance with legal search, seizure, and evidence collection procedures (Harris, 2010), concerns that marginalized groups of citizens and Civil Rights groups, such as the America Civil Liberties Union, may appreciate (Ariel et al., 2016a;Bud, 2016;Coudert et al., 2015;Ellis et al., 2015;Grossmith et al., 2015;Miller et al., 2014;Scheindlin & Manning, 2015;Taylor, 2016). Such outcomes have the potential to positively impact community perceptions of the police organization as a whole (Ariel, 2016;Coudert et al., 2015;Ellis et al., 2015;Grossmith et al., 2015;Miller et al., 2014). ...
... BWCs permit recording of responses to calls for service and the documentation of crime scenes, including victim and suspect statements, in the immediate aftermath (Coudert et al., 2015;White, 2014). Some advocates also suggest that BWCs may increase officer compliance with Fourth Amendment search and seizure rules (Harris, 2010;White, 2014). ...
Article
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There has been an increase in the adoption of body-worn cameras (BWCs) by law enforcement agencies in the United States and abroad. While several studies have showed promising results in officer satisfaction, community satisfaction, and other outcomes, the rationale for the adoption and diffusion of this technology has received little attention.This article suggests that agency adoption of BWCs can be understood through two competing theoretical frameworks: structural contingency theory and institutional theory. Intended as a research note, the paper sets up a number of testable propositions and hypotheses pertaining to BWCs as contextualized through these theories and measurable through the recent Law Enforcement Management Administrative Statistics-Body-Worn Camera Supplement.
... First, there are an increasing number of practitioners and researchers implementing or recommending experiential learning (EL) and reflective practice approaches as cornerstones of police education (Copley, 2011;Lauritz et al., 2013;Christopher, 2015a). Second, there has been a proliferation in the use of bodyworn video (BWV) devices in policing (Harris, 2010;Neyroud, 2013;Rieken, 2013;Ariel et al., 2014;Drover and Ariel, 2015;Ellis et al., 2015;Lum et al., 2015). Psychological and behavioural research and development based on first-person video capture and reflection on recording (e.g. ...
... Fleck and Fitzpatrick, 2009;Fleck, 2012;. In addition, BWV is increasingly becoming adopted by the police in a range of contexts and purposes (Harris, 2010;Rieken, 2013;Ariel et al., 2014;Jennings, Fridell, and Lynch, 2014;Drover and Ariel, 2015;Ellis et al., 2015;Lum et al., 2015). Some trial studies of BWV in the field have focused on the implementation of the technology and various benefits or consequences for operative police work (e.g Ariel et al., 2014;Owens et al., 2014;Grossmith et al., 2015). ...
Article
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This research article aims to add to current knowledge on reflection, body-worn video, and police education. It examines the potential effects of an intervention which employed subcams (a type of body-worn video) and replay interviews of video footage to enhance experiential learning during an operative training course for Norwegian police students in their final year of study. Our investigation examines evaluation surveys for differences between an intervention and comparison group on reflection and experiential learning outcomes. Findings indicate that students in the intervention group self-reported more general learning outcomes from the course concerning decision-making and communication and that they could identify their own mistakes to a greater degree. They also reported more learning outcomes as measured by the number of statements written about what they learned and would change to improve their performance on three different simulations. Moreover, the content of these statements reflected the intervention as they involved communication and decision-making to a greater degree than students in the comparison group. Implications for the further use of body-worn video to encourage reflection and enhance experiential learning in professional police training and development are discussed.
... It is difficult however to discern from numbers alone how cameras are impacting contestability. One trend that researchers have noted is police supervisors meeting with potential complainants to review body camera footage (see Guzik et al 2017;Harris 2010). This is an important development that speaks to how cameras might be affecting accountability practices. ...
... Anecdotal evidence suggests that these meetings help reduce complaints. Harris (2010) notes how "in a number of cases the complainants have reconsidered their complaint [sic] after this review," which is consistent with what police have told my colleagues and me (Guzik et al. 2017). Harris (2010, 42) perceives this as a "unequivocally, a good thing; if citizens can see that they were, perhaps, mistaken, or that they did not understand the situation from the officer's point of view, or that they did not have all the facts, they may come away with a better grasp of the situation, an feeling that they need not continue with the complaint process." ...
Chapter
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Policing scholars have suggested that policing may be undergoing “depolicing,” or an organizational slowdown as a consequence of enhanced technological surveillance apparatuses placed on officers. Do body-worn cameras (BWCs) cause de-policing because officers are continuously videotaped, which leads to slowdown, demoralization, or inertia? Rigorous evidence is presently scant. We conducted a test of BWCs on de-policing using a randomized crossover- controlled block design in the Republic of Uruguay. Our study suggests no indication of de-policing as a result of using BWCs. We conclude that BWCs do not appear to induce, intensify, or suppress deliberate slowdown. We argue that digital surveillance embodied in BWCs can lead to desirable heightened levels of police accountability and transparency, without the potential for inertia or slowdown, as some scholars have previously suggested.
... Further, the fact that the professors knew they were being recorded would in itself be an influence in striving for optimal performance. Video and audio recordings have been found to influence the behaviors of those who knew that they were being recorded and shown to improve the professionalism of those being recorded (Harris, 2010). These influences combined would lead a reasonable person to infer that some professors who may have been teaching at a sub-par level would step up their game to remain employed. ...
Article
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As new education media assets are collaged with diverse technologies, behavior, audiences, organizations, and policy, we witness the rise of the modern academic capture systems for recording of classroom audio, visuals, and video for immediate viewing and on-demand review. If practical and sustainable, academic capture systems may become a megatrend that will impact every role and stakeholder in the enormous social and political endeavor called education. Academic capture systems can address space management, access, and outreach while simultaneously offering new digital databases to visualize instruction, assess learning, and improve education management. Only academic capture systems with tasklessness will achieve the scale and returns on investment to unleash significant education value. With wide adoption across academia, stakeholders in teaching, learning, and administration should awaken to new economic and ethical issues associated with the emergence of academic capture. Transparent, accountable, and reasonable policies for academic capture, modeled on known best practices from fields like criminal justice, may avoid emergencies in the midst of capture emergence in education.
... In recent years, we have witnessed some upsetting conflicts between the law enforcement personnel and the public. Among many solutions proposed to deal with this problem is the use of body cameras [8]. A body camera is a wearable device that records video during an event and provides evidence about what happened during future investigations. ...
Conference Paper
Increasing deployment of body cameras by the law enforcement agencies makes us rethink the relation between the camera and the public. In contrast to current implementations of a body camera that use a power-hungry default configuration and can only be turned on and off by an officer, we propose an idea that the camera should be autonomous and active all the time. By leveraging the information from an on-board inertial measurement unit (IMU), these autonomous cameras should dynamically adjust their configuration in order to keep the device under the desired energy budget. To enable such a system, we propose a distributed adaptive model predictive controller for a system of body cameras, which allows the collaboration between multiple cameras which is currently not available in existing implementations.
... A recent review of the available evidence conducted by Lum et al. (2015) has shown that there are, currently, 12 existing empirical studies of BWCs and about 30 ongoing research projects (see also review by . While there were attempts to implement BWCs in policing nearly a decade ago (Goodall 2007;Harris 2010), evidence on their effectiveness has only surfaced in the last couple of years (see Lum 2015). Four of the studies employed randomized controlled trials (Ariel et al. 2014;Grossmith et al. 2015;Jennings et al. 2015;Owens et al. 2014), and others have used less robust designs (e.g., Ariel 2016). ...
Article
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OBJECTIVES: Our multisite randomized controlled trial reported that police body-worn cameras (BWCs) had, on average, no effect on recorded incidents of police use of force. In some sites, rates of use of force decreased and in others increased. We wanted to understand these counter-intuitive findings and report pre-specified sub group analyses related to officers' discretion on activating the BWCs. METHODS: Using pre-established criteria for experimental protocol breakdown in terms of treatment integrity, ten experimental sites were subgrouped into “high-compliance” (no officer discretion applied to when and where BWCs should be used; n=3), “no-compliance” (treatment integrity failure in both treatment and control conditions ; n=4), and tests where officers applied discretion during treatment group but followed protocol in control conditions only (n=4). RESULTS: When officers complied with the experimental protocol and did not use discretion, use of force rates were 37% lower {SMD = (−.346); SE = .137; 95% CI (−.614) – (−.077)}; when officers did not comply with treatment protocol (i.e. officers chose when to turn cameras on/off), use of force rates were 71% higher {SMD = .392; SE = .130; 95% CI (.136) – (.647)}, compared to control conditions. When full discretion (i.e., overall breakdown of protocol) was applied to both treatment and control conditions, null effects were registered {SMD = .009; SE = .070; 95% CI (−.127) – (.146)} – compared to control conditions. CONCLUSIONS : BWCs can reduce police use of force when then officers' discretion to turn cameras on or off is minimized — in terms of both case types as well as individual incidents. BWCs ought to be switched on and the recording announced to suspects at early stages of police–public interactions. Future BWCs tests should pay close attention to adherence to experimental protocols.
... In Renfrewshire, Aberdeen, and Plymouth, cases with BWC footage were more likely to be resolved with a guilty plea than go to trial (Goodall, 2007;ODS Consulting, 2011). Officers across the United Kingdom reported positive feedback regarding the use of footage in court, real-time evidence recording with far more accuracy, and a reduction in public order offenses and faster resolution of those that were committed (Goodall, 2007;Harris, 2010). ...
Article
Over the past few years, several events have highlighted the strained relationship between the police and residents in many communities. Police officer body-worn cameras (BWCs) have been advocated as a tool by which police–community relations can be strengthened, while simultaneously increasing transparency and accountability of police departments. Support for BWCs from the public and federal government is strong, and some studies have examined police perceptions of BWCs. However, comparisons of officer perceptions of BWCs in different departments are lacking, as are assessments of officer attitudes pre- and post-BWC deployment. This study compares officer perceptions of BWCs in three police departments in the western United States between 2013 and 2015, both before and after BWC program implementation. The similarities and differences among officer perceptions across departments are examined, and the authors consider the implications of findings for police departments moving forward with BWC technology.
... Whether it is commercial truck drivers, waste collectors, home-care workers, or nannies, a growing segment of the workforce operates under surveillance (Brown and Korczynski 2010, Brown 2011, Nagle 2013, Levy 2015, Snyder 2016. Recent calls for police officers to adopt body-worn video devices or "body cams" are only the latest illustration of this trend (Harris 2010, Ariel et al. 2015. ...
Article
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In the past few decades, the growth of surveillance has become a fixture of organizational life. Past scholarship has largely explained this growth as the result of traditional managerial demands for added control over workers, coupled with newly available cheap technology (such as closed-circuit televisions and body-worn cameras). We draw on the workplace resistance literature to complement these views by suggesting that workers can also drive such growth. More specifically, we show that workers under surveillance can feel constantly observed and seen, but they can also feel largely unnoticed as individuals by management. This paradoxical experience leads them to interpret the surveillance as coercive and to engage in invisibility practices to attempt to go unseen and remain unnoticed. Management, in turn, interprets these attempts as justification for more surveillance, which encourages workers to engage in even more invisibility practices, thus creating a self-fulfilling cycle of coercive surveillance. Our study therefore offers one of the first endogenous explanations for the growth of surveillance while also isolating unique forms of resistance attached to such surveillance.
... Individual officers become more accountable as BWCs accentuate the need for oversight and reflection on their own actions (Lumina, 2006;Reiner, 1993;Walsh & Conway, 2011). BWCs thus sit squarely within what D. A. Harris (2010) referred to as a "holistic" approach to police oversight, which "combines the traditional 'reactive' functions (i.e., tracking cases of individual misconduct) with 'proactive' functions designed to promote organizational changes that might reduce individual misconduct" (p. 240). ...
Article
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The use of body-worn cameras (BWCs) by the police is rising. One proposed effect of BWCs is reducing complaints against police, which assumes that BWCs reduce officer noncompliance with procedures, improve suspects? demeanor, or both, leading to fewer complaints. We report results from a global, multisite randomized controlled trial on whether BWC use reduces citizens? complaints. Seven discrete tests (N = 1,847 officers), with police shifts as the unit of analysis (N = 4,264), were randomly assigned into treatment and control conditions. Using a prospective meta-analytic approach, we found a 93% before?after reduction in complaint incidence (Z = ?3.234; p < .001), but no significant differences between trial arms in the studies (d = .053, SE = .11; 95% confidence interval [CI] = [?.163, .269]), and little between-site variation (Q = 4.905; p = .428). We discuss these results in terms of an ?observer effect? that influences both officers? and citizens? behavior and assess what we interpret as treatment diffusion between experimental and control conditions within the framework of ?contagious accountability.?
... Critics have also pointed to a complex range of issues involving citizen privacy, such as access to public records and the recording of vulnerable populations (e.g. children; Harris, 2010;Stanley, 2015). ...
Article
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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to assess perceptions of body-worn cameras (BWCs) among citizens who had BWC-recorded police encounters, and to explore the potential for a civilizing effect on citizen behavior. Design/methodology/approach: From June to November 2015, the authors conducted telephone interviews with 249 citizens in Spokane (WA) who had a recent BWC-recorded police encounter. Findings: Respondents were satisfied with how they were treated during the police encounter and, overall, had positive attitudes about BWCs. However, only 28 percent of respondents were actually aware of the BWC during their own encounter. The authors also found little evidence of a civilizing effect but did document a significant, positive connection between awareness of the BWC and enhanced perceptions of procedural justice. Research limitations/implications: Authors only interviewed citizens who had encounters with officers wearing BWCs. However, variation in BWC awareness among citizens allowed the authors to construct a proxy “non-BWC condition” for comparison. Practical implications: The pre-conditions necessary to produce a civilizing effect among citizens are complex and difficult to achieve. The intriguing relationship between BWC awareness and procedural justice suggests the technology may have the potential to improve police legitimacy. Originality/value: The study is among the first to explore attitudes about BWCs among those who have their police encounters recorded, and results demonstrate high levels of support among this population. Findings bode well for continued adoption of BWCs in policing.
... These reductions in complaints are argued to be due to officers being more mindful and cautious with their actions when body-worn cameras are engaged. Officers are more likely to follow legal and constitutional standards of conduct when a body-worn camera is present (Harris, 2010;Jennings, Fridell and Lynch, 2014;Ready and Young, 2015). While these two studies are noteworthy, they have relied exclusively on randomized control trials focused on the effectiveness of body-worn cameras in reducing complaints against police. ...
Thesis
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This thesis examines the extent to which body-worn cameras programs in Canada and the U.S. befit the notion of counter-law. The research is theoretically based on Ericson’s (2007a) framework of counter-law and the surveillant assemblage. The results indicate that body-worn camera programs can be considered an extension of the existing surveillant assemblage. In the U.S., numerous legislative amendments exempted body-worn cameras from certain legal requirements and thus facilitated their integration into existing surveillance networks. In Canada, legal amendments were not enacted through counter-law; nevertheless, the broadness and inconsistency of existing legislation allowed body-worn camera programs to become part of the surveillant assemblage. This thesis also contributes to refinements of counter-law I and the surveillant assemblage by analyzing variations in how these concepts apply to localized contexts of uncertainty.
... Critics have also pointed to a complex range of issues involving citizen privacy, such as access to public records and the recording of vulnerable populations (e.g. children; Harris, 2010;Stanley, 2015). Notably, there have been virtually no efforts to examine attitudes about BWCs among those who are most affected by the technology: the citizens who have their encounters with police recorded. ...
Article
This study investigated citizen attitudes about the public release of police body-worn camera (BWC) video. We examined quantitative and qualitative survey data from a convenience sample of 535 citizens living in and around Birmingham, Alabama, USA. We found citizens’ attitudes ranged widely and were often contextualized based on the circumstances of the video and case. Race, gender, and police accountability concerns were significantly related to greater support for video release, with race being the strongest factor. Surveillance concerns were not significantly related to attitudes about video release. While numerous studies show that officers and citizens support the use of BWCs in policing, questions about the public release of video are still under debate. Very few studies have examined the issue of video release for the purposes of developing evidence-based policy that satisfies the interests of diverse groups and minimizes civil unrest following critical incidents. Further research is needed before clear recommendations can be made regarding optimum policies guiding BWC video release.
... This "civilizing effect" has been connected to decreases in officer use of force, complaints against officers, and resistance during arrests (White 2014). The video recordings have been used to improve evidence for arrest and prosecution, to disprove and substantiate allegations made against the police, and to help expedite the resolution of complaints (Goodall 2007;Harris 2010). This study's findings are largely consistent with past research on BWCs but also reveal new insights. ...
Technical Report
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Police body-worn cameras (BWCs) are being rapidly and widely adopted by law enforcement. As a result, the question "How should police use body-worn cameras?" is becoming more relevant than "Should police use body-worn cameras?" While past studies have been informative about the benefits and limitations of BWCs, they have also been limited in their understanding of the best practices for this technology. To address this knowledge gap about the use of BWCs, the Urban Institute evaluated two different implementations of the cameras in a single police department. The study focused on the intersection of BWCs and procedural justice behaviors among officers by collecting community surveys and departmental administrative records. Analyses revealed the following: Community members' satisfaction with police was more positively influenced by officers' procedurally just practices than by the presence of a body-worn camera alone. Community members had difficulty accurately remembering whether an officer was wearing a camera. Officers prescribed to inform residents of the presence of a BWC were more likely to activate cameras, while officers responding to more calls for service activated their cameras less often. Officers with BWCs made slightly fewer arrests than similar officers without BWCs.
... A recent literature search of the available evidence conducted by Lum et al. (2015) has shown that there were-at the time the report came out-12 existing empirical studies of BWCs and about 30 ongoing research projects (see also reviews by White, 2014 andCubitt et al., 2016). While there were attempts to implement BWCs in policing nearly a decade ago (Goodall, 2007;Harris, 2010), evidence on their effectiveness has only surfaced in the last few years, and undoubtedly many will follow. Four of the published studies thus far in the Lum et al. (2015) report employed randomized controlled trials (Ariel et al., 2014;Grossmith et al., 2015;Jennings et al., 2015;Owens and McKenna, 2014), and others have used less robust designs (e.g. ...
Article
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Police body-worn cameras (BWCs) are an increasingly prominent research area in criminal justice. This trend mirrors current practice, with more and more law enforcement agencies implementing or procuring BWCs. Yet the evidence on BWCs is substantially long on evidence but rather short on theory. Why should BWCs 'work' and under what conditions or on whom? This article offers a more robust theoretical composition for the causal mechanisms that can explain the efficacy of BWCs. What sets them apart from other surveillance devices, such as closedcircuit televisions (CCTVs), speed cameras, or bystanders' mobile cameras? We introduce the deterrence spectrum, within which BWCs can de-escalate or exacerbate aggressive encounters. We argue that the deterrent effect of BWCs is a function of discretion, whereby strong discretion is inversely linked to a weak deterrent effect that consequently leads to more use of force, and weak discretion is inversely linked to a strong deterrent effect and less forceful police responses. We show that the deterrence effect of BWCs ranges from 'minimal deterrence' to 'maximum deterrence' depending on the officer's discretion. At one extreme, 'over-deterrence' and even 'inertia' are possible, which are manifested in police withdrawal. Given the mechanisms that are in play, more attention ought to be given to officers' discretion, training on appropriate use of BWCs, and technological fixes. We conclude by linking these findings to BWCs discretion policy, as well the willingness of the agency to adopt an evidence-based policing framework. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
... Leaving aside the political and legal issues surrounding the use of 'on-cop' surveillance technology (Harris, 2010), the question we try to answer is: can BWVs reduce the use of force? In the published, peer-reviewed experiments on this topic to date, 3 police use of force was reduced compared to control conditions (Ariel et al., 2015;Jennings et al., 2015; see also Owens et al., 2014). ...
Article
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Police use of force is at the forefront of public awareness in many countries. Body-worn videos (BWVs) have been proposed as a new way of reducing police use of force, as well as assaults against officers. To date, only a handful of peer-reviewed randomised trials have looked at the effectiveness of BWVs, primarily focusing on use of force and complaints. We sought to replicate these studies, adding assaults against police officers as an additional outcome. Using a prospective meta-analysis of multi-site, multi-national randomised controlled trials from 10 discrete tests with a total population of +2 million, and 2.2 million police officer-hours, we assess the effect of BWVs on the rates of (i) police use of force and (ii) assaults against officers. Averaged over 10 trials, BWVs had no effect on police use of force (d = 0.021; SE = 0.056; 95% CI: –0.089–0.130), but led to an increased rate of assaults against officers wearing cameras (d = 0.176; SE = 0.058; 95% CI: 0.061–0.290). As there is evidence that cameras may increase the risk of assaults against officers, more attention should be paid to how these devices are implemented. Likewise, since other public-facing organisations are considering equipping their staff with BWVs (e.g. firefighters, private security, traffic wardens), the findings on risks associated with BWVs are transferrable to those occupations as well.
... In terms of perceptions, 64 percent of residents consider it likely or highly likely that they will be the victim of a crime in the next few months and 71 percent consider it likely or highly likely that they will be assaulted in the street. In 2005In -2010 percent of the population of the capital, Montevideo, were victims of violent robbery. ...
Article
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Purpose More than a half a dozen published studies have observed the effect of body-worn cameras (BWCs) on complaints against the police. Nearly all, with varying degrees of methodological sophistication, tell a similar story: a strong reduction in complaints filed against the police once BWCs are in use. However, the entirety of the published evidence comes from English speaking countries, limited to the USA and the UK, and is restricted to the effects of BWCs on response policing. The purpose of this paper is to extend this body of research to Latin America, and to specialized policing jobs. Design/methodology/approach The authors measured the consequence of equipping traffic police officers with BWCs in five out of the 19 traffic police departments in Uruguay ( n =208), and compared these settings to both the pre-test figures as well as to the non-treatment departments. Interrupted time-series analyses and repeated measures of analysis were used for significance testing. Findings Statistically significant differences emerged between the before–after as well as the between–groups comparisons: complaints were five times higher in the comparison vs the treatment jurisdictions, and there were 86 percent fewer cases compared to the pre-treatment period. Research limitations/implications These outcomes suggest that the effect of BWCs on complaints is ubiquitous. Practical implications The findings indicate that BWCs provide an effective solution for reducing grievances against the police, which can potentially be a marker of increased accountability, transparency and legitimacy for the Latin American law enforcement departments. Originality/value This study is an extension of findings on BWCs to non-English-speaking police departments, with a focus on specialized policing rather than patrol policing.
... A recent review of the available evidence conducted by Lum et al. (2015) has shown that there are currently 12 existing empirical studies of BWCs and about 30 ongoing research projects (see also review by White, 2014). While there were attempts to implement BWCs in policing nearly a decade ago (Goodall, 2007;Harris, 2010), evidence on their effectiveness has only surfaced in the last couple of years (see Lum et al., 2015). Five of the studies employed randomized con- trolled trials ( Ariel et al., 2016aAriel et al., , 2016bGrossmith et al., 2015;Jennings et al., 2015;Owens, Mann, & Mckenna, 2014), and others have used less robust designs. ...
Article
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What can change the willingness of people to report crimes? A 6-month study in Denver investigated whether Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) can change crime-reporting behavior, with treatment-officers wearing BWCs patrolling targeted street segments, while control officers patrolled the no-treatment areas without BWCs. Stratified street segments crime densities were used as the units of analysis, in order to measure the effect on the number of emergency calls in target versus control street segments. Repeated measures ANOVAs and subgroup analyses suggest that BWCs lead to greater willingness to report crimes to the police in low crime density level residential street segments, but no discernable differences emerge in hotspot street segments. Variations in reporting are interpreted in terms of accountability, legitimacy, or perceived utility caused by the use of BWCs. Situational characteristics of the street segments explain why low-level street segments are affected by BWCs, while in hotspots no effect was detected.
... Segments of the popular media also reiterate the sense that by exposing what were previously overlooked or concealed police abuses, cameras present a serious challenge for the police (Madrigal 2011;Friedersdorf 2014;Friedman 2014;Meyer 2014). Here again the presence of more cameras is understood as a way to eliminate confusion about police actions, reduce abuses of power, and curtail the use of force (Harris 2010;Thompson 2014). This position has also been advanced by some scholarly commentators, such as Hans Toch (2012), who argues that such recordings raise awareness of police behavior, which in turn can encourage scrutiny, criticism, political action, and ultimately progressive changes in policing (see also Potere 2012). ...
... Whereas legal scholarship contends that surveillance video, like body cam video, may provide an accurate depiction of events that can protect officers in a court of law against unwarranted accusations (5), the effects of this video on observers' judgments are more varied. For instance, a study using mock jurors found that their preexisting attitudes toward the police influenced their interpretations of an officer's actions whether or not they saw the body cam footage of the event (6). ...
Article
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Police departments use body-worn cameras (body cams) and dashboard cameras (dash cams) to monitor the activity of police officers in the field. Video from these cameras informs review of police conduct in disputed circumstances, often with the goal of determining an officer’s intent. Eight experiments ( N = 2,119) reveal that body cam video of an incident results in lower observer judgments of intentionality than dash cam video of the same incident, an effect documented with both scripted videos and real police videos. This effect was due, in part, to variation in the visual salience of the focal actor: the body cam wearer is typically less visually salient when depicted in body versus dash cam video, which corresponds with lower observer intentionality judgments. In showing how visual salience of the focal actor may introduce unique effects on observer judgment, this research establishes an empirical platform that may inform public policy regarding surveillance of police conduct.
... Another example is the small body-worn device such as the GoPro (Carucci 2017). These devices allow recording of high-quality images and videos from a participant in the action, such as the increasingly common use of 'head cams' by police (Harris 2010). This has aided in the production of the genre POV (point of view), also known as gonzo pornography, where the pornography is filmed from the perspective of an actor (usually male) (Hardy 2008;Tibbals 2014). ...
Article
‘Pornography’ is a protean term, rendered more complex by the digital age. Social science researchers need not only a useful definition but also awareness of how the term is applied (by researchers and research participants) and clarity about the scope of material to be included. As part of our attempts to understand the meaning of ‘pornography’, we thematically analyzed definitions presented in recent and prominent pornography research publications and scholarly articles dedicated to defining pornography. We concluded that a useful definition has three components: content, the intention of the producer, and contextual judgement. We then identified implications for pornography of new technology: expanded opportunities for access and content, the interaction and immersion enabled by virtual reality, ‘pornification’ of culture, and challenges to the meaning of consent presented by self-produced content. We argue that pornography should be distinguished from material produced and distributed without participants’ consent. We propose that researchers incorporate new technologies into measurement tools and suggest that they acknowledge context and practise reflexivity. We present as a working definition of ‘pornography’: ‘Material deemed sexual, given the context, that has the primary intention of sexually arousing the consumer and is produced and distributed with the consent of all persons involved’.
... The evidentiary value of BWCs may manifest in a few different ways. For example, the presence of a BWC may increase officers' compliance with the rules governing search and seizure and the reading of Miranda rights before questioning (Harris, 2010). A BWC can lead to better report writing by officers (Dawes et al., 2015), which facilitates criminal case processing. ...
Article
Drug and alcohol offences represent a significant portion of police work. Officers commonly rely on subjective indicators of intoxication, and prosecutors depend on officer evidence collection, written reports, and testimony at trial. Police body-worn cameras (BWCs) have diffused widely in policing partly due to their perceived evidentiary value, but the extent to which BWCs affect the adjudication of such offences remains unanswered. The current study explores this question with 7,000 misdemeanour cases from Tempe (Arizona), filed from 2014 to 2017. The Tempe Police Department deployed BWCs from November 2015 to May 2016. Results indicate that BWCs had no impact on guilty outcomes, but cameras were associated with significantly shorter time to adjudication. We discuss the important policy implications of these thought-provoking findings.
... Discretion allows police to devise solutions based on unique situational factors (Ariel, Sutherland, Henstock, Young, Drover, Sykes, Megicks, & Henderson, 2016b;Taylor, 2016). Because normative behavior is associated with the perception of being observed, researchers have speculated that police body-worn video users may make more norm-conforming decisions (Gaub, Choate, Todak, Katz, & White, 2016;Harris, 2010;Jennings, Fridell, & Lynch, 2014). Normconformance is not confined to the wearing officer. ...
Preprint
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This is a preprint version of my doctoral dissertation research on police body-worn video and behavior. There is support for deterrence as a cause of police and public civility in the presence of police body-worn video.
... Con la disponibilidad de contextos viales locales se habilita un intercambio de datos ágil entre los dispositivos móviles y la nube, sin la necesidad de utilizar estrategias de alto costo computacional como las requeridas para la identificación en tiempo real de señalizaciones viales utilizando procesamiento de imágenes [16]. Finalmente, el contexto de seguridad que ofrece SASVi solo considera posibles agresiones de parte del conductor hacia el oficial debido a que el oficial puede como parte de un protocolo de seguridad portar la tecnología necesaria para garantizar la veracidad de los hechos [17]. Por el contrario, un ciudadano al volante puede colocar su teléfono celular en la bolsa de su pantalón, blusa, bolso de mano, compartimiento en la puerta o guantera del auto, lo cual compromete la calidad del audio que proviene de la interacción entre el oficial y el conductor. ...
... e has on human interactions, for example CCTV surveillance(Goold 2003), dataveillance(Dawson 2006) and civilian cell phone surveillance (Constantine 2016). Results from these studies have shown that subjects of surveillance were more circumspect in their behavior and behavior was even altered when they were aware of being the objects of recordings.Harris (2010) noted that in contrast to the positive impacts the devices there were issues with citizen, informant and witness privacy and safety; and officers' privacy whilst on duty especially with regards to vindictive senior officers who may search for procedural shortcomings.© 2017 Crime and Problem Analysis Branch(Mann, Nolan and Wellman 2003). ...
Article
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Globally, the use of body-worn cameras by policing agencies is rapidly increasing. A variety of scholarship on the impact of its use on police-civilian interactions and police accountability is also increasing. Using data from available empirical research, this paper will discuss the impact of police body- worn cameras on police-civilian interactions in controlled or unstable environments. Additionally, it will also examine the effect of body-worn cameras on police accountability in the context of visibility. Evidence from the review of available literature will show that there are numerous impacts on the behavior of both police and civilians due to the presence of police body-worn cameras. Further research by scholars is suggested due to the lack of available research on the use of body-worn cameras and its effect on police accountability and behavior of police and civilians in the Caribbean and Trinidad and Tobago.
... However, BWC policies are informed not only by a need to protect/palliate the public; they can also ensure representation of law enforcement perspectives. After all, the increased ubiquity and use of smartphones have democratized access to evidence of public gatherings or incidents (Harris, 2010). Recent examples of smartphone video being used to expose excessive use of force-or disparate application of force against Garner, an African American (Sorensen & Pica, 2005); North Charleston City Police Officer Michael Slager fired his duty weapon multiple times at Walter Scott, an African American male, fatally killing him (Knapp, 2018). ...
Research
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There has been distrust in the United States between citizens and law enforcement since the 1991 beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers. The subsequent killing of unarmed African American males by police officers has further heightened awareness of deadly force. Politicians, civil rights advocates, citizens, family members of those killed, and the media have demanded that law enforcement officers be held accountable for their actions by requiring the use of body-worn cameras (BWC) during interactions with the public. Studies have shown that deployment of the BWC has benefits, including increased transparency and accountability, reduced use of force, improved officer/citizen relations, training benefits for officers, improved evidence collection, and increased police legitimacy. However, the cumulative effect of mandatory BWC policy has created a culture of resentment where rank-and-file officers react against the loss of personal discretion to do their jobs. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to gain insight into officers’ refusal to comply with BWC activation mandates. Brehm’s reactance theory maintains that when police officers’ discretion is threatened, they will resist in an attempt to restore it. Due to COVID-19, interviews were conducted virtually with eleven police officers ages 32 to 66. Findings indicated that police officers acknowledged BWC benefits but resented their use by administrators to surveil officers’ daily activities. Insights into officers’ grievances have the potential to revise BWC policies and create positive social change with the benefit of increasing officer compliance. The benefits of the BWC are widely documented, but only if they are activated.
... Die Qualität dieses Kompetenzmodells hängt eng zusammen mit den in Bezug auf die Belastung durch eine physische Gewaltanwendung analysierten Daten. Hier könnten insbesondere durch qualitative Erhebungen, wie etwa durch die Analyse von Aufnahmen der durch Polizeibeamte getragenen Body-Cams(Harris, 2010), noch detailliertere Informationen über die einzelnen Belastungsparameter generiert werden und zu einer Verbesserung der Grundlage eines solchen Kompetenzmodells beitragen. Jedoch wird bereits nach dem aktuellen Forschungsstand deutlich, dass im Rahmen des Einsatztrainings weit mehr als die reine Vermittlung von Techniken und Taktiken im Fokus stehen muss; vielmehr ist auch eine nachhaltige Entwicklung der Persönlichkeit unabdingbar. ...
Chapter
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Der vorliegende Beitrag fasst die bislang in der deutschsprachigen Literatur vor- handenen Kompetenzmodelle zum Einsatzverhalten von Polizeibeamten zusammen. Im Hinblick auf die Belastung von Polizisten durch physische Gewalt wird jedoch deutlich, dass sich keines der vorliegenden Modelle speziell auf dieses Phänomen bezieht und es eines individuell auf die Kompetenzen zur Abwehr von gewalttätigen Angriffen zugeschnittenen Modells für die Fundierung des polizeilichen Einsatztrainings bedarf. Ansatzpunkte in Bezug auf weiterführende Forschung in diesem Themenfeld ergeben sich insbesondere durch die Verbesserung der Datenlage zur Belastung von Polizisten durch eine physische Gewaltanwendung.
Article
We conducted two studies, wherein participants from across the United States watched, heard, or read the transcript of an actual police shooting event. The data for Study 1 were collected prior to media coverage of a widely publicized police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. Results indicated that participants who could hear or see the event were significantly more likely to perceive the shooting was justified than they were when they read a transcript of the encounter. Shortly after the events in Ferguson, Missouri, we replicated the first study, finding quite different results. Although dissatisfaction with the shooting was seen in all forms of presentation, video evidence produced the highest citizen perceptions of an unjustified shooting and audio evidence produced the least. Citizens were nonetheless overwhelmingly favorable to requiring police to use body cameras. Body-mounted cameras with high-quality audio capabilities are recommended for police departments to consider.
Article
On-officer videos, or body cameras, can provide objective accounts of interactions among police officers and the public. Police leadership tends to view this emerging technology as an avenue for resolving citizen complaints and prosecuting offenses where victims and witnesses are reluctant to testify. However, getting endorsement from patrol officers is difficult. These incongruent cognitive frames are a cultural barrier to the utilization of innovative technologies. Understanding the mechanisms that lead to the deconstruction of these barriers is essential for the integration of technology into organizations. Using affiliation data collected from a large police department in Southwestern United States over a 4-month period, we find that interactions with other officers provide a conduit for facilitating cognitive frames that increase camera legitimacy.
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Using data from more than 2,500 law enforcement agencies, the goal of this study was to identify predictors of advanced surveillance technologies. The findings suggest that the adoption of modern surveillance cameras is neither uniform nor comprehensive and that the adoption process is ongoing with agency officials implementing and discontinuing technologies over time. Most important, stakeholders both inside and outside the organization have the greatest influence on the adoption process, and cameras in vehicles and mobile devices are most prevalent in improvised communities. As cameras become smaller and less expensive, they have the potential to democratize surveillance and equalize the relationship between the police and the public during encounters. However, the democratization effect will only occur if implementation is widespread and all segments of the community have an equal voice in the process. The research findings suggest that significant progress still needs to be made in these areas.
Article
Prior traffic stop studies rarely consider officers’ qualitative explanations of their sanctioning decisions and are based largely on municipal officers. This article explores campus officers’ explanations of how they sanctioned drivers. Data were gathered from fieldwork with campus officers at a large southeastern U.S. university. Findings reveal officers usually handle traffic offenders leniently, opting for no sanction and written warnings over citations and custodial arrest. Officers named seven sanctioning reasons that fit into three broad and interrelated perspectives on crime and punishment. Implications of the findings for future research and policy are discussed.
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This paper follows the journey of body worn camera use and subsequent footage, through the process from arrest to Court and the influence of the BWC use on the multiple steps and people involved in the steps of the process.
Article
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The proliferation of videos of violent interactions between police and the public, and the subsequent examinations of those videos in legal proceedings (grand juries, criminal trials, and coroner's inquiries), have occasioned some reflection on what video does in understanding such incidents. As was initially shown by Goodwin (1994), videos of violence are far from self-explanatory; conducting inquiries into such violent interactions involves a great deal of interpretive work. Here, I discuss a case study of the trial Constable James Forcillo of Toronto Police Service, which led to a paradoxical verdict of guilty of attempted murder relating to an incident where Forcillo shot and killed a young man, Sammy Yatim, onboard a Toronto street car. While videos often give the impression of increased accountability for and of police officers (cf. Harris, 2010; Ariel et al., 2015; Ready & Young, 2015), and the recoverability of police decision-making in their use of violent and lethal force, the question of how that accountability is enacted in legal settings requires attention in order to understand the significance of this particular type of evidence. Here, I demonstrate that video does not do the work of explicating the sense or motive of police actions therein, and as such inevitably must be augmented by further evidence before arriving at a verdict in cases of police-involved violence.
Article
Civil unrest following recent questionable officer involved shootings and other use of force incidents has prompted public demands for police officers to be equipped with body-worn video cameras (BWCs). As a result of these demands, agencies across the US are rapidly acquiring the devices. While BWCs are widely assumed to be effective tools to document police/citizen encounters, increase law enforcement transparency, and improve both officer and citizen behavior, relatively little research has been conducted in regard to their actual impact. While some preliminary studies have examined officer attitudes concerning the devices, specific factors that potentially affect officer attitudes concerning BWCs and ultimately their level of ‘buy-in’ have not been examined. The concept of organizational justice is likely one such factor. Through the administration of a survey to a sample of 201 law enforcement officers from four Midwestern and Southern region agencies and those in attendance at regional continuing education venues, the relationship between organizational justice and officer attitudes regarding BWCs is examined. Analysis with structural equation modeling indicates that officer perceptions of organizational justice are a significant factor in terms of their attitudes regarding BWCs.
Article
In 2015, the so-called “Rialto study” was published in a peer-reviewed journal, although the findings of this experiment impacted policing as early as 2013. The yearlong study of officers who wore Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) in Rialto, California found that among those officers who wore the devices, use of force incidents decreased, as did complaints against the officers. These findings were extensively profiled in news media and lauded by numerous police agencies across North America and the United Kingdom. This article examines reporting of the findings of the Rialto study in news media. BWCs have received considerably more coverage in news media than in the research literature. Practically no scholarship has addressed this issue. BWCs are said to enhance police legitimacy, or the judgements of citizens concerning police conduct. A great deal of police legitimacy concerns maintaining control over their public image in media as the legitimate authority, or image work. Given the importance of police image work and the coverage of BWCs in news media, it remains vital then that we understand how BWCs are discussed in media. Some suggestions for future research are noted.
Article
This study applies the technical/rational model of organisations to help explain the effects of body-worn cameras on police organisation and practice in a single police agency in the United States. Consistent with the technical/rational model, cameras had enhanced those people-processing and environment-changing features of the police organisation which had tangible goals and well understood means for their accomplishment. In comparison, body-worn cameras were less successful in changing supervision and training, which were not well developed technically. We posit that improvements in these people-changing aspects of police work will likely require public pressure for higher levels of police professionalism, rigorous evidence on how these cameras can make training and supervision more effective, and police agencies willing to experiment with their strategic implementation. ARTICLE HISTORY
Article
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Contentious debate is currently taking place regarding the extent to which public scrutiny of the police post‐Ferguson has led to depolicing or to a decrease in proactive police work. Advocates of the “Ferguson effect” claim the decline in proactive policing increased violent crime and assaults on the police. Although police body‐worn cameras (BWCs) are touted as a police reform that can generate numerous benefits, they also represent a form of internal and public surveillance on the police. The surveillance aspect of BWCs suggests that BWCs may generate depolicing through camera‐induced passivity. We test this question with data from a randomized controlled trial of BWCs in Spokane (WA) by assessing the impact of BWCs on four measures: officer‐initiated calls, arrests, response time, and time on scene. We employ hierarchical linear and cross‐classified models to test for between‐ and within‐group differences in outcomes before and after the randomized BWC rollout. Our results demonstrate no evidence of statistically significant camera‐induced passivity across any of the four outcomes. In fact, self‐initiated calls increased for officers assigned to treatment during the RCT. We discuss the theoretical and policy implications of the findings for the ongoing dialogue in policing.
Article
The method and results of a scoping review, based on the principles of a systematic literature review, on police accountability are presented with the aim of providing an overview of the characteristics of empirical research on the topic and the main themes covered in this research tradition. To our knowledge, no systematically conducted review has been undertaken although one could help to identify gaps in the (empirical) literature and give insights into the themes studied in this regard. Three main themes were discovered during the review; aside from police accountability as such, many studies related to police integrity or, to a lesser extent, historical facts concerning police accountability or integrity. Two of the most striking findings were the low number of empirical studies included in our thematic synthesis and the limited amount of methodological information reported in these publications. As such, the authors recommend more empirical research regarding police accountability and, more generally, sufficient methodological reporting when writing a publication.
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Notions of place-making assume that individuals and groups of people have legitimate ‘rights to the city.’ This paper unsettles these notions to incorporate the politically and legally tenuous relationships African-American and Immigrant youth have to their cities. We describe a community-based digital STEAM curriculum called Mobile City Science that invited youth to engage in place-making efforts using mobile and location-aware technologies. The design study relied on a contradiction that is fundamental to youth place-making in an era of white nationalism: for African-American and Immigrant youth to engage power structures in community development processes, they had to engage in a series of dis-placements that removed them from embodied experiences and in-location perceptions of their communities. Self-censoring, witnessing, historicizing, and re-veiwing were all examples of dis-placements youth enacted to speak truth to power with digital and mobile tools.
Article
Visual data are transforming the documentation of activities across many legal domains. Visual data can incriminate or exonerate; they can shape and reshape public opinion. Visual evidence can legitimize certain accounts of events while calling others into question. The proliferation of visual data creates challenges for the law at multiple points of entry: recording, distribution or disclosure, redaction or deletion, or use as evidence. This symposium outlines and analyzes legal challenges posed by recent developments in visual data technologies and practices. This introductory essay and the articles that follow highlight legal issues that arise when state actors collect visual data and when visual data are used in legal disputes. Technological development is outpacing empirical research on, and legal regulation of, visual data within society and inside the courtroom. This symposium provides a much‐needed opportunity to highlight new legal and empirical research at the intersection of visual data and law.
Article
This study assessed the early deployment of the Anaheim Police Department’s body-worn camera (BWC) program in 2015 by examining camera activations across officers, trends in activations over time, and how different police–community contacts predict BWC activations. These were assessed with correlational analyses among 40 BWC-equipped officers in the first 6 months of their use. Activation of the BWCs among officers varied widely, with 6-month average activations ranging from 0% to 72%. Average activation rates increased over time from 3% to 54%. Officers disproportionately activated their cameras for events related to crimes; for example, activation rates for other categories were significantly lower compared to violent crimes, with odds ratios ranging from 0.148 to 0.663. The article concludes with a discussion on how the failure to activate a BWC limits the potential benefits of the technology. While officers have considerable discretion on when to activate their BWCs, law enforcement agencies must not only train and deploy BWCs among their officers but also audit and supervise individual use to ensure successful BWC programs.
Article
This article employs a sociomaterial perspective adapted from information systems and management studies to examine the potential impact of body worn cameras (BWCs) on police organisations. Based on 42 semi-structured interviews with police employees, the study illustrates how wearable camera technology is seen to ‘afford’ officers and agencies the ability to modify their work routines. Further, these modifications occur in conjunction with particular dimensions of body camera system’s material agency. Through the performativity of video recording devices to move, see, hear, and record, officers report altering how they approach patrol work by displacing certain tasks onto their material associates, which allows them to better carry out their duties. Through the interoperability of the cloud storage systems, departments describe being able to reorganise critical information processing routines in support of criminal prosecutions. Through the objectivity of the digital files produced by body-worn camera systems, departments note effortlessly creating packets of events bearing the impression of truth and legitimacy with which they are able to more easily resolve citizen complaints. These findings underscore the importance of remaining attentive to the materiality of technology in policing and law enforcement research.
Article
Purpose This study sought to assess the effects of body-worn cameras (BWCs) on arrest in the Chicago Police Department (CPD). It builds on the small number of studies that have explored the BWC-arrest nexus through its focus on outcome measures disaggregated by initial arrest category to see if there is additional specificity to the relationship. Methods This study uses a quasi-experimental design and propensity score matching (PSM) to compare similar groups of spatial units — police patrol districts – in the CPD over a 30-month study period. It also uses multivariate methods to assess whether difference scores in various types of arrest changed significantly over time after the introduction of BWCs. Results The results showed that in the BWC districts, arrests for misdemeanor marijuana possession increased as time increased (i.e. the difference scores became less negative). This tendency did not appear in a control group of districts. For all other categories of arrest, change occurred at similar rates in the BWC- and control-districts. Conclusion An upward trend over time in arrests for marijuana possession after the introduction of BWCs could be an unintended consequence that may undermine benefits a department and community may gain from reductions in use of force and complaints.
Article
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Quite simply, we have become a surveillance state. Cameras — both those controlled by the state, and those installed by private entities — watch our every move, at least in public. For the most part, this public surveillance is unregulated, beyond the purview of the Fourth Amendment, and to many civil libertarians, should signal alarm. This Article challenges these assumptions, and suggests that in thinking about surveillance cameras and other technologies, we must listen to communities. For many communities, public surveillance not only has the benefit for deterring crime and aiding in the apprehension of criminals. In these communities, public surveillance can also function to monitor the police, reduce racial profiling, curb police brutality, and ultimately increase perceptions of legitimacy. The question thus becomes, not how we can use the Fourth Amendment to limit public surveillance, but rather how can we use the Fourth Amendment to harness public surveillance’s full potential.
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