What are police officer perceptions of body worn cameras?

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Behind the lens: police attitudes toward body-worn cameras and organizational justice
"Body-worn cameras are a promising new development in policing. They have been linked to positive outcomes such as decreases in use of force and complaints against officers. However, this new technology has produced a number of issues that could thwart a successful body-worn camera program implementation. One issue is the extent to which officers possess positive attitudes toward using body-worn cameras. If officers do not view body-worn cameras positively, they may not use cameras to their full potential. This study examined the relationship between organizational justice and attitudes toward body-worn cameras in 492 police officers across 3 agencies using structural equation modeling. Findings indicated no observable relationship between perceptions of organizational justice and attitudes toward body-worn cameras. The implications for the organizational adoption of innovations in policy are discussed."
AUTHORS
Nathan L. Lawshe
George W. Burruss
Matthew J. Giblin
Joseph A. Schafer
PUBLISHED
2019 in Journal of Crime and Justice
FUNDERS
University of South Florida
NO INFO ON SOURCE QUALITY
A Critical Evaluation of the Pilot Program Regarding Body Worn Video Cameras by South Korean Police
"Despite the widespread adoption of body worn video cameras by law enforcement agencies globally, very few research has been carried out to evaluate the effects of the use of those cameras. The South Korean police ran a pilot program of using body worn video cameras in Seoul for five months and found that frontline police officers were reluctant to use the cameras. This paper aims to explore the reasons behind this unpopularity and evaluate the efficacy of the use of the cameras in the South Korean context. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine police officers who have used the body worn video cameras during the pilot program. The findings suggested key restricting factors: (1) BWV cameras relative to smartphones were cumbersome to use, (2) BWV recordings did not reduce the paperwork load, and (3) BWV recordings could be accessed by the Inspection Division. Findings reveal that relevant policies need to be examined in a comprehensive manner and that it is of importance to prioritize the problems and set out to solve those problems accordingly."
AUTHORS
Jeyong Jung
Yong-Tae Chun
PUBLISHED
2018 in The Journal of Social Sciences Research
NO INFO ON SOURCE QUALITY
Body-worn cameras and officer perceptions: a mixed-method pretest posttest of patrol officers and supervisors
"The adoption of police body-worn cameras (BWCs) is likely inevitable. This technology has significant implications for police–community relations, enhanced trust and transparency, and complaint investigation. Little is known about officer, or supervisor, attitudes toward BWCs. These dimensions are critical as officer investment and agency policy influence BWC usage and effectiveness. This research uses a mixed-method approach, pairing officer surveys with focus groups of patrol officers and focus groups of supervisors. University police officers participated in the survey using a census approach with near full participation. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected pre- and post-implementation to address attitudinal changes toward BWCs. Results indicate officer and supervisor support for BWCs. Many of the concerns that officers raised in the pretest, including fear of negative evaluations, internal investigations, and technology issues, were not realized. Connecting officer and supervisor perspectives provides guidance for agencies considering adoption and/or implementation of BWCs."
AUTHORS
William V. Pelfrey Jr
Steven Keener
PUBLISHED
2018 in Journal of Crime and Justice
NO INFO ON SOURCE QUALITY
Body-Worn Cameras in the Post-Ferguson Era: An Exploration of Law Enforcement Perspectives
"In the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri, confidence in police has weakened. Body-worn cameras (BWCs) are perceived to increase law enforcement transparency and accountability, and, by proxy, restore law enforcement legitimacy. Though the empirical status of BWCs has grown in recent years, missing from these accounts are the actual words and narratives of officers. Through a qualitative approach, the data and analysis within this paper overcome this issue and indicate that BWCs have had an impact on police–citizen interactions in one Southern American State. More specifically, citizen and officer accountability from BWCs was found to have positive and negative consequence. Officers articulated this supposition in a number of ways and the paper contextualizes these perspectives within the extant literature. The policy implications and areas of future research from these findings are discussed as they inform a non-positivist approach to research."
AUTHORS
Seth Wyatt Fallik
Ross Deuchar
Vaughn J. Crichlow
PUBLISHED
2018 in Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology
NO INFO ON SOURCE QUALITY
Examining Body-Worn Camera Integration and Acceptance Among Police Officers, Citizens, and External Stakeholders
"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."
AUTHORS
Michael D. White
Natalie Todak
Janne E. Gaub
PUBLISHED
2018 in Criminology & Public Policy
FUNDERS
Laura and John Arnold Foundation
HIGHLY REGARDED SOURCE
Understanding police officer resistance to body-worn cameras
"PurposeBody-worn cameras (BWCs) have been adopted in police agencies across the USA in efforts to increase police transparency and accountability. This widespread implementation has occurred despite some notable resistance to BWCs from police officers in some jurisdictions. This resistance poses a threat to the appropriate implementation of this technology and adherence to BWC policies. The purpose of this paper is to examine factors that could explain variation in officer receptivity to BWCs.Design/methodology/approachThe authors assess differences between officers who volunteered to wear a BWC and officers who resisted wearing a BWC as part of a larger randomized controlled trial of BWCs in the Phoenix Police Department. The authors specifically examine whether officer educational attainment, prior use of a BWC, attitudes toward BWCs, perceptions of organizational justice, support for procedural justice, noble cause beliefs, and official measures of officer activity predict receptivity to BWCs among 125 officers using binary logistic regression.FindingsThe findings indicate limited differences between BWC volunteers and resistors. Volunteers did have higher levels of educational attainment and were more likely to agree that BWCs improve citizen behaviors, relative to their resistant counterparts. Interestingly, there were no differences in perceptions of organizational justice, self-initiated activities, use of force, or citizen complaints between these groups.Originality/valueThough a growing body of research has examined the impact of BWCs on officer use of force and citizen complaints, less research has examined officer attitudes toward the adoption of this technology. Extant research in this area largely focusses on general perceptions of BWCs, as opposed to officer characteristics that could predict receptivity to BWCs. This paper addresses this limitation in the research"
AUTHORS
Jessica Huff
Charles M. Katz
Vincent J. Webb
PUBLISHED
2018 in Policing: An International Journal
NO INFO ON SOURCE QUALITY
The impact of law enforcement officer perceptions of organizational justice on their attitudes regarding body-worn cameras
"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."
AUTHORS
Michael J. Kyle
David R. White
PUBLISHED
2017 in Journal of Crime and Justice
NO INFO ON SOURCE QUALITY
‘I’m glad that was on camera’: a case study of police officers’ perceptions of cameras
"In the surveillance society, the police are increasingly monitored by a growing network of cameras. Contemporary studies have begun to pay attention to the new and highly visible reality that police officers occupy, and speculate about how this reality impacts police work. Attention is also given to how police officers, as the subjects experiencing this higher visibility, understand, and adapt to camera-packed environments, both of which are key questions in the ongoing process of revealing how the police, one of society’s key socio-legal institutions, are impacted by the emerging surveillance society. This article contributes to the study of police perceptions of cameras by reporting the findings of an exploratory qualitative research project entitled the Police on Camera study (POC). The POC study’s findings show that while participating police officers expectedly express resentment towards cameras and photographers, they more often express the opinion that conducting police work in view of cameras is beneficial as it enables the production of favourable video footage which defends police actions against criticism and complaints. Based on the POC study’s finding, this article argues that police officers’ response to cameras are not necessarily shaped by an effort to avoid being recorded as is sometimes argued, but by an effort to optimise the on-camera experience by producing footage which will discredit complaints and reinforce a favourable assessment of the police institution."
AUTHOR
Ajay Sandhu
PUBLISHED
2017 in Policing and Society
HIGHLY REGARDED SOURCE
Police Perceptions of Body-Worn Cameras
"Over the past several years there has been resistance from police officers towards implementing body-worn camera (BWC) technology. This paper assesses police perceptions towards BWCs in Pittsburgh and other cities to better characterize and explain such resistance, and also gain insight into the efficacy and potential benefits of BWCs from officers who have used the technology in their daily policing duties. Our surveys and interviews found that overall, Pittsburgh officers strongly believe BWCs can reduce citizen complaints and maintain police-community relations, but support for deploying BWCs throughout the city is low (31%). However, that support significantly increases among officers with hands-on BWC experience (57%). A comparison to previous police surveys found further evidence that BWC experience improves officer perception of the technology. In contrast, Pittsburgh officers who oppose city-wide adoption were concerned BWCs would erode trust between officers and their superiors, implying that police departments that can protect these internal police relationships might experience less resistance from police officers. These and other results suggest that changes in BWC technology, police policy and procedure, rollout, and police training could lead to better BWC programs."
AUTHORS
Max Goetschel
Jon M. Peha
PUBLISHED
2017 in American Journal of Criminal Justice
NO INFO ON SOURCE QUALITY
Police Officers’ Perceptions of Body-Worn Cameras in Buffalo and Rochester
"Police body-worn cameras have been advanced as a solution to disparate perceptions among the citizenry, public officials, community leaders, and the police themselves in the highly contested arena of police-citizen encounters. As with previous innovations in policing it is important that programs or policies developed for street-level application be planned in advance, and the opinions of police officers should be understood prior to implementation. This study provides survey responses from police officers in Buffalo and Rochester regarding their perceptions of body-worn cameras. Survey items were borrowed from prior research in Phoenix and Los Angeles. It also included items intended to measure the officer’s opinions about examining camera images prior to writing a report, an issue that is the subject of some disagreement among policy makers. Findings suggest similar attitudes toward body cameras not only among Buffalo and Rochester police officers, but also with police officers in other agencies. Almost all respondents agree or strongly agree that police officers should have the ability to review body camera images prior to writing a report. The policy implications of this finding are discussed."
AUTHORS
Joseph A. Gramagila
Scott W. Phillips
PUBLISHED
2017 in American Journal of Criminal Justice
NO INFO ON SOURCE QUALITY
Police Perceptions of Body-Worn Cameras
"Over the past several years there has been resistance from police officers towards implementing body-worn camera (BWC) technology. This paper assesses police perceptions towards BWCs in Pittsburgh and other cities to better characterize and explain such resistance, and also gain insight into the efficacy and potential benefits of BWCs from officers who have used the technology in their daily policing duties. Our surveys and interviews found that overall, Pittsburgh officers strongly believe BWCs can reduce citizen complaints and maintain police-community relations, but support for deploying BWCs throughout the city is low (31%). However, that support significantly increases among officers with hands-on BWC experience (57%). A comparison to previous police surveys found further evidence that BWC experience improves officer perception of the technology. In contrast, Pittsburgh officers who oppose city-wide adoption were concerned BWCs would erode trust between officers and their superiors, implying that police departments that can protect these internal police relationships might experience less resistance from police officers. These and other results suggest that changes in BWC technology, police policy and procedure, rollout, and police training could lead to better BWC programs."
AUTHORS
Max Goetschel
Jon M. Peha
PUBLISHED
2017 in SSRN Electronic Journal
NO INFO ON SOURCE QUALITY
Police Body-Worn Cameras: Perceptions of Law Enforcement Leadership
"Many people are enthusiastic about the potential benefits of police body-worn cameras (BWC). Despite this enthusiasm, however, there has been no research on law enforcement command staff perceptions of BWCs. Given the importance that law enforcement leadership plays in the decision to adopt and implement BWCs, it is necessary to assess their perceptions. This is the first study to measure law enforcement leadership attitudes toward BWCs. The study relies on data collected from surveys administered to command staff representing local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in a large southern county. Among the major perceptual findings are that command staff believe BWCs will impact police officers’ decisions to use force in encounters with citizens and police will be more reluctant to use necessary force in encounters with the public. Respondents also believe that use of BWCs is supported by the public because society does not trust police, media will use BWC data to embarrass police, and pressure to implement BWCs comes from the media. Perceptions of the impact of BWCs on safety, privacy, and police effectiveness are also discussed."
AUTHORS
John Ortiz Smykla
Matthew S. Crow
Vaughn J. Crichlow
Jamie A. Snyder
PUBLISHED
2016 in American Journal of Criminal Justice
NO INFO ON SOURCE QUALITY
Police body worn cameras: a mixed method approach assessing perceptions of efficacy
"PurposeThe importance of body-worn cameras (BWC) in policing cannot be overstated. This is not a hyperbolic statement – use of force incidents in Ferguson and Baltimore, the ensuing riots, coupled with critical long term implications for police community relations demonstrate the need for BWC data. Few studies have been published on the use of BWCs and little is known about officer perceptions, administrator decision making, and agency use of BWC data. No published studies incorporate qualitative data, which lends important context and depth, in the interpretation of officer survey data. The paper aims to discuss these issues.Design/methodology/approachThe current study presents a mixed-method study of a large university police agency prior to full implementation of BWC. A survey of patrol officers and supervisors, using a census approach with near full participation, coupled with focus group interviews, produced data on perceptions, concerns, and expectations of full BWC implementation.FindingsFindings point to officer concerns regarding the utilization of BWC data and administrative expectations regarding complaint reduction and officer assessment.Originality/valueImportant implications regarding training and policy are presented. BWC data represent an important tool for agency decision makers but have numerous potential negative uses. Understanding officer concerns juxtaposed with administrator expectations, through both survey and qualitative data, advance the knowledge on BWC."
AUTHORS
William V. Pelfrey Jr
Steven Keener
PUBLISHED
2016 in Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management
NO INFO ON SOURCE QUALITY
Cynicism Towards Change: The Case of Body-Worn Cameras Among Police Officers
"Police use of body-worn cameras (BWCs), proponents believe, will bring transparency and accountability to police work, and ultimately enhance police legitimacy. As with previous major organizational changes in policing, BWCs may be greeted with cynicism. Such cynicism by officers can obstruct the expected benefits of BWCs to policing. Yet, evidence on the receptivity of officers to BWCs is sparse. We seek to investigate the nature and sources of officers’ cynicism about BWCs. Our data came from a survey of 550 police officers from seven forces in England and Northern Ireland. Results show that cynicism towards BWCs is multi-dimensional, with levels of cynicism varying across these dimensions. Officers were more cynical about public receptivity and the impact on crime prevention, but least cynical about the likely impact on police integrity. Further analysis found that cynicism hinges, largely, on organizational commitment."
AUTHORS
Justice Tankebe
Barak Ariel
PUBLISHED
2016 in SSRN Electronic Journal
NO INFO ON SOURCE QUALITY
Officer Perceptions of Body-Worn Cameras Before and After Deployment
"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."
AUTHORS
Janne E. Gaub
David E. Choate
Natalie Todak
Charles M. Katz
Michael D. White
PUBLISHED
2016 in Police Quarterly
NO INFO ON SOURCE QUALITY
Cops and cameras: Officer perceptions of the use of body-worn cameras in law enforcement
"PurposeThere has been a recent surge in the adoption of and media attention to the use of body-worn cameras in law enforcement. Despite this increase in use and media attention, there is little to no research on officer perceptions of body-worn cameras.MethodsThis study relies on baseline data of officer perceptions toward body-worn cameras collected from surveys administered to Orlando Police officers who are participants in a randomized experiment evaluating the impact of body-worn cameras (Taser AXON Flex) in law enforcement.ResultsResults suggest that police officers are, by and large, open to and supportive of the use of body-worn cameras in policing, they would feel comfortable wearing them, and that they perceive a potential for benefits of body-worn cameras in improving citizen behavior, their own behavior, and the behavior of their fellow officers.ConclusionsOfficers are generally supportive of body-worn cameras, and they hold perceptions that these devices can be beneficial in positively affecting relevant outcomes. Study limitations and implications are also discussed."
AUTHORS
Wesley G. Jennings
Lorie A. Fridell
Mathew D. Lynch
PUBLISHED
2014 in Journal of Criminal Justice
HIGHLY REGARDED SOURCE



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Highly regarded source
Cops and cameras: Officer perceptions of the use of body-worn cameras in law enforcement
"Purpose
There has been a recent surge in the adoption of and media attention to the use of body-worn cameras in law enforcement. Despite this increase in use and media attention, there is little to no research on officer perceptions of body-worn cameras.

Methods
This study relies on baseline data of officer perceptions toward body-worn cameras collected from surveys administered to Orlando Police officers who are participants in a randomized experiment evaluating the impact of body-worn cameras (Taser AXON Flex) in law enforcement.

Results
Results suggest that police officers are, by and large, open to and supportive of the use of body-worn cameras in policing, they would feel comfortable wearing them, and that they perceive a potential for benefits of body-worn cameras in improving citizen behavior, their own behavior, and the behavior of their fellow officers.

Conclusions
Officers are generally supportive of body-worn cameras, and they hold perceptions that these devices can be beneficial in positively affecting relevant outcomes. Study limitations and implications are also discussed."
AUTHORS
Wesley G. Jennings
Lorie A. Fridell
Mathew D. Lynch
PUBLISHED
2014 in Journal of Criminal Justice

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Highly regarded source
Evaluating the impact of police officer body-worn cameras (BWCs) on response-to-resistance and serious external complaints: Evidence from the Orlando police department (OPD) experience utilizing a randomized controlled experiment
"Purpose: To evaluate the effect of police body-worn cameras (BWCs) on officers' response-to-resistance (R2R) incidents and serious external complaints.

Methods: A randomized experiment was used where 46 officers were randomly assigned to wear BWCs and 43 officers were randomly assigned to not wear BWCs. Pre- and post-BWC implementation outcome data was compared both between and within groups.

Results: The results suggest that BWCs are an effective tool to reduce R2R incidents and serious external complaints. Specifically, the prevalence of R2R incidents and the prevalence and frequency of serious external complaints were significantly less for officers randomly assigned to wear BWCs. Pre-post comparisons within groups demonstrated that the reduction in the prevalence of R2R incidents (53.4% reduction) and external complaints (65.4% reduction) were statistically significant for the officers who wore the BWCs, and significant reductions in the frequency of these outcomes were detected as well. Overwhelming agreement was also found among officers who wore the BWCs for the utility of BWCs to improve evidence collection and report writing and improve their behavior and police work in general by having the opportunity to review their own BWC videos.

Conclusions: Police departments would be prudent to consider adopting these devices in their agencies."
AUTHORS
Wesley G. Jennings
Mathew D. Lynch
Lorie A. Fridell
PUBLISHED
2015 in Journal of Criminal Justice

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Highly regarded source
The Effect of Police Body-Worn Cameras on Use of Force and Citizens’ Complaints Against the Police: A Randomized Controlled Trial
"Police use-of-force continues to be a major source of international concern, inviting interest from academics and practitioners alike. Whether justified or unnecessary/excessive, the exercise of power by the police can potentially tarnish their relationship with the community. Police misconduct can translate into complaints against the police, which carry large economic and social costs. The question we try to answer is: do body-worn-cameras reduce the prevalence of use-of-force and/or citizens’ complaints against the police?

Methods
We empirically tested the use of body-worn-cameras by measuring the effect of videotaping police–public encounters on incidents of police use-of-force and complaints, in randomized-controlled settings. Over 12 months, we randomly-assigned officers to “experimental-shifts” during which they were equipped with body-worn HD cameras that recorded all contacts with the public and to “control-shifts” without the cameras (n = 988). We nominally defined use-of-force, both unnecessary/excessive and reasonable, as a non-desirable response in police–public encounters. We estimate the causal effect of the use of body-worn-videos on the two outcome variables using both between-group differences using a Poisson regression model as well as before-after estimates using interrupted time-series analyses.

Results
We found that the likelihood of force being used in control conditions were roughly twice those in experimental conditions. Similarly, a pre/post analysis of use-of-force and complaints data also support this result: the number of complaints filed against officers dropped from 0.7 complaints per 1,000 contacts to 0.07 per 1,000 contacts. We discuss the findings in terms of theory, research methods, policy and future avenues of research on body-worn-videos."
AUTHORS
Barak Ariel
William A. Farrar
Alex Sutherland
PUBLISHED
2015 in Journal of Quantitative Criminology

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Highly regarded source
The impact of on-officer video cameras on police–citizen contacts: findings from a controlled experiment in Mesa, AZ
You can view the abstract at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11292-015-9237-8
AUTHORS
Justin T. Ready
Jacob T. N. Young
PUBLISHED
2015 in Journal of Experimental Criminology

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