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Body-Worn Cameras and Citizen Interactions With Police Officers: Estimating Plausible Effects Given Varying Compliance Levels

NCJ Number
Date Published
E. C. Hedberg, Charles M. Katz, David E. Choate
This article reports on a study that estimated two measures of effectiveness of police equipped with body-worn cameras (BWCs) by comparing incidents that occurred in a squad assigned BWCs to those of a control squad without BWCs.
Recent citizen deaths involving police use of force have increased discussion about police accountability and community relations. One piece of this discussion is the use of BWCs by officers. Unfortunately, little rigorous research has been conducted to estimate the effectiveness of BWCs in reducing problematic police-citizen interactions. Overall, the study found that BWCs had no effect on the rate of arrest or resistance, but did substantially reduce citizen complaints against police. The study first estimated the effect of being assigned a BWC (but not necessarily using the camera) on reducing complaints and resistance associated with incidents. Second, it collected and examined data on BWC use to estimate the effect of cameras if they were used with full compliance. Together, these two estimates provide a plausible range of effectiveness that policymakers can expect from BWCs. (Publisher abstract modified)
Date Created: June 26, 2018