Criminal justice agencies have significantly increased their implementation of body-worn camera programs in the past several years in an effort to increase transparency and accountability. The number of body-worn cameras available commercially has seen a dramatic increase, with more than 60 models designed specifically for criminal justice use.
In order to provide those agencies with an overview of product availability and the rationale behind implementing body-worn camera programs, NIJ funded The John’s Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) to conduct two studies to provide criminal justice agency procurement officials and policymakers information to inform procurement and use of body-worn cameras. The study reports, respectively, A Market Survey on Body-Worn Camera Technologies and A Primer on Body-Worn Camera Technology, were released in November 2016.
A Market Survey on Body-Worn Camera Technologies provides a landscape view of the claimed key attributes of 66 commercially available body-worn camera models offered by 38 vendors and four stand-alone body-worn camera video management software systems. APL developed the information contained in this survey primarily through an Internet search, supplemented by a request for information published in the Federal Register and outreach to vendors. The attributes considered in the report include, but are not limited to: suggested retail price, weight and dimensions; capability of the body-worn camera to record footage in low light; size and weight; capability to record audio; and length of time the body-worn camera can record without the need to recharge the battery. The report contains a summary table allowing a quick side-by-side comparison of the attributes of the body-worn camera and detailed information on each camera.
A Primer on Body-Worn Camera Technology provides information to agency policymakers concerning considerations — including policy and training considerations— for integrating body-worn cameras into current systems and the legal implications associated with adoption of body-worn cameras. It also provides a summary of the information found in A Market Survey on Body-Worn Camera Technologies.
These two reports update the information provided in two earlier reports developed by ManTech International Corporation with funding by NIJ: A Primer on Body-Worn Cameras for Law Enforcement (2012) and Body-Worn Cameras for Criminal Justice: Market Survey (2014). (The 2014 ManTech market survey identified only 18 body-worn camera models.)
These two projects are part of NIJ’s larger body of work in the area of body-worn cameras.
Agencies considering implementing body-worn cameras should also take advantage of the information contained in the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Body-Worn Camera Toolkit.
About this Article
The work described in this article was supported by NIJ cooperative agreement number number 2013-MU-CX-K111, awarded to The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in cooperation with The Johns Hopkins University School of Education, Division of Public Safety Leadership.
This article is based on the reports A Market Survey on Body-Worn Camera Technologies (pdf, 410 pages) and A Primer on Body-Worn Camera Technology (pdf, 51 pages).