How Body Cameras Affect Community Members’ Perceptions of Police

Brief

How Body Cameras Affect Community Members’ Perceptions of Police

Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial of One Agency's Pilot

Abstract

Members of the public often do not accurately remember whether police officers with whom they interact are wearing body-worn cameras. Yet despite this poor recall, this randomized controlled trial of body camera use in one jurisdiction finds that community members are more satisfied with police encounters when the officer is wearing a body camera. The brief examines camera use for an entire six-month pilot implementation period in 2015. While application of procedurally just practices is associated with greater levels of resident satisfaction with police than just wearing a camera, combining the two produces even higher ratings of police. These findings suggest that policies on camera use may enhance the technology’s ability to improve interactions between police and the public.
The following note was added to figure 3 (page 8) on August 7, 2017: "Because camera activation data are averaged by officer for the entire six-month pilot period, these analyses do not assess any increase in the department’s camera activation rate over time. Analysis examining changes in activation rates over time is included in a forthcoming publication.”

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