Published: Sun, October 22, 2017
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Body cameras have no effect on use of police force

Body cameras have no effect on use of police force

Well, the results are in, and they don't look promising for police bodycams being the end all be all in stopping police abuse and brutality.

The study - the most robust and long-running on the subject to date - found that there was no indication that officers outfitted with cameras acted any differently, used less force, or received fewer citizen complaints. Meaning, police abuse is about the same as it has always been, even with the body cameras being worn by officers.

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"It's going to be a win-win for both the officers and the citizens because now we're going to have a fully recorded interaction, whether it be a traffic stop or a suspect stop or investigating a crime". "I think a lot of people were suggesting that the body-worn cameras would change behavior". If the goal of the expense of body cameras is to curtail officer misconduct, the study indicates they will not.

"Not only does it offer greater transparency, it has allowed us to evaluate split-second decisions officers are making to improve our training", said D.C. police chief Peter Newsham. There also wasn't a significant effect on prosecutions in courts between the arresting officers who wore the cameras and those who didn't. These included that study outcomes reflect increased awareness between colleagues of who is wearing a camera and who isn't, the unique nature of policing in the nation's capital, as well as misuse of the cameras by officers.

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Another possibility is that use-of-force issues before body cameras were employed went largely unreported, and declined after cameras were added. In 2001, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Justice Department agreed to a number of departmental reforms.

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