Cameras

Police Body Cameras Reduce Violence, Says Yet Another Study

Watched cops are polite cops, and citizens too.

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Bodycameras
taser

During the "Black Lives Matter" portion of the Democratic presidential candidates debate last night, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endorsed the use of body-worn cameras on police officers. Good idea. Earlier research has found that requiring officers to wear cameras tends to reduce both police and citizen violence. In a new study by researchers at the University of South Florida, Orlando cops were randomly assigned to wear body cameras and followed for a year. The results of that study found that wearing the cameras did reduce violence. Fox News reported:

In the year before they wore body cameras, the officers used force an average of 3.5 times.

During the year after half of the officers started wearing body cameras, the use of force dropped more than 50 percent, from 3.5 to 1.6.

"The degree and nature of the decline was pretty considerable," said Wesley Jennings, Ph.D., one of the study's three authors.

The officers who did not wear cameras also had a drop in the use of force, from 3.5 to 2.2.

The number of officers who got complaints from the public saying they used too much force, dropped from .26 percent to .09 percent.

Jennings said cameras change the behavior of officers, and of those they encounter.

"Both know it is being recorded, and that the evidence is not going anywhere," said Jennings. "They are both less-inclined to escalate an event."

Jennings' team also surveyed the officers afterwards, and found that most were originally skeptical that wearing the devices would change their behavior, or the public's.

But after the year, the officers with cameras mostly wanted to keep them, while those without mostly wanted them.

"As a society, we can certainly advocate for agencies- law enforcement agencies- to adopt these body-worn cameras," said Jennings.

Yes. Back in 2013, I argued in my article, "Watched Cops Are Polite Cops," that all police should be required to wear cameras.

However, some police departments—here's looking at you LAPD—want to keep the video secret from the public. Such a policy undermines public trust and must not be allowed.

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7 responses to “Police Body Cameras Reduce Violence, Says Yet Another Study

  1. However, some police departments – here’s looking at you LAPD – want to keep the video secret from the public. Such a policy undermines public trust and must not be allowed.

    From their point of view, camera footage would show the truth, and that would undermine public trust.

  2. In the year before they wore body cameras, the officers used force an average of 3.5 times.

    During the year after half of the officers started wearing body cameras, the use of force dropped more than 50 percent, from 3.5 to 1.6.

    Why, it’s almost like some of those beatings weren’t actually necessary.

  3. Earlier research has found that requiring officers to wear cameras tends to reduce both police and citizen violence

    This seems like something that could unite both the BLM groups and conservatives. The only ones who have a reason to not be happy about it are police unions.

  4. Police officer puts on camera and then he mutters “Urge… To… Hit… And… Abuse… Subsiding… Subsiding.”

    Then he takes off his torn purple pants and dons a crisp, new uniform.

  5. Tell it to the Prairie View councilman who was tased in the back.

  6. A police body camera does not show the cop who is wearing it. We still need other video as well, and disarming the cops would go a long way in stopping their criminal violence.

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