Published: Sat, October 21, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Body Cameras Don't Have An Effect On Use Of Force

Body Cameras Don't Have An Effect On Use Of Force

In every outcome measured, the body-worn cameras showed no detectable effect on the use of force, civilian complaints, or disorderly conduct between those who wore the cameras and those who did not.

Last September, when Maryland resident Terrence Sterling was fatally shot by police in NW DC, the officer who shot Sterling failed to turn his body-worn camera on until after the shooting.

The results of the largest body-worn camera study in the United States contradicts the widespread expectation that constant filming of police officers results in fewer incidents involving force.

The news doesn't come as a surprise to everyone; technology and social justice experts like Harlan Yu point out that most footage of violent police encounters comes from bystanders' cell phones anyway.

The company continued to delay the release date, so Chief Kral decided he couldn't wait any longer to have all officers equipped with body cameras.

The D.C. research looked at a period where the police force was rolling out its body camera program - and some officers had the cameras while others were still waiting.

Now, 304 cameras are in service on the chests or shoulders of all Toledo officers patrolling the streets.

Newsham, the chief, said the biggest benefit of cameras has been having a clear record in controversial incidents, such as a December 25, 2016, fatal police shooting of a man during a domestic dispute. The previous administration made it seem as if these cameras would fix the "problem" of police brutality, but of course, they have not. Currently, neither the Rockford Police Department of Winnebago County Sheriff's Police use body cameras because of the expense involved. "There's also discipline that takes place when an officer does not engage the camera the way they're supposed to", he said.

Despite this study's results, the nation's capital has no plans to get rid of its cameras, according to Newsham.

The grant and matching contributions will help cover the initial purchase of cameras for all officers and deputies working in a patrol function, as well as the ongoing cost of digital evidence storage for two years.

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