A new massive study has been released that centers on the use of police body-worn cameras (BWCs), and much to the chagrin of those who love to vilify the police, it found BWCs have no detectable, meaningful effect on documented uses of force incidents or civilian complaints.
Guess what that means? It means in most cases, officers are behaving reasonably and appropriately when they use force.
The largest similar study prior to the new one, revolved around a 2013 experiment using 54 officers from Rialto, California. But the new study examined 2,224 Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers in Washington, D.C.
According to the study, the researchers “compared officers randomly assigned to wear BWCs to officers in the control condition who did not wear BWCs. The primary outcomes of interest were documented uses of force and civilian complaints.
The researchers assessed the outcome of BWC’s in four ways:
Police use of force, based on officers’ self-reported use of force, which included all use of force incidents.
Outcome measures related to civilian complaints.
A policing activity category including traffic tickets and warnings issued, reports taken from particular types of calls for service, arrests on specific charges (e.g., disorderly conduct, traffic violations, assaults against a police officer), and injuries sustained by officers in the line of duty.
The effects of BWCs on judicial outcomes, measured by whether MPD arrest charges were prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) or the Office of the Attorney General (OAG).
The study examined officers receiving BWCs between late June 2015 to May 2016.