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Criminal Justice


David Milen


The research problem that this study addressed was how police officers perceive policing has been impacted by the implementation of body-worn cameras. The research was purposed to allow police officers to articulate how law enforcement has been altered due to the implementation of the devices. This qualitative study was guided by Lipsky’s street-level bureaucratic theory in which police officers have the autonomy to use discretion when enforcing the law. The methodology used was a qualitative research approach to retrieve data of 34 participants from four different police departments who responded to 10 open-ended survey questions on the SurveyMonkey website. The identities of the participants were anonymous. For inclusion in the study participants were required to be currently employed as police officers, have been employed as officers 2-10 years prior to the implementation of body-worn cameras, and have had experience wearing the devices. Data was analyzed by using NVivo 12 computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software. Four major themes emerged that revealed body-worn cameras have inhibited the officers use of discretion. Although, body-worn cameras are ever-present, issues between police officers and citizens still persist. A key result was that often minor infractions that ordinarily would have warranted a verbal response are now receiving a more substantial response due to the presence of body-worn cameras. Positive social change would manifest by bridging the gap between the community and the police department as well as fostering a renewed trust and respect for the profession.

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