Date of Conferral
A need for more transparency and accountability of police misconduct was obvious from citizen' complaints and media coverage of inhumane actions of law enforcement offers unequipped with body-worn cameras (BWCs). With the fatalities of citizens by law enforcement on the rise, it was incumbent upon the officials in two communities to deliver measures to improve citizens' perceptions of police officers' use of BWCs and how much trust the citizens have in the use of these instruments, as a whole. The purpose of this study was to explore citizens' confidence levels, sense of safety, and perception of civility when police officers use body cameras. The two research questions asked how has being made aware of the usage of BWCs by law enforcement impacted the perception of rural area citizens, and what is the perception of law enforcement officers' usage of BWCs among rural area citizens? The theoretical framework for this study was the self-awareness theory. Data were collected via interviews The data were collected and coded for analysis. Coded data were generated from responses in face to face interviews of participants. Themes were developed from key words in the context and word repetition. Seven main themes were created. The findings of the research show that the usage of body-worn cameras is wanted by citizens in small rural cities and the citizens have a positive perception of officers who utilize body-worn cameras. The results of the study have substantial implication for social change and suggest the people are calling for the use of BWC's by law enforcement officers to aid in increased transparency and trust in police officers on patrol. By carrying out this research, I was able to validate the perception of the citizens.