Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Several recent high profile incidents involving law enforcement officers have resulted in the death of a citizen. In some of these cases, the use of deadly force by police was ruled as justified only to learn later that one or more officers were not truthful about what occurred. These incidents have called into question law enforcement's legitimacy and created a demand for greater transparency by equipping officers with body-worn cameras. Body cameras can act as independent, reliable witnesses with no bias or agenda. Federal, state, and local governments have pledged millions of taxpayer dollars to implement body-worn camera programs in police departments across the world, but research has revealed mixed results on the effectiveness of body-worn cameras. Effectiveness can be defined as a reduction in use of force incidents, citizen complaints, and offender and officer injuries during apprehension situations. Data were obtained from a large police department in the Southeastern United States that began using body-worn cameras in January 2015. A purposeful sample of 3 years of data before body cameras were introduced and 3 years of data after body cameras were introduced was analyzed using an interrupted time-series design. There was a statistically significant increase in use of force incidents and offender injuries during apprehension situations. There was no statistically significant change in citizen complaints or officer injuries. This research can assist police executives and program evaluators with providing expectations and setting goals for body camera programs.