Body-Worn Cameras in the Post-Ferguson Era: An Exploration of Law Enforcement Perspectives

  • Seth Wyatt FallikEmail author
  • Ross Deuchar
  • Vaughn J. Crichlow


In the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri, confidence in police has weakened. Body-worn cameras (BWCs) are perceived to increase law enforcement transparency and accountability, and, by proxy, restore law enforcement legitimacy. Though the empirical status of BWCs has grown in recent years, missing from these accounts are the actual words and narratives of officers. Through a qualitative approach, the data and analysis within this paper overcome this issue and indicate that BWCs have had an impact on police–citizen interactions in one Southern American State. More specifically, citizen and officer accountability from BWCs was found to have positive and negative consequence. Officers articulated this supposition in a number of ways and the paper contextualizes these perspectives within the extant literature. The policy implications and areas of future research from these findings are discussed as they inform a non-positivist approach to research.


Body-worn cameras BWC Ferguson Ethnography Qualitative interviewing Procedural justice 



This study was funded, in part, by the Fulbright Scholar Program of the United States Department of State Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Society for Police and Criminal Psychology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, College for Design and Social InquiryFlorida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA
  2. 2.Interdisciplinary Research Unit on Crime, Policing and Social Justice, School of EducationUniversity of the West of ScotlandAyrScotland

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