Police Officers’ Perceptions of Body-Worn Cameras in Buffalo and Rochester
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Police body-worn cameras have been advanced as a solution to disparate perceptions among the citizenry, public officials, community leaders, and the police themselves in the highly contested arena of police-citizen encounters. As with previous innovations in policing it is important that programs or policies developed for street-level application be planned in advance, and the opinions of police officers should be understood prior to implementation. This study provides survey responses from police officers in Buffalo and Rochester regarding their perceptions of body-worn cameras. Survey items were borrowed from prior research in Phoenix and Los Angeles. It also included items intended to measure the officer’s opinions about examining camera images prior to writing a report, an issue that is the subject of some disagreement among policy makers. Findings suggest similar attitudes toward body cameras not only among Buffalo and Rochester police officers, but also with police officers in other agencies. Almost all respondents agree or strongly agree that police officers should have the ability to review body camera images prior to writing a report. The policy implications of this finding are discussed.
KeywordsBody-worn cameras Policing Technology Police discretion
The authors would like to thank Laurie Buonnano, Sarah Mullin, Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda and Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli, Captain Kevin Costello, John Klofus, John McCluskey and Craig Uchida for their assistance in providing survey items, administrative support, and assorted guidance and help in the completion of this study. We would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their extremely helpful comments that that substantially improved this paper.
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