ASU Research Focuses On Best Practices For Police Body Cameras

By Jimmy Jenkins
Published: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 8:47am
Updated: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 11:07am
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(Photo by Alexandra Olgin - KJZZ)

As police departments nationwide move forward with body camera programs, they may find a lack of peer-reviewed information on how to implement them. Researchers from Arizona State University are hoping to fill that void.

The rapid adoption of body cameras by police departments across the country has led some law enforcement officials to seek out a system of best practices.

At the request of the White House and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, researchers from Arizona State University evaluated the use of body cameras at the Phoenix Police Department over the course of 18 months.

“We placed 50 body worn cameras in one squad and we used another squad to compare and we found that there were a number of positive outcomes as a result of the use of body cameras," said Charles Katz, director of the Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety at ASU.

He said they saw an increase in charges filed in domestic violence cases and a decrease in complaints against police officers.

But Katz warns there is a substantial downside to the body cameras.

“All this video that comes in it’s going to have to be reviewed by somebody if a prosecutor is going to move a case forward and that’s going to take an enormous amount of time and it’s going to raise some real cost issues down the line," Katz said.

The researchers compiled their findings in an online toolkit with sections on training, technology and privacy issues for all police departments to use.