Body-worn cameras: can they improve police accountability and transparency?




Reiss, Charles

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)


Body worn cameras are one-way police departments across the country are using new technologies. The use of these cameras have some people excited about how they might bring changes to policing, but there are some people who are concerned about the use of them. The benefits of using body-worn cameras could be fewer complaints against officers, better evidence collection, and testimony for court, better training, officers and citizens behaving better knowing they are on camera, and the cameras would always be with the officer so it would catch all of their interactions with citizens. Two of the main reasons for having officers wear body cameras are to improve officer accountability and agency transparency. Some concerns of using body worn cameras are the expense to purchase them, the cost of storing the media, privacy for citizens, especially in their own homes, and privacy for police officers. There are solutions for these concerns and police departments need to conduct research to find out how to resolve these concerns. Agencies also need to research the available types of body cameras to see what would work the best for their agency. Law enforcement agencies should implement a strong policy on the use of the cameras to make sure they are in accordance with any state laws prior to using the cameras.


Examines the issues of body-worn cameras and the possible benefits and the concerns of privacy. What policy should law enforcement agencies implement when body cameras are worn.


body cameras, wearable video devices in police work, police community relations