Beyond the Device: Examining Body Worn Camera Programs and Policies in Texas



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The purpose of this paper is twofold. The first purpose is to examine the quantitative aspects of police department body-worn camera utilization as of November 2020. The second part is to conduct a policy content analysis of body-worn camera policies from police departments in the state of Texas. The current dissertation utilized both survey data from 740 police departments on their adoption and utilization of bodyworn cameras across the state of Texas, and 218 body-worn camera policies from a sample of those 740 agencies. The dissertation used a mixed-methods approach to better capture a complete picture of the current state of body-worn camera programs in Texas. The results for the descriptive analyses from the quantitative portion show most police agencies who responded (85%) employ body-worn cameras to their officers. Of those agencies, 95% employ cameras to over 75% of their officers. The results for the remaining quantitative analyses point towards the need for additional policy analyses. The qualitative analyses showed BWC policy contents and their specific wordings and how they varied between multiple agency types and sizes. The conclusions and implications showed the importance of increased standardization of body-worn camera policies, of specific wording within policies and how they depict discretionary points, and of the examination of multiple agency types and sizes within police policy analyses.



Sociology; Criminology and Penology