EVERYONE IS DOING IT: THE EFFECTIVENESS OF BODY-WORN CAMERAS BEYOND RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIALS
Lawler, Robert M.
Rollins, John W.
Dahl, Erik J.
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is at a decisional crossroads regarding body-worn camera implementation. Although the technology has gained widespread acceptance in the law enforcement community, there is a tremendous amount of conflicting information surrounding its efficacy. Neither the academic, nor civil liberty, nor law enforcement communities have examined the effectiveness of body-worn cameras in isolation or attempted to determine whether other police reforms accomplish the same goals. This thesis addresses whether CBP should adopt body-worn cameras. The author employed a comparative case study methodology to examine the impact of the technology within the context of other reform initiatives in two major police departments in which randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of body-worn cameras produced differing results. One RCT showed that the technology reduced the use of force and complaints while the other did not. By examining the effectiveness of other police reform initiatives in these departments before and after body-worn camera implementation, this research concludes that the technology has not been more effective at reducing the use of force or complaints than other reform measures. This thesis expands the body-worn camera discussion beyond the results of RCTs and places it in the broader context of police reform.
Approved for public release. distribution is unlimitedReissued 13 Mar 2019 with corrections to list of acronyms and abbreviations.
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