Police body cameras have been hailed as the key to improving both transparency in law enforcement as well as relationships with the communities police serve, but recent research suggests the technology, so far, hasn’t lived up to expectations.
That’s according to a new report from the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University. Researchers, according to Governing, reviewed 70 studies on the effects of police body cameras and found much of the research remains mixed at a time when departments are increasingly adopting the technology—including the Baton Rouge Police Department.
“There is an incongruence between people’s expectations of cameras, police expectations of cameras and what they think they’re being used for,” says Cynthia Lum, the center’s director and a co-author of the report.
While six of the studies reviewed found officers wearing cameras were less likely to use force, eight other studies suggested no significant effects on use of force, which, as Governing suggests, has been a top reason behind the push for body cameras.
The cameras, however, do appear to have had an impact on citizen complaints. The majority of studies suggest officers with body cameras received fewer complaints than those without, according to Governing. Although the reasons remain unclear, officers suggest citizens are “less likely to file unfounded complaints” when they know incidents are recorded.
Also worth noting, police cameras are impacting criminal investigations, but not in the way people may have anticipated. While the technology was thought to lead to more prosecutions of police misconduct, some research shows the cameras are instead used more often in the prosecution of citizens.
Read the story here.