This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.

The Costs and Benefi ts of Body-Worn Cameras

How to manage when the past meets the future.

The accelerating of technology in police work, business and personal life is dizzying. No matter how you look at it, increase in computing speed and capabilities, increase of availability of digital data transmission and speed, increase of digital storage capabilities and reduction of cost, reduction of size of mechanical items, seem to overwhelm any system. When social, cultural and legal concerns impact this technology, chaos seems to reign.

Society often wants an instant fi x to the issues they see as im- portant. During World War II, it could take weeks for reports of a major battle or sinking of a ship with the loss of thousands of souls to make it back to the U.S. Now, it is common for anyone in the world to view it as it happens.

While technology has improved, so has cost. Demands for en- hanced services drives costs up. Increased liability drives costs up. The lifecycle of technology has accelerated and to be on the cutting edge can be expensive.

For example, a small, compact low-resolution body-worn camera imported in the United States two years ago was initially listed at $200. The same model is now $15. If a department has invested in that technology initially, the costs would be 1400 per- cent more than if they waited. Plus, the resolution capabilities of that unit do not compare favorably to those available today. As technology progressed in the past few decades, video— both analog and digital—became vitally important in police work. It wasn’t enough to recount a confession in court, but it had to be written. Then it had to be recorded. And then it had to be videoed. For a while, the police were slightly ahead of the curve. We installed in-car video re- cording systems—fi rst using VHS tapes, then CDs, then DVDs, then memory cards and drive sticks. As useful and valuable as they were, they still only addressed the en- counter area directly in front of a patrol car and couldn’t follow the offi cer. We were slower to embrace the use and access of fi xed video networks; often because of technology and cost challenges. But then technology leaped ahead, with broadband and wireless connections making it easier to access and distribute. Now, most persons

58 LAW and ORDER I July 2015 By Richard Garrison

with a smartphone have the ability to video anything and transmit it instantly. But the police were stuck with in-car systems, with fi xed views that did not provide, in many cases, adequate informa- tion. We did not have and utilize what the citizens used. While police departments and other groups advocated giv- ing police offi cers what the citizens had, technology limits…and cost…stymied their development and implementation. How does a police department consider, examine, plan, adopt and execute a radically new process with equipment on the cutting edge of technology? We study and assess it.

One of the most comprehensive assessments is the Los An- geles County Sheriff’s Department “Assessment of Potential Implementation of a Personal Recording Device Program in Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Custody Facilities.” While this 620-page assessment addresses use primarily in a custodial situation, it has detailed information that would be useful to any agency looking into police body-worn cameras. In 2014, Dr. Michael D. White prepared an overview for the Department of Justice’s Offi ce of Justice Programs Diagnostic Center. In his “Police Offi cer Body-Worn Cameras: Assessing the Evidence,” various studies and research resources were re- viewed, to look at the various factors that shape the use, the success and the perceptions about body-worn cameras. There were other agencies that were evaluating body-worn cameras, including the National Institute of Justice’s “A Primer on Body-Worn Cameras for Law Enforcement” (2012), and those from the Rialto (Calif.) Po- lice Department (2013), Mesa (Ariz.) Police Department 2013, and the Phoenix (Ariz.) Police Department (2013). The fi rst comprehensive study seems to be that of the Rialto police. Police Chief Tony Farrar in 2013. The study was documented in his graduate thesis titled “The Inescapable Panopticonic Gaze: The Effect of Body-Worn Cameras on Police Use Of Force.” This study involved equipping two patrol shifts, “Exper- imental Shift” and a “Control Shift.” The Experimental Shift was equipped a high-defi nition body camera and recorded all interactions with the public. The Con- trol Shift did not use any body-worn cam- eras. Their fi ndings were that the use of body-worn cameras reduced use-of-force

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68