COPS Releases Guidance on Deploying Body-Worn Cameras

Report analyzes the costs and benefits associated with the use of on-body video surveillance.

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has released “Implementing a Body-Worn Camera Program: Recommendations and Lessons Learned” for law enforcement agencies considering the purchase and deployment of officers wearing video cameras.

“Body-worn cameras can help improve the high-quality public service expected of police officers and promote the perceived legitimacy and sense of procedural justice that communities have about their police departments,” says Chuck Wexler, executive director for the Police Executive Research Forum. “Furthermore, departments that are already deploying body-worn cameras tell us that the presence of cameras often improves the performance of officers as well as the conduct of the community members who are recorded . This is an important advance in policing . And when officers or members of the public break the law or behave badly, body-worn cameras can create a public record that allows the entire community to see what really happened.”

Related: Realizing the True Value of Today’s Megapixel Camera’s

The report provides recommendations on how departments can balance competing legitimate interests, such as the public’s interest in seeing body-worn camera footage versus the interests of crime victims who would prefer not to have their images disseminated.

Topics covered include determining when to record, consent to record, recording inside private residences, how to store and disclose video, addressing officer concerns about the technology, costs of implementation, training and more.

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