There has been a dramatic increase in the criminal justice use of body worn cameras (BWCs) in recent years.
The purpose of these NIJ-sponsored reports is to assist public safety and criminal justice practitioners who may be considering the acquisition, integration, and implementation of BWCs.
BWCs can be used by law enforcement personnel to record a variety of incidents, including traffic stops, sobriety tests, interviews, and arrests. BWCs have a microphone, battery, and internal data storage to allow audio and video footage to be stored and analyzed with compatible software. There are now over 60 different body worn cameras produced specifically for law enforcement use.
The research provides results from a recent market survey and considerations for implementing BWCs into current systems, such as data storage, policy, and legal implications.
The market survey identified 66 BWC products manufactured by 38 vendors.
From this market survey, researchers found that there are many more vendors now that sell BWC products as compared to previous market surveys; the new technological BWC features prompt the strong need for clear policies; and BWCs is an evolving area of law that is currently unclear.
The research also found that vendors are developing and fine-tuning next-generation BWC features, such as facial recognition, weapons detection, and more automated analytics.
The research suggests that agencies implementing BWC technology should consider agency objectives, financial policy, and legal implications. Researchers advise that while a law enforcement agency can purchase the best equipment available, without proper policies and guidance having BWCs may become more of a problem than a solution.
These reports were authored by Vivian Hung, Esq., Steven Babin, M.D., Ph.D., and Jacqueline Coberly, Ph.D.