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Body Cameras Prove to Decrease Police Use of Force

The growing trend of abuse of power by police officials may have taken a step for the better. One study reveals that the use of body cameras can actually reduce police use of force.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, involved the members of the Rialto, CA police force, whose officers were given cameras to record all stages of police-public interaction.

Police One cites that officers were selected at random to wear or not wear TASER HD Axon Flex video/audio cameras during their 12-hour shifts. With the exception of incidents involving sexual assaults of minors and interactions with police informants, officers were instructed to have their cameras on at all times. Almost 1,000 shifts were recorded and monitored in total.

Results showed that the police use of force (UOF) rate decreased by 58% with a total of only 25 incidents during the experimental period. The number of citizen complaints also dropped significantly, declining as much as 88%.

As of 2013, around 75% of police departments were not using body-worn cameras. That number is expected to decrease with departments all over the country implementing body cameras.

WVXU reports that Cincinnati Police Department will begin deploying body-worn cameras beginning on August 1. One district at a time, the body cameras will begin to hit the streets through the end of the year.

The department will use the TASER Axon Body 2 camera, 700 of which have been reserved for patrol officers. The city is looking for funding for an addition 400, in order to provide all officers with the cameras.

The body cameras will start with central business districts one through four, then move on to the traffic unit, the gang enforcement squad and canine handlers.

“Putting cameras on officers is the easy part,” said Sergeant Ryan Smith. “We could honestly probably do this in a little over a month if we had to. How we handle all this video behind the scenes, that will be what makes or breaks not only our body camera program but programs across the United States.”

The videos from the cameras will be stored in an off-site cloud system on a secure server. The videos will be held for 90 days unless necessary for investigative purposes. Instead of being burned onto DVDs, an e-mail link to the videos will be available to lawyers, the media, and the public.

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