POLICE Magazine

SEP 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

Issue link: https://policemag.epubxp.com/i/1022864

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Page 74 of 136

It can be argued—and with much validity—that the introduction of body-worn cam- eras in the last decade has had more impact on American policing than any other tool since the car radio. ey have changed the way evidence is collected, the policies of many law enforcement agencies, the way the media covers controversial police inci- dents, the way the public interacts with officers, and, in some cases, the way officers interact with the public. e editors of POLICE Magazine wanted to know more about the impact of body cameras on our readers, so we sent them a survey last month. Response was not strong enough to be definitive, but it does provide some insight into how body cameras are be- ing used, where they are being used, their upside, their downside, and how officers feel about the devices. e first question was an elimination test. It asked respondents if they have had expe- rience wearing body cameras while serving as law enforcement officers. And it showed that body camera usage has yet to reach critical mass. Out of 779 respondents, only 422 or 54% said they have worn body cams on the job. e rest of the responses came from those 422 officers. Body cameras have become so important in contemporary law enforcement in a very short time that of the readers who responded that they are using them, 81% said they were required to use them by their agency. at puts these devices in the same category as uniforms and radios and duty guns. ey are mandatory kit. We also wanted to know how long the agencies where our readers work have fielded cameras. e most popular answer was three to less than five years, followed by one year to less than two years. is shows that the technology became widely accepted in the last five years and many agencies have only recently implemented their body cam programs. But some officers were using body cameras on the job even before their agencies started mandating them. Nearly 20% of respondents said they had used a personally 72 POLICE SEPTEMBER 2018 PHOTO: © LEONARD ORTIZ/ THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER VIA ZUMA WIRE) BODY CAMERAS WE ASKED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS WHO WEAR BODY CAMERAS ON THE JOB TO GIVE US INSIGHT INTO WHAT IT'S LIKE, AND THEY TOLD US THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY. DAVID GRIFFITH EXCLUSIVE POLICE SURVEY:

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