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  • Writer's pictureClayton T. Robertson

Body-Worn Cameras and Police Violence: Is There a "Civilizing Effect"?

By Clayton T. Robertson (Criminal Defense / Civil Litigation Attorney)

This article refers to recent research about whether body-worn cameras (BWCs) generally produce a "civilizing effect" in police-citizen interactions. (BWCs are the cameras worn by police officers in the field.)

Of importance, we are aware of many tragic instances in which BWCs had very little effect on "police civility," whether it's due to race or other issues, which makes this type of research all the more important to follow and scrutinize.

Moreover, in my experience as a criminal defense and civil litigation attorney, the value of BWCs also depends on whether the department consistently enforces a transparent policy regarding how and when BWCs are used, and whether all BWC footage is produced for review during the litigation process. In this way, what I call the "accountability effect" is augmented.

I'm interested in your thoughts on this timely topic as our nation struggles with much-needed criminal justice reform.

Image by John Hain from Pixabay


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