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PUBLISHING

Captain Juliette Scioneaux, St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office, Team Leader
Major Roy Gros, Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office
Captain Donald Smith, St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office
Captain Donald Juneau, South Louisiana Floor Protection Authority East
Lieutenant Clint Cadenhead, Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office

National Command and Staff College, Session #001

June 2018

Abstract

This study delves into the implementation of a body-worn camera program which any average size law enforcement agency could implement. We first examined the history of the body-worn camera and how the technology evolved.  It is important to note that there has been events around the United States that have led to a strong push that all law enforcement officers to wear body-worn cameras.  Next, we explored the pros and cons of agencies that equip their personnel with body-worn cameras.  Some of the positive components highlighted in the literature include officer safety, a reduction in citizen complaints against police officers, and transparency between the police and the community they serve.  Some negative factors include costs, privacy, officer trust, and a limited view captured by a body-worn camera.  Even with the laying out the pros and cons, for the implementation of body-worn cameras to be successful, it comes down to the leadership of the agency.  We contend that strong, ethical and adaptive leadership will lead to a successful program.  Therefore, it is important that leaders light the way toward strategically managed change and innovation that respond pro-actively to new opportunities and future-trend threats  (Anderson et al., 2017).

Body Cameras: Guilty or Not Guilty? 
The Implementation of Body Cameras through Leadership

 

The following police transmission narrative is from Texas State Police. Unit #1123 is about to make a traffic stop on Southbound I-37 near U.S. 287, in Ellis County Texas. Date and time is early Sunday morning, May 21st, 2018, at approximately 1:30 a.m. (“Lawyer apologizes….” 2018, para. 2)

 

“1123 WACO to HQ.”

“Go ahead 1123 WACO.”

“1123 WACO….I am following a white colored vehicle, possible one occupant; vehicle is driving on the shoulder of the road.”

“1123 WACO…..I have activated my emergency lights and sirens, vehicle is refusing to pull over.” (Stated distance of following the suspect vehicle, not stopping, was 3 miles.)

“1123 WACO….I will be stepping out on traffic, Highway 35, Ellis County. White Chevy Malibu, passenger vehicle, one African American female driver.”

 

Texas State Trooper Daniel Hubbard, Unit #1123 WACO, uses his patrol field experience and identifies the probable cause to stop this vehicle and its driver for the infraction of Reckless Operation. He asks the driver, identified as Sherita Dixon-Cole, to perform the steps of a standardized Field Sobriety Test. During this field test, Trooper Hubbard identifies that driver Dixon fails the Field Sobriety Test. Probable cause is established, scene investigation steps are performed and Trooper Hubbard mirandizes and performs a constitutional arrest of vehicle operator Sherita Cole-Dixon for Driving While Intoxicated.

This arrest is a textbook law enforcement procedure. For all identifiable purposes, the arrest is without complication. The following day, without the proof of any substantiated claim, arrested subject Sherita Dixon-Cole accuses Trooper Daniel Hubbard of “sexually assaulting” her during his arrest procedure. Cole also accused the officer of fondling, groping and sexually assaulting her on the way to jail. (“Lawyer apologizes…..” 2018, para.7) These accusations spread worldwide after Civil Rights Activist Shaun King, who has almost 3 million followers on Twitter, claimed that Ms. Sherita Dixon-Cole’s statements were “factual.” (“Lawyer apologizes….” 2018, para.11)

Did Trooper Daniel Hubbard sexually assault Ms. Sherita Dixon? Or was Trooper Hubbard completely professional in the execution of his arrest procedure, without violating the rights and physical nature of Ms. Sherita Dixon-Cole? But, how do we know?

Across the United States, law enforcement officers are held to ideals of excellence through the professional standards of integrity, truth and transparency. The inherent truth of any arrest situation is based on the body of evidence for each and every cause of police action. This “body” of evidence, can either be substantiated, or exonerated, by the use of wearable Body Cameras. 

 Therefore, it begs the following question:  Should police officers wear body cameras, and if so, are they a feasible tool to reduce liabilities for the individual officer and the affiliated agency?  How did the leadership of the Texas State Police respond to this accusation?  There are   pros and cons to any piece of equipment used in public safety. This study will first show the advantages and disadvantages of body-worn cameras.  Secondly, this study will show the role leadership has to play in the successful implementation of a body-worn camera program.

 

History of Police Body-Worn Cameras

Great Britain was the first country to utilize body-worn cameras and executed a successful program a decade before the United States introduced the cameras.  The first documented agency to use body-worn cameras was the Rialto Police Department, in California.  This agency launched a year-long study in February 2012, in part because Chief Tony Farrar was a graduate student and this study became a part of his research paper.  There was some hesitation at first by Chief Farrar, saying he thought the cameras would be used to punish police instead of helping them. However, it did not take much time for him to do an about-face, and adapt to the positive changes that were occurring for his agency and community.  “I think it protects me more than it protects the public,” he told America Tonight.  Roughly, half of its fifty-four uniformed patrol officers were equipped with body-worn cameras at any given time.  The results they discovered from the use of the body-worn cameras were remarkable.  The Rialto Police Department saw an 88% decline in complaints against officers and use-of-force incidents plummeted 60%. (“In California…” 2013, para.5)

Social Movement

            Events that have been occurring in the United States for the past 5 years have created a social movement towards law enforcement agencies purchasing or looking into purchasing body-worn cameras.  The movement towards police wearing body cameras causes the police to be more aware of their behaviors and acts as a deterrent for the police committing crimes.  (“Rise of Police….” 2014, para.1)    In 2012, NYPD starts to use body cameras after their stop-and-frisk practices are ruled unconstitutional.  In 2013, LAPD began testing body cameras at the request of their civilian-run Police Commission.  (“Rise of Police….” 2014, para.2)  The use of police body-worn cameras took a huge turn on August 9, 2014.  On this day, Michael Brown, an 18 year old, African-American male, from Ferguson, Missouri was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson. (“Profoundly disappointed…..” 2014, para.1)   Officer Wilson was not wearing a body camera during this incident.  Wilson observed Michael Brown and a friend on the street, and Michael Brown matched the description of a suspect in a convenience store robbery from earlier in that day.  As Officer Wilson interacted with two individuals, an altercation ensued between Officer Wilson and Michael Brown.  Ultimately, Officer Wilson fired upon Michael Brown, who was unarmed; Michael Brown did not survive.  Michael Brown’s family drove the issue of body cameras into a focal point of national attention, which they stressed after a grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson. (“Profoundly disappointed…..” 2014, para.1)

            Advocates for police reform are championing police body cameras as a tool to hold police departments accountable. (“Rise of Police….” 2014, para.2)  The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico requested Albuquerque City Council to pass legislation requiring all officers to use cameras. (“Rise of Police….” 2014, para.2) The Michael Brown incident also gained national attention and the ACLU voiced their concerns involving the police body cameras and the policy that governs the wearing of body cameras.  The ability of the officer to turn the camera on and off on certain occasions cause concerns.  The privacy of individuals being recorded in their homes raised another issue.  The ACLU offered several suggestions for policy to make sure there was accountability on the police. (“Rise of Police….” 2014, para.3)    Proponents of body cameras want transparency and accountability.  Skeptics of body cameras argue that the cameras are not enough to hold the police accountable.  Both sides of the body-worn camera issue will continue to argue their beliefs.  (“Rise of Police….” 2014, para.3)

The Michael Brown incident initiated the campaign to ensure that every law enforcement officer working the streets in the United States wears a body camera.  This incident also started a tremendous public outreach of support for the use of this technology.  But, law enforcement agencies struggled with finding ways to deal with the expense, privacy, liability, just to name a few, concerning this technology.  Despite these factors, law enforcement agencies throughout the United States are utilizing body-worn cameras more than ever before.(“LAPD to soon…” 2014, para.3)

Advantages of Police Body-Worn Cameras

            During the early 1990’s, in-car dashboard cameras emerged as a tool to capture real-time encounters between law enforcement and citizens.  There was an initial resistance to the camera systems due to “Big Brother” concerns.  Now in-car cameras have become the norm in the law enforcement community.  Because of the wide spread use of in-car camera systems, there have been several studies conducted that looked into the benefits of using in-car camera systems.  One study (Pilant 1995) found that the use of in-car camera systems increased officer safety and accountability, while reducing an agency’s liability.  The benefits offered by the use of in-car camera systems are well known and law enforcement agencies have embraced the technology. 

            The newest technology to capture real-time encounters between law enforcement and citizens is body-worn cameras.  One of the limitations to the use of in-car camera systems is the fixed view of the camera.  If an officer moves out of view of the camera, whatever action is taking place will not be captured.  Another disadvantage to the use of in-car camera systems depends on how far the officer is from where the camera system is mounted. Audio may not be recorded if the officer moves out of range of the transmitter.  The result is that no audio/video of the event was captured.  The use of body-worn cameras, an officer’s actions will be recorded (audio/video) since the camera system is attached to the officer.  There are several advantages to the use of body-worn cameras. These advantages mirror the proven advantages of the use of in-car camera systems, such as a recording of the entire event.  The implementation of body-worn cameras has overcome the inherent deficiencies of an in-car camera system with various benefits and advantages

Officer Safety

            One advantage to the implementation of body-worn cameras is officer safety. (Goodall, 2007) The use of body-worn cameras impact officer safety by improving the behavior of citizens when they encounter by law enforcement.   If an individual knows he or she is recorded, it could alter the individual’s behavior so they are more respectful and compliant with the officer.  This would reduce the need for the use of force, protecting the individual and the officer from injury.  A 2017 study conducted by the University of Nevada Las Vegas Center for Crime and Justice Policy found officers with body-worn cameras had fewer incidents of uses of force than their control group counterparts. The percent of officers with body-worn cameras that generated at least one report for use of force decreased from 31.2% to 19.7%. By comparison, the percent of officers in the control group that generated at least one report for use of force increased from 26.3% to 27.3%. This study is one of only a few that has been conducted, and it appears that the use of body-worn cameras can increase officer safety by decreasing use of force incidents.

Reduction of Complaints and Lawsuits

            Another advantage to the use of body-worn cameras is the reduction of unsubstantiated citizen’s complaints and the reduction of lawsuits. (“Wearing a badge….” 2013) The old adage, “the camera doesn’t lie”, is very true.  When there is no other witness to an event present, it becomes the officer’s word against the citizens.  Body-worn cameras are an unbiased witness to the event and can help quickly exonerate the officer if an unsubstantiated complaint is made.  Body-worn cameras not only exonerate officers during the complaint process, but reduces the amount of time and resources spent investigating officer/citizen contacts that generate complaints and lawsuits. (“Wearing a badge….” 2013)  

Increased Transparency

Creating a sense of transparency within the community is another benefit to having body-worn cameras.  The public demands transparency and the use of body-worn cameras will increase transparency and decrease officer misconduct. According to the Harvard Law Review (2015), the benefits may lead to improved relations between the police and the communities they serve, assuming body cameras do in fact result in more respectful officer behavior and the disciplining of those officers who abuse their power.  Especially if citizens are able to request footage of their encounters with the police, or if departments willingly release footage of disputed incidents, the current climate of distrust may improve.  That so many Americans feel they would be safer if all police officers wore body cameras speak to this technology’s potential to increase accountability and transparency. (128 Harv. L. Rev. 1794)  Improving officer behavior should be the goal of any police agency.  While the use of body-worn cameras may have a positive impact on citizen behavior towards the officer, the opposite of that is true. The officer’s behavior will be impacted because the officer knows he or she is being recorded.  If officer misconduct occurs, the use of the body-worn camera’s video could be used to take corrective action against the officer.  The video could further be used as a training tool for other officers.

In summary, technological advances have allowed police departments to purchase and implement protocol for using in-car cameras and body-worn cameras; thus having the ability to provide footage to the public/media with a video account of an incident.  Many law enforcement agencies have initiated revisions and updated their use of force and civil disturbance response training programs, to better align with the current public expectations.

Disadvantages and Concerns of Police Body-Worn Cameras

            Some of the perceived disadvantages of police body cameras are citizen and police officer privacy, the video’s point of view is limited to what the camera can see, major training and policy requirements, malfunctions and errors in the operation of cameras, and major money and resource requirements.

Privacy

One of the major concerns of recording interactions between police and citizens is privacy. On one hand, the cameras are supposed to make the police more transparent.  On the other hand, should the public just be able to freely view the footage without first determining if there is any sensitive or confidential footage as well? A police “watchdog” group might put in a request for video footage of an incident they witnessed where they did not agree with the officer’s actions. A member of that “watchdog” group may then upload that video to YouTube. If the victim views the video on YouTube, they might get embarrassed to see that their face has been plastered all over the internet. They would also have to relive the incident becoming victimized once again for the same incident. This could be very traumatic for a victim of a horrible incident as well as their family, friends, co-workers, and place of employment. Another example is, if a neighbor is wondering why the police stopped at Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s house down the street the other night, they can go down to police records and request the video footage and see for themselves. On the other hand, if the public is not able to freely view video records of police activity captured by the body-worn cameras, then the program failed to serve intended purpose of increasing transparency of law enforcement agencies.

            One way that we can protect an officer’s privacy during their private conversations would be that the body cameras could always be on the recording, but without audio. When an officer double-clicks the recorder, the prior 30-seconds of video is recorded and then the audio would begin. Critics of body-worn cameras have cited numerous concerns over citizen privacy. First, the National Institute of Justice Guide (ManTech 2012, pg.7) notes that “Federal law blocks the warrantless capturing of photo or video images of people where they have an expectation of privacy and most states have similar laws.”  A number of states require two-party consent before a lawful recording of private conversations. The National Institute of Justice guide (ManTech 2012, pg.7) states that “When using body-worn cameras, considerations on whether or not audio recording is allowed during video recording will require specific research prior to purchasing or even piloting devices.”  For example, in September 2011, the Seattle Police Department determined that the use of body-worn cameras would violate Washington state law. (Rosenberg,  2011, para.4)

            Washington State law bars audio recording of private conversations without the consent of all directly involved. Unauthorized recording exposes police to potential civil suits. State law does allow an exception for dashboard-mounted cameras in police cars, but not body-worn cameras on police officers. The city law department has informed the police department that “it would be unwise to implement a body-worn camera program without first obtaining a legislative exception to the Washington Privacy Act” (Rosenberg,  2011, para.4).

 

Limitations of Body-Worn Cameras

 Police have noted that the body-worn camera only captures everything in its limited view and which may or may not include people who are involved in a particular incident. Skeptics have also suggested that citizens, including witnesses and confidential informants, may be less willing to provide information to police, knowing that the encounter is recorded and can be viewed by others at a later time.

Resistance to Body-Worn Cameras

Some resistance to body-worn cameras has come from officers themselves.  These concerns have echoed the response to dashboard cameras in the 1990s. (Pilant, 1995, pg.30-31) Officers expressed concerns over the potential for supervisors to go on unsolicited “fishing expeditions” in an effort to find behavior that will get an officer into trouble. (White, 2013, pg.28)  The response from the NYPD following the judicial order to deploy body-worn cameras has been almost universally negative. Former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly stated that “the body camera issue opens up certainly more questions than it answers.” (Lovett, 2013, para.16). In May 2012, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department announced that it planned to pilot test body-worn cameras. The Las Vegas Police Protective Association, a police union, responded by threatening to file suit against the department because the cameras represented a “clear change in working conditions” that would have to be negotiated through the union contract (Schoenmann, 2012, para.11). The NYPD Union has made similar claims (Celona, 2013, para.7).

            Another resistance to body-worn cameras is by the veteran police officer with twenty years or more law enforcement experience. Most likely, this experienced generation of police officers actually knows the meaning of walking a beat. These veteran police officers worked an age where reports were done by hand and the most technological equipment in their arsenal were innovations coming from a new police unit.

The employment era considerations of these types of veteran police officers must be taken into review when we discuss why some police officers would not welcome the technology of wearing body cameras. The outlined perception and understanding of old school policing demonstrates hands on methods of police work. This description entails the embodiment that technology and new ways of doing things, is generally not trusted amongst more senior police generations. This thought process causes such members of police organizations to be widely resistant to change. The consensus of these veteran officers is the inherent “Big Brother” mentality, (Sosebee, D., et al., 2016, para.3)1 that someone is always watching and that they can’t be trusted.  Not many people want their every move and spoken words to be relentlessly watched and recorded. Then there is the internal thought mechanism that exists between police administration and the “feet on the ground” patrolman. There is a perceptual wall of acceptance when you are told or made to do something, you personally would not have chosen to put into your own toolbox. If the department says wear it, you either will, or you will quit. This creates a climate of mistrust and there is a direct relationship between the resistance to change and trust. This becomes a dilemma when the technology of police worn body camera’s may reduce liability and increase officer safety. But the internal prejudices of some police officers make this a daunting task of trust, both personally and professionally when it comes to the acceptance of body cameras.

            Members of police organizations often resist change because of inertia; that is, they are used to doing things the way they have always been done, and they see no need to change. Misunderstandings, too, can be an issue, especially when officers do not understand the purpose, techniques, or consequences of a planned change. Managers may fail to clearly articulate what new roles will be created and the effect that those new roles will have on those involved. (Novak, C. et al., 2016, para.3) Change does not come easy when there is a fear and a worry of what is not known.

Camera Perception

            The point of view of a body-worn camera is limited.  A camera view is one-dimensional and human perception is three-dimensional.  Human depth perception, peripheral vision, and lighting conditions can also play a factor when compared what a camera can view or can not view. (“Camera vs…” 2016, para.8)  A major piece of the puzzle may be missing in the investigation of an incident, such as an officer-involved shooting that might have taken place out of the camera’s viewpoint. Relying solely on body-worn cameras to tell the whole story is disadvantageous to police.  

Financial, Resources and Logistics

            Another issue that arises is the substantial financial, resource and logistical commitment an agency has to invest in a body-worn camera program. The direct cost associated with the technology, notably the cost of each camera can range from $800 to $1200 for most models. There may also be replacement cost for hardware such as batteries and camera components. One of the most important logistical issues involves how the agency will manage the storage of all the vast amounts of video data that is generated by body-worn cameras. The National Institute of Justice states, “This leads to one of the more important items for an agency to consider before purchasing body-worn camera units: data storage, management and retention.” (ManTech, 2012, pg.9)  Not only must the data be protected and backed up regularly, it must be accessible to all parties involved. Some data needs to be retained forever, while other data can be deleted quickly. Crime recordings must be managed by law and through policies. Even video of standard officer interaction may be retained for a default period of time to cover potential performance complaints.  The length of storage time can cost numerous man-hours in addition to the actual cost of the storage device. (ManTech, 2012, pg.9). The major manufactures of body-worn cameras offer cloud-based data storage solutions at an annual subscription cost, though a department can also choose to manage the video internally. The Phoenix Police Department has chosen to maintain the video internally while both Rialto and Mesa have employed Evidence.com.  This eliminates the need for on-site storage space by sorting the files off-site and allowing agencies to share the files via secure access to the server. Prosecutors can simply log into a remote portal and get the videos they need for their cases. Additionally, the system tracks every activity associated with every file and stores it in an audit log. (Clark, 2013, para.15).

            Regardless of the approach taken, the cost of data storage and management can be significant. The Mesa Report states “the initial purchase of fifty AXON FLEX cameras, including applicable sales tax was $67,526.68. The proposal includes a second year pricing option for video storage with Evidence.com for $93,579.22 and a third-year option for $17,799.22.”(Mesa, 2013, pg.10)  More recently, Baltimore County implemented a body-worn camera program in 2017.  The program is expected to cost $7.1 million over the first 5 years.  Going forward, the program will cost about $1.6 million, which includes officer training and employees who manage the program (Wood, 2017, para.3).

 The Phoenix Police Department has had to devote considerable staff and resources to manage the video data internally, to conduct video redaction for publicly requested files, and to coordinate with the city and county prosecutor’s offices (White, 2013, pg.33).

Implementation of Body-Worn Camera Program: Role of Leadership

There are numerous ways in which the implementation of a body-worn camera program can be successful.  This study focuses on several ways leadership within an agency contributes the success of the program.  Leaders offer reassurance to their officers that it is not a trust issue, but an officer safety issue.  Leaders develop strong policy that not only effectively supports the program, but also supports the officers.  Leaders demonstrate they are adaptive and see the need for change.

As an overarching view, all leadership is some form of change management; the effective management of change requires the building of sound relationships with both internal and external stakeholders.  (Anderson, et al., 2017, pg. 40).  Implementation of a body-worn camera system will be as effective as the leadership within the agency. Leaders must have developed a leader-follower relationship and be able to effectively motivate their subordinates (followers) to be able to successfully achieve the implementation of a body-worn camera program.  Leaders will be able to accomplish this by making it clear that there is no question of integrity, honor, nobility or truthfulness of their officers.  It is imperative that leaders actively involve the individuals who will be affected by the implementation of the body-worn cameras.  One way is to select a team that will facilitate the program.  The leader or leaders should be open-minded and the team should consist of personnel from all levels of the frontline officers that will be wearing the body-worn cameras.  The team should have open communication.  Leaders who can act as change agents are needed now and are needed for years to come. (Anderson et al., 2017, pg. 187)       

Implementation of a body-worn camera program requires deep change within the agency and there will be barriers that leaders will have to face, such as resistance to wearing the cameras.  This deep change will require new ways of thinking and behaving by the leaders and officers.  Officers will have to get out of their comfort zones and take a risk.  One of the most common resistance issues frontline officers have when body cameras are bought for their agency is privacy.  Officers become concerned that their agency has lost trust in them.  Officers develop the feeling that their supervisors or the administration will monitor them, and their moves will be scrutinized.  In 2014, COPS, through the Department of Justice, released a study that highlighted recommendations and lessons learned through the implantation of a body-worn camera program.  In this study, Bob Cherry, a detective with the Baltimore Police Department and the President of Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police stated, “I have heard officers say that while they are not opposed to using body-worn cameras, they do have some concerns.  Some of these concerns are more practical, like whether adding new equipment will be overly burdensome. However, the larger philosophical concern is whether these cameras send the wrong message about the trust we place in officers.  What does it say about officer professionalism and credibility if the department has to arm every officer with a camera?”

Leaders must convey to officers that there is no question of professionalism and credibility, when an agency is in the beginning process of implementing a body-worn camera program.  One way to combat officers questioning whether they are trusted would be to introduce officers to the concept of the moral compass.  Demonstrate to officers that there is no question of their loyalty, honesty, sincerity, courage, impartiality, kindness and humility.  Their knowledge and intelligence is welcomed as the body-worn camera program is implemented, develops and progresses throughout the department.  The officers themselves with also be leaders.  If “every officer is a leader”, then every officer can and should, contribute to his or her organizational culture to help establish a positive, respected public image for their agency. (Normore et al., 2014, pg.25)  Leaders have to constantly encourage their subordinates to make good moral and ethical choices, and the reasons for the implementation of the program has nothing to do with their moral and ethical choices.  Leaders are looking at the safety of the officers and enabling transparency with the agency and community.    

Leadership is the primary factor that distinguishes organizational effectiveness from ineffectiveness over the long term. (Anderson et al., 2017, pg. 60)  Another effective way to combat the long term trust and privacy issues that the frontline officer will have, would be through implementing a policy that sets out guidelines as to which circumstances would allow supervisors and/or administration to view the footage from body-worn cameras.  Through an effective policy, there should be a prohibition of random monitoring of the footage.  Policy should also establish that, officers with numerous complaints, should expect random viewing of their footage, and it will continue until there is a behavior change.  Policy should also state there could be incidents of footage viewed by supervisors and used for training purposes.  Policy also needs to address circumstances that would allow officers to turn the body-worn cameras off, such as interviewing juveniles, or sexual assault victims.  Leaders must train and communicate their frontline officers the requirements of policy.  Communication will be key to make the agency effective and to accomplish the guidelines of the policy.  

Leaders have to communicate effectively through policy.  Policy can address issues of data retention of body-worn cameras, and when the data can be overwritten or even destroyed.  Policy is formal regulation that grants authority and responsibility to regulate behavior.  Policy has the power to enforce laws and regulations.  Dr. Larry Long in Leadership and Power module discusses that leadership is an act of behavior regulation that is performed in order to achieve a specific response from another person.  A leader can have both power and influence, but a leader should never just have power.  Power does not guarantee influence.

Another way of implementing a body-worn camera program is to demonstrate that it is not just leaders within the agency who are wanting employees to change, but the leaders themselves, have also become adaptive; they are growing, changing and developing too. Rialto Police Department’s study, conducted with body-worn video camera, was to test whether the number of complaints against officers would go up or down and also whether the number (instances) of use of force would also go up or down, versus a control group. There was a random assignment of frontline officers, based on shifts, who received body-worn cameras and same number, based on shifts, who did not. (“Rialto Police…..” 2013)  

The Rialto Police Department saw a decrease in use of force incidents, 60 in 2011 to 25 in 2012.  Of the 25 incidents, 8 were captured on body-worn cameras and the other 17 were incidents involving officers in the control group who were not equipped with body-worn cameras.  Rialto also saw a reduction in complaints from citizens; 28 were filed in 2011 and only 3 were filed in 2012.  Rialto reported that in 2011 there were 40,111 police–citizen contacts and in 2012 there were 43,289 police-citizen contacts.  Besides use of force incidents and citizen complaints declining in that one-year period, Rialto reported that officers went from a “self-awareness” to a “heightened” certainty of being observed in other social contexts where allegations of wrongdoing can be made, developing emotional intelligence.   Chief Tony Farrar, unsure in the beginning, became an adaptive leader by being flexible and agreeing to implement an experiment but he also took the new data and fully implemented a body-worn camera program. (“Rialto Police….” 2013) 

            Additionally, one of the biggest pushes in policing in the 21st century is a call for transparency within police agencies.  One of the ways agencies are accomplishing this is through implementing a body-worn camera program.  Leaders have to become adaptive, in the implementation this program and have to view the change as an opportunity and not as a threat.  Leaders must be flexible enough to educate themselves and their frontline officers of the technology; one way would be by establish training sessions.  Leaders will have to encourage their employees to be open-minded of the program, and also welcome feedback, whether positive or negative. 

Another key ingredient in the implementation of a successful body-worn camera program requires leaders to have versatility skills.  Versatility skills helps a leader develop their own style and become more responsive to the unique and changing characteristics of individuals, teams and organizations.  (Anderson, et al., 2017 pg. 239). Leaders have to have the knowledge and understanding of the benefits of body-worn cameras.  Leaders also have to be able to motivate the frontline officers that this change is not a bad change; it will be good for the agency.

The experiences of several other police departments shed light on how leaders can respond to officers’ concerns. In Phoenix, police leadership engaged officers from the beginning of the project. Leadership personnel attended every briefing to explain the goals and objectives of the project and to answer officer questions. Line officers were invited to participate in the “scope of work” group that developed the request for proposals from vendors, and they participated in pilot and durability testing (White 2013, pg.33). Leadership personnel also engaged the officer union in developing policies and procedures governing camera use. Commander Michael Kurtenbach of Phoenix Police Department stated that it is “just as important to be transparent with officers as it is with the community.” (White, 2013, pg.33).

Conclusion

            The proliferation of police body-worn cameras represents an innovation of technology impacting all levels of the law enforcement profession.  Advocates for police body cameras will clearly state the advantages of this technology. Reduced liability, elevated officer safety, transparency of procedures and increased public trust are positive responses representing the advantages of body cameras. Opponents will state that privacy concerns, up front departmental costs, mandates for evidence storing and the resistance by officers to willingly accept this technology, are constant conflicts in the use of body cameras. Regardless of the challenges that police body-worn cameras present, the advantages regarding this technology outweighs the negative concerns.

                  The success of a body-worn camera program comes down to the deliberate leadership within the agency.  Leaders must implement deep change, breaking with the past and moving forward into the modern era, not only with technology, but with demands from communities and the media.  Leaders also become adaptive.  Body-worn camera programs bring about many questions within agencies, especially with frontline officers.  It is imperative of leaders that they communicate with their frontline officers that the program does not question their integrity, honesty or even courage, but it is additional tool in the law enforcement profession.

        To return to the event introduced in this paper, it should be noted that Trooper Hubbard was wearing a department issued body camera. The review of his arrest procedures, both departmentally and legally, produced “no evidence to support the egregious and unsubstantiated accusations against the Trooper during the DWI arrest of Sherita Dixon-Cole.” (Sanchez, R. and Burnside, T. para.3) As specifically stated by Ellis County District Attorney Patrick Wilson, “That video clearly shows the world that this Trooper conducted himself beyond reproach.” (Sanchez, R. and Burnside, T. para.11.

References

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