SAGE Journal Articles

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Article 1: Gaub, J. E., Choate, D. E., Todak, N., Katz, C. M., & White, M. D. (2016). Officer perceptions of body-worn cameras before and after deployment: A study of three departments. Police Quarterly, 19(3), 275–302. doi: 10.1177/1098611116653398

Summary: Over the past few years, several events have highlighted the strained relationship between the police and residents in many communities. Police officer body-worn cameras (BWCs) have been advocated as a tool by which police–community relations can be strengthened, while simultaneously increasing transparency and accountability of police departments. Support for BWCs from the public and federal government is strong, and some studies have examined police perceptions of BWCs. However, comparisons of officer perceptions of BWCs in different departments are lacking, as are assessments of officer attitudes pre- and post-BWC deployment. This study compares officer perceptions of BWCs in three police departments in the western United States between 2013 and 2015, both before and after BWC program implementation. The similarities and differences among officer perceptions across departments are examined, and the authors consider the implications of findings for police departments moving forward with BWC technology.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What are some of the stated benefits of body-worn cameras? What are some of the drawbacks?
  2. What were the perceptions of officers of wearing BWCs in each of the three departments prior to the study? Was there any change in perceptions on the posttest?
  3. What do the authors suggest may be responsible for the different perceptions of officers in Phoenix and Tempe?


Article 2: Culhane, S. E., Boman, J. H., & Schweitzer, K. (2016). Public perceptions of the justifiability of police shootings: The role of body cameras in a pre- and post-Ferguson Experiment. Police Quarterly, 19(3), 251–274. doi: 10.1177/1098611116651403

Summary: We conducted two studies, wherein participants from across the United States watched, heard, or read the transcript of an actual police shooting event. The data for Study 1 were collected prior to media coverage of a widely publicized police shooting in Ferguson, MO. Results indicated that participants who could hear or see the event were significantly more likely to perceive the shooting was justified than they were when they read a transcript of the encounter. Shortly after the events in Ferguson, MO, we replicated the first study, finding quite different results. Although dissatisfaction with the shooting was seen in all forms of presentation, video evidence produced the highest citizen perceptions of an unjustified shooting and audio evidence produced the least. Citizens were nonetheless overwhelmingly favorable to requiring police to use body cameras. Body-mounted cameras with high-quality audio capabilities are recommended for police departments to consider.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What does research show regarding the presentation of videotaped evidence at trial?
  2. In this study, what was the impact of viewing the video versus reading a transcript on citizen perceptions of the police shooting?
  3. In Study 2, what was responsible for the sudden and drastic changing of American citizens’ opinions of the same police shooting as shown in Study 1 with the same experimental conditions?