Body-worn cameras have struggled to achieve desired reforms

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By State Scoop

Despite exponential growth in adoption over the past seven years, the body-worn cameras acquired by police departments nationwide have struggled or failed to result in the changes to officer behavior and public trust that advocates of the technology have sought, according to a report published this week by the nonprofit Council on Criminal Justice.

Although camera programs — which took off after the 2014 fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri — have been launched with the goals of reducing misuse of force and biases in policing, numerous law enforcement studies that CCJ examined found minimal evidence of that happening in the interceding years. Moreover, there are still wide inconsistencies in how effectively police departments are using their cameras, which can result in some officer-involved activity evading the accountability that the devices are meant to provide, said Nancy La Vigne, a criminal justice expert and the executive director of CCJ’s task force on policing.

“One of the problems with cameras is that they’re not activated when they need to be,” she said in an interview.

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