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The Achilles Heel of Police Body-Worn Cameras: Understanding the Factors That Influence Variation in Body-Worn Camera Activation

NCJ Number
Police Quarterly Dated: 2022
Date Published

Since body-worn cameras (BWCs) are increasingly becoming commonplace in police organizations, researchers and policymakers still know little about their implementation in the field and the factors related to their actual use, the current study used data collected from 146,601 incidents in Phoenix, Arizona to examine the prevalence and correlates of BWC activation. 




Cross-classified models are used to simultaneously assess the influence of factors at multiple levels of explanation. Our analysis suggests that a wide variety of individual, situational, organizational, and neighborhood factors are related to an officer's decision to activate their camera. BWC policy that confines, structures, and checks officer activation has a robust impact on officers' decisions to activate their BWC. (Publisher abstract provided)


Date Published: January 1, 2022