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Body-Worn Cameras in Law Enforcement Agencies, 2016

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2018
20 pages
Sarah S. Hyland
Publication Series
This report by the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) presents data for 2016 on the number of general-purpose U.S. law enforcement agencies that had acquired body-worn cameras (BWCs), the main reasons for their acquisition, the status of their deployment, the existence of a formal BWC policy, access to tape footage by the officer who made the recording, and the primary reason why agencies without BWCs had not purchased them.
The findings are based on BJS's 2016 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics - Body-Worn Camera Supplement (LENAS-BWCS), which collected data from a nationally representative sample of general-purpose law enforcement agencies (municipal, county, and regional police departments; sheriffs' offices with law enforcement duties; and primary state and highway patrol agencies). In 2016, 47 percent of these agencies had acquired BWCs. About 80 percent of these agencies reported they had acquired BWCs to improve officer safety, increase evidence quality, reduce civilian complaints, and reduce agency liability. Among agencies that had acquired BWCs, 60 percent of local police departments and 49 percent of sheriffs' offices had fully deployed their BWCs. Approximately 86 percent of the agencies with BWCs had a formal policy on how BWCs and their recordings are to be managed. About 60 percent of the agencies allowed the officer who made the BWC recording to have direct access to the tapes. For agencies without BWCs, the primary reason given for not acquiring them was costs, including video storage/disposal costs (77 percent), hardware costs (74 percent), and ongoing maintenance/support costs (73 percent). 28 tables and 2 figures

Date Created: November 16, 2018