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Correctional Officers Using Body-Worn Cameras

NCJ Number
Techbeat Dated: May 2016 Pages: 12-13
Date Published
May 2016
2 pages
This article from TECHBeat describes the logistics and benefits of equipping correctional officers with body-worn cameras (BWCs) in the Prince George's County (Maryland) Detention Center.

The Prince Georges County Department of Corrections purchased 40 BWCs in 2016 for $104, 939, using grant funds from the State of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Justice. The cameras are used in the county detention center by members of the facility's emergency response team. The facility's average daily inmate population is approximately 1,000. Prior to using the BWCs, the emergency response team recorded incidents at the facility with a hand-held camera. The BWCs proved to be a more effective technology, since team members are available to aid fellow officers in an emergency response. The BWCs also are beneficial in training correctional officers. The video from the BWCs are downloaded and reviewed daily by the lieutenant in charge of the facility, so as to ensure officers are responding to emergencies according to procedural policy. Officers thus learn from viewing what they did right and what they did wrong. When the BWCs were first introduced, the biggest challenge was for officers to remember to turn them on when dealing with an emergency, which could include a medical issue, inmate fight, or any threat to officer or inmate safety. Officers must also remember to turn their cameras off when the emergency response is concluded. Officers must also learn to position their BWCs correctly on their uniform or stab-resistant vest, so as to provide the best feedback. Most officers are placing their cameras in the center of the chest.

Date Published: May 1, 2016