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Body-Worn Cameras in Law Enforcement Agencies, 2016

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2018
20 pages
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.

Presents data on body-worn camera (BWCs) use and non-use in general-purpose law enforcement agencies for 2016. Data from agencies with BWCs include number acquired, deployment, policy coverage, access to footage, and obstacles to use. For agencies without BWCs, data include alternate types of recording devices, primary reasons for not obtaining BWCs, and consideration of BWCs in the next 12 months.

  • In 2016, 47% of general-purpose law enforcement agencies in the United States had acquired body-worn cameras (BWCs).
  • The main reasons (about 80% each) that local police and sheriffs' offices had acquired BWCs were to improve officer safety, increase evidence quality, reduce civilian complaints, and reduce agency liability.
  • Among agencies that had acquired BWCs, 60% of local police departments and 49% of sheriffs' offices had fully deployed their BWCs.
  • About 86% of general-purpose law enforcement agencies that had acquired BWCs had a formal BWC policy.

Date Published: November 1, 2018