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Key Trends in Body-Worn Camera Policy and Practice: A Four Year Policy Analysis of US Department of Justice-Funded Law Enforcement Agencies

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2019
24 pages
This report presents the results of an analysis of 304 policies for the deployment of body-worn cameras (BWCs) for law enforcement officers in agencies that have participated in the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance's (BJA's) BWC Policy and Implementation Program (PIP).
The BWC policies and practices presented pertain to PIP agency trends in fiscal years 2015 - 2018. The policies and practices reviewed focus on BWC activation, deactivation, officer authority to review BWC footage, supervisor authority to review BWC footage, BWCs during off-duty assignments, activation during demonstrations, temporary deactivation (and muting), frequency of supervisory auditing, and mentions of non-patrol units wearing BWCs. For each of these policy areas, the proportion of PIP agencies that have adopted the described policies are indicated. The report notes that although this analysis of BWC policy and practice is limited to PIP agencies and may not be representative of national BWC practices or trends, it provides insights on the direction of trends in key policy areas and some benchmarks for agencies involved in BWC policy development and assessment. The analysis promotes the tenet that BWC policy should be responsive to local circumstances and the needs of local stakeholders. It also advocates that BWC policies continue to evolve as new issues arise and BWC technology changes.

Date Published: December 1, 2019