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Assessing the Effects of Body-Worn Cameras on Procedural Justice in the Los Angeles Police Department

NCJ Number
John D. McCluskey; Craig D. Uchida; Shellie E. Solomon; Alese Wooditch; Christine Connor; Lauren Revier
Date Published
25 pages
Based on systematic social observation of Los Angeles police officers in field settings, this study examined variations in procedural justice delivered in face-to-face encounters with citizens before and after the implementation of body-worn cameras (BWCs).
"Procedural justice" as posited by Tyler and his colleagues (2003, 2004, and 2006), has two elements of quality decisionmaking and quality treatment. In face-to-face contacts with the police in matters of law enforcement, citizens have been found to prefer police decisions that are fair, thoughtful, and involve their input. Regarding police attitudes and behaviors in their interactions with citizens, citizens want to feel police are treating them with dignity and concern about their well-being. Tyler's studies found that police decisions involving procedural justice are viewed by citizens as more legitimate, so they are more likely to elicit citizens' compliance and cooperation. On the other hand, police officers who fail to display procedural justice undermine citizen support for and legitimacy of police. Overall, the current study found significant increases in police displays of procedural justice during police-citizen encounters after LAPD officers were equipped with BWCs. Data were collected on 555 police-citizen encounters using bivariate and multivariate models. This report recommends that law enforcement agencies conduct explicit measurement and monitoring of procedural justice elements in police-citizen interactions after adopting BWCs. Additional research issues in this area are also recommended.