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Eyes on the Street: Police Use of Body-Worn Cameras in Miami-Dade County

NCJ Number
Lisa Stolzenberg; Stewart D'Alessio; Jamie Flexon
Date Published
January 2019
59 pages
This study evaluated the impact on police performance of body-worn cameras (BWCs) implemented in seven districts served by the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD).
A total of 962 police officers were provided with BWCs and trained in their use over a 4-month period (May 5, 2016 - August 8, 2016). Statistical analyses of various factors in pre- and post-BWC time periods indicated that the use of BWCs was associated with a 34-percent decrease in the number of citizen complaints against police officers; a 19-percent reduction in the number of cases of police physical response to citizen resistance; and a 74-percent reduction in the number of civil cases against the MDPD linked to excessive police use of force. These reductions were all statistically significant. Post-BWC results also showed a decline in the number of internal-affair cases, cases of unauthorized use of force, officer injuries, serious reported crimes, felony arrests, and civil claims paid by Miami-Dade County for police use of excessive force; however, the study cannot definitively show that these reductions were due to the use of BWCs rather than to a continuation of downward trends that began prior to the introduction of BWCs. There is insufficient empirical evidence to suggest that the use of BWC-based video footage, which can be entered into evidence in court, aids in the prosecution of criminal cases in Miami-Dade County. Although the number of traffic accidents increased substantially following the implementation of BWCs, there was no significant change in the number of police traffic stops. The authors recommend that replication studies of the impact of BWCs in police-community relations and police performance be conducted, particularly those with a longitudinal design and large sample sizes. 6 figures, 3 tables, and 45 references