According to a study of Washington D.C. police officers, having police officers wear body cameras seems to have no discernible impact on citizen complaints or officers' use of force, at least in the nation's capital, reports SCPR.
The study was performed as Washington, D.C., rolled out its huge camera program. The city has one of the largest forces in the country, with some 2,600 officers now wearing cameras on their collars or shirts.
"We found essentially that we could not detect any statistically significant effect of the body-worn cameras," says Anita Ravishankar, a researcher with the Metropolitan Police Department and a group in the city government called the Lab @ DC.
The findings come as the Los Angeles Police Department continues to equip its own officers with body cameras and faces questions about public access to the video footage. The city's civilian police commission, which oversees the LAPD, is currently conducting a review of the department’s policy on when to release such videos to the public and is due to present its findings in the coming days or weeks, according to the L.A. Times.
"I think we're surprised by the result. I think a lot of people were suggesting that the body-worn cameras would change behavior," says Chief of Police Peter Newsham. "There was no indication that the cameras changed behavior at all."
Perhaps, he says, that is because his officers "were doing the right thing in the first place."