Survey Measures Sentiment about Body-Worn Cameras (12/29/14)
Monday, December 29, 2014 | Comments

A recent national survey found Americans favor the use of body-worn cameras for police officers, but most respondents believe officers should not have control over when recordings are started and stopped.

The survey showed a high level of confidence that body-worn video camera capabilities can improve police accountability and transparency, with 90 percent of respondents indicating they would. However, respondents expressed concerns about security of video recordings, including worries that videos could be leaked to social media websites or shared with other police officers.

“When asked if it should be left up to the police officer to decide when to manually start or stop body-worn camera video recording, 82 percent of black, 77 percent of white and 74 percent of Hispanic respondents answered ‘No,’ ” according to the study. “Of the 71 percent of survey respondents who were aware of President Obama’s recommendation that police officers should wear body-worn video cameras, only 5 percent of black and 9 percent of Hispanic respondents thought police officers should decide when to manually start or stop body-worn camera recording compared to 21 percent of white respondents.”

ORC International conducted the study, which was commissioned by Utility, a mobile video product vendor. The study was conducted in early December using 1,007 randomly selected landline and mobile telephone interviews of adults living in the continental United States.

“In talking with our law enforcement customers, the survey findings mirror law enforcement concerns about deploying body-worn video cameras prematurely,” reported Robert McKeeman, CEO of Utility. “Police departments want technology that standardizes and automates when body-worn video is recorded — minimizing the impact of human bias, increasing citizen and police accountability and increasing the police officer’s personal safety.”

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