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January 14, 2015
Body Cameras Score Big Among Police Chiefs
 
A bit of objective information often helps in easing tensions prompted by anxiety – like those between police and, possibly, the communities they serve. So it may be with a study from the University of Cambridge on the use of body cameras by 1,000 police officers in Rialto, CA.

The study, DailyMail.com reports, that “police equipped with body cameras reduced their use of force by around 50 percent and complaints by the public against them dropped by almost 90 percent.” Makes you wonder – are cameras the keys to peaceable kingdoms?

“This is a promising tool for police officers, which is likely to be a game changer not only for the professionalization of policing, but in terms of police-public relations," said Dr. Barak Ariel, the lead author of the study and a lecturer in Experimental Criminology at the University of Cambridge in England.

Seems like a landmark study, in that police chiefs have been cheered by the results and are especially “keen to equip their officers with cameras, especially in light of increased community tensions toward perceived police brutality, caused by the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.”

The post goes on, and is well worth a full reading. “Each camera,” it notes, “weighs around a quarter of a pound and carries batteries that last up to 12 hours.” Battery chargers could be part of healthy PR investments around the nation.

The study’s authors believe that the markedly peaceable conduct by the officers who wore cameras was the result of the officers’ awareness that they were being filmed in encounters with the public. The researchers, the post adds, aren’t sure “whether the cameras affected the behavior of both police and the public.”

There’s more to be learned from the study, so read on…

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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