More than a year ago, the Orlando Police Department and University of South Florida researchers embarked on a study to determine whether body worn cameras enhance safety and transparency and lessens the number of complaints against officers.
During the Body Worn Camera study, which took place from March 2014 through February 2015, 46 officers were randomly assigned to wear BWCs and 43 officers were randomly assigned to not wear BWCs.
The results, released this week, suggest that BWCs are an effective tool to reduce response to resistance incidents and complaints. And it shows that although before the study began nearly all of the officers were skeptical that BWCs would have a positive impact on their behavior, wearing a camera did positively influence their behavior.
And many of the officers agreed that BWCs improve evidence collection, report writing and help officers improve their police work in general by having the opportunity to review their own video. Finally, the majority of the officers want to keep their BWC, believe the agency should implement a full-scale adoption, and are willing to train their peers in BWC implementation and operation.
“We believe the use of body cameras will strengthen community trust, improve accountability and transparency, protect our officers from false complaints and provide valuable evidence for prosecutors,” Chief John Mina said.
In this year’s budget, Mayor Dyer and the Orlando City Council made the funding of body worn cameras a priority. In late September, Orlando Police Department was awarded a $497,480 Body-Worn Camera Implementation Program grant by the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. The grant period is from 10/01/15 until 09/30/17 and we anticipate purchasing 450 cameras with the grant money.
Below, please find a PDF of the executive summary of the USF Study. You will also find a link to OPD body camera video on three cases and the reports and mug shots of the people involved in those cases.