Professor and Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice Michael Smith was recently featured in StateScoop about his expertise related to body camera use. Smith says more research is needed across agencies and in multiples setting to fully determine the impact that body worn cameras have on brutality and complaint rates.
Ever since outfitting their officers with body cameras two years ago, the San Antonio Police Department has seen a significant drop in complaints, according to records obtained this month by the San Antonio Express-News.
Since police departments first began adopting body worn cameras in response to protests against police brutality in recent years, groups around the country have sought to understand how the technology is changing the dynamic between the public and police. While it is unclear if body cameras decrease brutality or complaint rates, anecdotes suggest a civilizing effect. Only nine months after officers began using the body cameras, SAPD saw a 36 percent decrease in use-of-force filed complaints.
“We need more research on body worn cameras across many more agencies and in many more settings. For now, the weight of the evidence is that body worn cameras reduce use of force and citizen complaints,” said Michael Smith, chair of the criminal justice department at the University of Texas at San Antonio, in an interview with StateScoop.