Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Abraham S. Fischler College of Education

Advisor

Steven A. Hecht

Committee Member

Marcelo Castro

Committee Member

Grace Telesco

Abstract

The 2014 fatal police shooting of Michael Brown resulted in (a) a national outcry for police departments to deploy body-worn cameras; and (b) community members and politicians demanding more transparency in the governmental administration of police work. Despite the increased media attention and deployment of body-worn cameras, there is little research on how law enforcement officers perceive body-worn cameras.

The Miami-Dade Police Department implemented a mandatory body-worn camera program on April 20, 2016. The department agreed to a partnership to conduct research on their officers' body-worn camera perceptions. The department internally distributed an electronic survey to 3,313 sworn officers and 1,410 were completed (a 43% response rate). Of the respondents that chose to participate in answering the demographic questions, 1,084 were male and 273 were female. 281 identified as white, 762 as Hispanic, and 243 as African-American/black, and 69 as other. Respondents averaged 3.6 years of employment at the department, averaged 2.6 years using a body-worn camera, and averaged 14.5 years of policing without a body-worn camera.

The research instrument used in this study was an electronic survey with a four-point Likert Scale (Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree). The 24 questions were organized into the following five categories: Influencing Citizen Behavior, Influencing Officer Behavior, Completing Paperwork, Comfort and Ease of Use, and Supervisor Use of Body-Worn Camera Data for Administrative Purposes.

The 'agree' responses were reported for comparison to published study purposes. The survey results indicate that body-worn cameras (a) do not influence citizen behavior; (b) influence officer behavior; (c) officers perceive body-worn camera data positively, yet not the paperwork it generates; (d) officers generally perceive body-worn camera ease of use positively, yet the cameras are not comfortable to wear; (e) that officers negatively perceive the supervisor use of body-worn camera data for administrative purposes.

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