Police body cameras can improve trust between officers and citizens while providing valuable evidence to ensure fairer trial results, according to a Northeastern study of a year-long pilot project involving police body cameras in Boston.
“The basic takeaway is that body cameras generate a small but significant benefit in terms of civility, without interfering with the way officers do their job on a day-to-day basis,” said co-author Anthony Braga, a Distinguished Professor of Criminal Justice at Northeastern.
The potential benefits of the body cameras extend beyond mutual trust, according to Jack McDevitt, co-author of the study and professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern’s College of Social Sciences and Humanities.
“One of the surprises was how valuable these videos are at trial for both prosecutors and defense attorneys,” he said. “Both sides said they believe videos make the results of court actions more just.”