MIAMI, Jan. 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- In 2015, the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) received a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice's Body-Worn Camera Partnership Program to purchase and deploy body-worn cameras (BWCs) in Miami-Dade County. The MDPD also made a matching contribution of $1.2 million to supplement the award. Nine hundred and sixty-two police officers were equipped with the BWCs and trained in their use in seven of the eight districts served by the MDPD.
An evaluation of the use of the BWCs in Miami-Dade County published by Weston Publishing, LLC showed a 34% decrease in the number of citizen complaints against police officers, a 19% reduction in the number of cases of physical response to citizen resistance by police officers, and a 74% drop in the number of civil cases against the MDPD related to excessive police use of force. These reductions were all statistically noteworthy. "The current evaluation overcomes several pitfalls of previous BWC-related appraisals due to its longitudinal design and large, inclusive sample of subjects," said lead author Lisa Stolzenberg, a Professor in FIU's School of International and Public Affairs.
Results of the evaluation also showed a decline in the number of internal affair cases, unauthorized force cases, officer injury cases, serious reported crime cases, and civil claims paid by Miami-Dade County for police use of excessive force. However, it could not be determined statistically whether these observed reductions were due to the use of the BWCs by police or to preexisting downward trends in the data. "Additional research is needed," said Professor Stolzenberg.
Police frequently interact with the public while performing their law enforcement duties. Most of these contacts are positive, but citizen allegations of police misconduct sometimes result from these civilian-police interactions. Growing concern over police misconduct is creating friction between police and the public, especially among minority groups. Cities are also expending large amounts of money to settle lawsuits against the police for alleged instances of misconduct. As shown in Miami-Dade County, the use of BWCs can serve as a viable and cost-effective means to promote both accountability and transparency when police officers interact with the public.
Stolzenberg, Lisa, Stewart J. D'Alessio, and Jamie L. Flexon (2019) Eyes on the Street: Police Use of Body-Worn Cameras in Miami-Dade County. ISBN-13: 978-1-936651-06-1. Weston Publishing, LLC.
SOURCE Weston Publishing, LLC