Initial conclusion in report on BPD body cameras: Meh

Northeastern researchers have released a preliminary report on a Boston Police pilot of body cameras - and say they found a small, but noticeable decrease in problems in interactions between officers and the public:

The preliminary findings of the randomized controlled trial suggest that the placement of body worn cameras on Boston Police officers may generate small benefits to the civility of police-citizen civilian encounters. Relative to control officers, treatment officers [who wore cameras] received fewer citizen complaints and generated fewer use of force reports.

Police Commissioner William Evans said this is because Boston Police already has such a low number of issues involving the interaction of his officers and the general public.

The study involved two groups of officers: Roughly 140 officers in five police districts and members of the gang unit, who shared wearing 100 of the recording devices and a similar number of officers, with similar disciplinary records, who did not.

Final findings from the study, which Evans and Mayor Walsh could use to decide whether to equip all officers with cameras, could be out in June - researchers cautioned that this week's initial findings could change as they dig deeper into the data:

The final report will present completed analyses of the impact of body worn cameras on citizen complaints and officer use of force reports as well as analyses of impacts on police proactivity, lawfulness of police enforcement actions, and police-community relations.

Read the initial report.

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Comments

Body cameras in Boston

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If body cameras are the wave of the future in Boston shouldn't other agencies such as MSP and Transit wear them while patrolling the streets of Boston. Does anyone know how Governor Charlie Baker and the other candidates stand on this issue?

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Fewer complaints and use of

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Fewer complaints and use of force reports because either the police office behaved better or perhaps the citizen behaved better as well? It's hard to get up the effort to file a complaint if you know what you're describing has been recorded and will be reviewed.

While I appreciate some of the casual language on this site I think a hard news topic such as this could be better treated than a clickbait headline of "Meh" which seems more suitable for another T delay.

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This should be enough

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to make the case for cameras. If you told me that it reduced unpleasant interactions by 1 or 2% I would still deem their use justified. All it takes is ONE bad incident to cost the city tons of money in lawsuit settlements.
As the commissioner points out, Boston already has very well behaved policemen, and I would tend to agree with him there, and I am no fan of the police. Body cameras tell the public you're not afraid of the world seeing how you do your job, it keeps everyone safer IMO.

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I rode an MBTA bus recently, after avoiding

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The buses have gone heavily into creepy cameras. Like people who ride the bus are prison inmates.

The police body cams can come in handy, especially in jurisdictions that have lots of accusations of police misconduct, but Boston doesn't have much of that problem, and increasingly ubiquitous surveillance technology has a big downside.

The technology direction over time is for all these data feeds to be integrated, and combined with other very sophisticated surveillance technology. That's a totalitarian power that not everyone wants all the next Trumps and Clintons to have.

Less of this surveillance, and of conditioning and expecting everyone to accept it as normal.

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I believe all police should

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I believe all police should wear body cameras. Not only for the protection of civilians, but for the police as well. If anyone is attacked or there's any charges of wrong-doing on either side, there's evidence available.

Especially considering our nation's obsession with guns and all the shootings of unarmed civilians by cops in the news lately... we should all get on-board with this.

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I am all for the

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I am all for the implementation of body cams, but only after legislation that strictly limits the usage of the body camera data, requiring a court order to access the data by both the police agency and the general public.

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Legislation that certain federal organizations would ignore

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Besides the power over citizens being used by some questionable federal agencies and politicians, the the information would also be shared with organizations lower on the totem poll, secretly. For some law enforcement organizations, it is accompanied by "parallel construction" in testimony (which can be perjury, and withholding evidence from defense attorneys, by the state, against citizens).

Eventually, even that moderating legislation will be eliminated, and there won't be any pretense that we're not in a prison controlled by the corrupt, and no mayor or lawmaker will be able to take the technology down after it's been deployed.

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No Way

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Evans was against them from the start. NEU researchers are an extension of BPD. No way they extend the program.

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