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Impact of Police-Issued Surveillance Technologies on Police Misconduct: Critical Insights from a Systematic Review

Fri, Nov 16, 8:00 to 9:20am, Marriott, L503, Lobby Level

Abstract

Incidents of police misconduct, such as officer use-of-force against unarmed Black people, have sparked public protest in and beyond the United States, placing pressure on police organizations to become more transparent about the actions of their officers. Though technologies that monitor police behavior have existed for decades (e.g., dash-cams), recent demands to address officer misconduct have encouraged widespread implementation of body-worn cameras (BWCs) as a method of documenting interactions with the public. Many empirical studies examining the impact of BWCs on police misconduct have followed this rapid adoption, yet questions remain about their effectiveness. Further, how do BWCs fit into larger trends and outcomes of surveilling police-citizen encounters, especially when considered alongside wider power relations? This presentation discusses findings from a systematic review of empirical research that examined the effects of BWCs on police misconduct. It considers the findings around police-issued surveillance technologies in relation to the myriad of claims made about BWCs. In doing so, it draws attention to gaps in the existing evidence base and acknowledges overlooked contributions from critical sociolegal scholarship and qualitative studies. Reflecting on these disjunctures, this presentation offers a starting point for further analysis that is attentive to broader questions of justice and inequality.

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