Body Worn Video Steering Group
The Rialto Police Department in California has become the model example for BWV deployment in the US, after a federal judge last week applauded their body worn camera program in the ruling that declared NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program unconstitutional.
Rialto is one of the few places in the US where the effects of body worn cameras has been formally studied.
The report on the Rialto study in which officers were randomly assigned in shifts to be deployed with or without cameras produced some extremely positive statistics.
In the first year after the cameras were introduced, the number of complaints filed against officers fell by 88 percent compared with the previous 12 months. Use of force by officers fell by almost 60 percent over the same period.
In the wake of the judge’s ruling for NYPD officers to wear body cameras, outgoing New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg slammed the pilot body camera scheme stating that “It would be a nightmare”.
The Rialto Police Department stands as an example of how effective the cameras can be. Starting next week, all 66 uniformed officers at the department will be wearing a camera during every shift.
The Rialto Police Chief, William A. Farrar, has said he suspects that the video evidence has also led to more convictions.
“When you put a camera on a police officer, they tend to behave a little better, follow the rules a little better.” Chief Farrar said. “And if a citizen knows the officer is wearing a camera, chances are the citizen will behave a little better.”
The Police Executive Research Forum is to host a conference on body worn cameras next month, with the goal of developing best practices for departments across the country.