The Fallout From Ferguson: Do Police Body Cameras Work?
Barak Ariel, a criminologist at the University of Cambridge, isn’t so sure about body cameras, either.
The technology is “surely promising, but we don’t know that it’s working,” Ariel told me. The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t approve drugs until they’ve been studied extensively, he explained, and governments should take a similar approach with body-worn cameras. It’s a solution that has yet to be proven.
The results in Rialto have been cited in the media as proof that police body cameras work. But Rialto isn’t reproducible the world over. As Ariel and his fellow researchers note, the city’s police department is relatively small, and the police chief directly oversaw the experiment. Likewise, success in the U.K., where one person was killed by police in 2012, doesn’t necessarily translate to success in the U.S., where at least 410 people were killed by police that same year.