This Essay will discuss the role police body-worn cameras can play in ensuring police legitimacy by increasing transparency, deterring police and citizen misbehavior, increasing officer professionalism, providing valuable training tools, and improving evidentiary documentation when crimes occur. This Essay will also discuss the need to view body-worn cameras and similar technologies with a healthy bit of skepticism. While body-worn cameras can have a significant impact on police accountability and public safety, local officials must carefully consider camera implementation and draft clear guidelines to balance the concerns for accountability with the privacy concerns articulated below. Therefore, this Essay seeks to identify best practices for implementing body-worn camera programs and identifies some key components of body-worn camera policies that strengthen accountability. Finally, this Essay offers a Model Body-Worn Camera Policy, whose provisions are drawn from multiple policies in use nationwide. The individual components of this model policy have been evaluated by various civil rights groups and given a "green light" in terms of their ability to ensure that cameras are used to promote accountability and deter discriminatory policing.

This abstract has been adapted from the author's introduction.

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51 Wake Forest Law Review 985-1020 (2016)


Written for the symposium Implementing De-Incarceration Strategies: Policies and Practices to Reduce Crime and Mass Incarceration (2016) at Wake Forest University School of Law.