Police Body-Worn Cameras: Evidentiary Benefits And Privacy Threats

Marc Jonathan Blitz Alan Joseph Bennett Professor of Law at Oklahoma City University School of Law

May 13, 2015

In this ACS Issue Brief, Professor Blitz examines the costs and benefits of body-worn cameras programs. Acknowledging that cameras will not serve as a panacea, Professor Blitz outlines policies that police departments should adopt to ensure the maximum effectiveness of such programs. As Blitz observes, even though such footage is flawed, it is better than accounts given by eyewitnesses long after the event occurred. Blitz admits that such cameras can "transform ephemeral and forgettable moments into permanent and easily shared records" of the parts of our lives we may be "least comfortable sharing with others.” To address these privacy concerns, Blitz examines model rules that place greater restrictions on police use of cameras in private homes and prevent the viewing or dissemination of body camera footage except in limited circumstances. Ultimately, Professor Blitz concludes that body-worn cameras can be an important tool in efforts to combat police abuse, if used in accordance with clear guidelines proposed.

Read the full issue brief here: Police Body-Worn Cameras: Evidentiary Benefits and Privacy Threats

By Marc Jonathan Blitz