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Don't throw money at body cameras

Before running off and spending money on body cameras for Baltimore police officers ("City Council panel pushes ahead on body cameras bill," Oct. 29), anyone with any authority who is so convinced that cameras are the answer to police misconduct should read a recent study published this year by Michael D. White, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at Arizona State University. The study is aptly entitled, "Police Officer Body-Worn Cameras: Assessing the Evidence."

Given that there is little empirical evidence of the impact of officer-worn body cameras, this study reviews the scant evidence from the few extant studies on body cameras and reviews in depth the perceived benefits and concerns about venturing into this type of behavioral control of police officers in the performance of their duties. For me, in a nutshell, the author's conclusion can be succinctly stated in internal affairs-speak as this: the allegation of body cameras being the panacea for preventing police misconduct is "not sustained."

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The study can be found on the website of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at http://www.cops.usdoj.gov. Every City Council member should read it before throwing money at something about which they have no understanding.

Jim Giza, Baltimore

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