Effects of body cameras on policing, according to an expert

Posted at 6:25 AM, Aug 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-17 09:25:19-04

The narrative of body cameras is shifting according to an industry expert.

Expert Michael White has studied body cameras for years. He says they were initially used to appease an upset community after something like an officer-involved shooting that sparked outrage.

Now the footage is showing all aspects of policing – the good, the bad and the ugly.

"I think it's the most important innovation in policing in probably the last 30 to 40 years," said White. "It shows aspects of policing we haven't seen before.

White works with the Department of Justice on their Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Program.

“I think in four or five years we're not even talking about body-worn cameras anymore,” said White. "It will just be a normal part. You'll have the radio, the gun, the Taser, and the camera. It will just be routine.”

Sales for body cameras are dramatically up according to a spokesperson for Axon, the Scottsdale based company who makes the devices.

Revenue for Software and Sensors (the body camera side of the business) increased 101 percent to $26.6 million in the second quarter of 2017 compared to $13.2 million in the second quarter of 2016.

White is also a professor in Arizona State University's School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

White believes body cameras can help repair the relationship between the community and police.

“I think that it can kind of change the tenor of the current crisis and the antagonism between police and especially citizens in minority communities."