Two years ago, we launched a police body-worn camera (BWC) program here in Washington, DC. Like many cities across the United States, we adopted this technology with the hope that, alongside other Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) initiatives, it would benefit the District by improving police services, increasing accountability for individual interactions, and strengthening police-community relations. The cameras might encourage positive behavioral change and the video footage might be useful as evidence.
But what are, in fact, the impacts of body-worn cameras in the District? We designed a rigorous field experiment to begin answering this question.