Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Schafer, Joseph


Several questionable officer involved shootings and perceived abuses of authority disproportionately involving minority citizens have resulted in public outcry, protests, and nationwide scrutiny of police in recent years. The resulting police legitimacy crisis has prompted agencies to rapidly equip officers with body-worn video cameras (BWCs). BWC advocates lauded the findings of an early study that attributed significant reductions in use of force incidents and citizen complaints to the devices and it is this and a handful of other short-term studies upon which the claims of these benefits are predicated. However, subsequent research has produced mixed findings and the sustainability of any reductions remains questionable. The limited knowledge concerning the impact of BWCs on the aforementioned outcomes is problematic considering the potential negative impact of unrealistic expectations and the expense of BWC program maintenance. The objective of this dissertation is to address gaps in the extant research by exploring the impact of an incremental deployment of the devices on the frequency and severity of use of force incidents and the frequency and outcome of citizen complaints while controlling for staffing, volume of officer-initiated enforcement contacts, and the Ferguson incident. Utilizing 86-months of secondary data collected from the Newport News, Virginia Police Department (NNPD) a vector autoregressive multivariate time series analysis indicates that BWCs were a significant factor in a substantial sustained reduction in use of force and a substantial sustained increase in exonerated complaint dispositions at the NNPD.




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