Police Body Camera Metadata

A Multiyear Cluster

Assessing How Body Camera Information Can Improve Policing

Over 60% of U.S. police departments equip their officers with body-worn cameras, but almost none of the information captured by these cameras is ever reviewed or used in a systematic way. We seek to change that by assessing what information is already available, what new information can be generated, and how that information can be used to improve policing. 

We will begin by studying how and when body cameras are activated. Using data from Chicago, we hope to learn when and why officers activate their cameras and how camera activation affects police encounters and their outcomes. We also hope to start conversations with police departments and communities about what additional data should be generated from camera footage and how that data can be leveraged.

Our research blends the perspectives of technologists and social scientists. Big data and computer vision expand what is possible with body-worn cameras. Careful thought about laws, incentives, and community norms can direct those possibilities toward their most equitable and productive uses. Together we hope to make the most of body-worn cameras. 

Faculty Leads