Understanding police officer resistance to body-worn cameras

Jessica Huff, Charles Katz, Vincent Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Purpose: Body-worn cameras (BWCs) have been adopted in police agencies across the USA in efforts to increase police transparency and accountability. This widespread implementation has occurred despite some notable resistance to BWCs from police officers in some jurisdictions. This resistance poses a threat to the appropriate implementation of this technology and adherence to BWC policies. The purpose of this paper is to examine factors that could explain variation in officer receptivity to BWCs. Design/methodology/approach: The authors assess differences between officers who volunteered to wear a BWC and officers who resisted wearing a BWC as part of a larger randomized controlled trial of BWCs in the Phoenix Police Department. The authors specifically examine whether officer educational attainment, prior use of a BWC, attitudes toward BWCs, perceptions of organizational justice, support for procedural justice, noble cause beliefs, and official measures of officer activity predict receptivity to BWCs among 125 officers using binary logistic regression. Findings: The findings indicate limited differences between BWC volunteers and resistors. Volunteers did have higher levels of educational attainment and were more likely to agree that BWCs improve citizen behaviors, relative to their resistant counterparts. Interestingly, there were no differences in perceptions of organizational justice, self-initiated activities, use of force, or citizen complaints between these groups. Originality/value: Though a growing body of research has examined the impact of BWCs on officer use of force and citizen complaints, less research has examined officer attitudes toward the adoption of this technology. Extant research in this area largely focusses on general perceptions of BWCs, as opposed to officer characteristics that could predict receptivity to BWCs. This paper addresses this limitation in the research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)482-495
Number of pages14
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 26 2018


  • Body-worn cameras
  • Officer receptivity
  • Officer resistance
  • Police technology
  • Policing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Public Administration
  • Law


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