Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Public Administration and Policy

Content Description

1 online resource (v, 215 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Erika G Martin

Committee Members

Patricia Strach, Lucy C Sorensen, Robert E Worden


Wearable video devices in police work, Police, Police brutality, African Americans

Subject Categories

Public Policy


The body worn camera (BWC) policy in the United States was introduced as a response to public demand for governmental action to decrease police use of deadly force after several highly-visible police shooting incidents involving Black residents occurred. Given the recent introduction of BWC technology, past studies on BWCs have primarily focused on examining whether BWC implementation influences the desired outcomes including a decrease in police use of force and citizen complaints. However, a deeper analysis of why BWCs were adopted and implemented and how their implementation influences everyday police work activity can provide a more comprehensive understanding on the overall BWC policy process. These topics on BWCs were explored in the three individual papers. The first paper uses qualitative comparative analysis to assess how U.S. states address diverse issues regarding BWCs within their legislation and examines the factors explaining the variation in states’ actions in adopting BWC legislation. This paper shows that the existence of political or societal motivations to address the issue of police use of force leads to state adoption of BWC legislation, within the certain contexts of the absence of a strong obstacle from the opponents to BWC policy, existence of state resources, or both. The second paper uses an event history analysis to examine what organizational and environmental factors explain the implementation of BWCs among local police departments. It shows that the severity of the problem of fatal police shooting incidents against Black residents or the pressure that is expected to be placed on the police department by Black residents to address such a problem does not have significant impact on the decision of police departments to implement BWCs; rather, external support from the municipal administrative leader and financial support from the federal agency is critical to explain BWC implementation. The third paper uses the difference-in-differences quasi-experimental design to estimate the causal influence of BWC implementation on police officers’ discretionary decision-making in arrests and examine whether its influence differs according to the race of the offenders and the types of offenses. The finding shows that officers’ arrests for misdemeanor offenses decrease by a small extent after they start wearing BWCs, but the decrease in misdemeanor arrests through the influence of BWCs is not relevant to the differing treatment toward Black and White suspects by officers. By enhancing our substantive understanding of BWC policy implementation, findings provide actionable insights for police practice such as that police practitioners may have to consider a measure to ensure BWCs’ positive influence on police-public relationship through major improvements in the public’s perceptions or behaviors toward officers; this is because the current finding implies that BWC implementation may not effective in changing officers’ behavior. In addition, these papers contribute to the theoretical literature of state and local policy adoption by suggesting the importance of examining interactive effects of the explanatory variables in explaining policy adoption.

Included in

Public Policy Commons