UNM leads federally-funded research on police body camera use

UNM leads federally-funded research on police body camera use

A UNM professor, who researches the use of workforce monitoring technologies, is helping lead a study on police body camera use.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The use of monitoring technologies is growing in the workforce – and law enforcement agencies are no different.

“Very common since 2020, organizations are adopting computer monitoring technologies to track workers’ behaviors while they work,” said Daniel Ravid, a professor of management at UNM.

Ravid researches the use of monitoring technologies, like body cameras, which he says around half of all law enforcement agencies use. That includes around 80% of all large agencies.

When talking to officers about the cameras, he found they mostly support them.

“But we saw that some felt like they were being nitpicked a little bit. Others felt like they wouldn’t ever go out into the field without one,” Ravid said.

Now, Ravid is studying what affects officers’ perception of body cameras and why they vary. He is working with colleagues from Purdue University with funding from the National Science Foundation.

The study will involve 60 agencies in 25 U.S. states, rural and urban, including APD and BCSO.

Over the next three years, they plan to survey officers, high-ranking officials and everyday people to get their perspectives.

“We’re going to be sending out surveys to community members. In each of those 60 jurisdictions, we’ll be asking them a variety of questions about their relationship with police officers and their experiences with their local police officers. Then we’ll be collecting that data electronically,” Ravid said.

They believe that data could then show agencies the best ways to implement body cameras.

“When there’s this type of culture within the organization, and when supervisors do X, Y and Z while implementing these cameras, we tend to see these types of results, for example,” Ravid said.

He believes some positives could come from officers seeing the technology as a benefit to them.

“We think that they’re more likely to feel confident with the use of the technology, more likely to feel more confident being proactive in their policing, feel more confident working with community members to solve problems when they feel like that technology is there for their benefit,” Ravid said.