Decision to adopt body-worn cameras in small and rural Pennsylvania police departments

Daniel B. Yanich, Jennifer C. Gibbs, Jennifer L. Schally, Kaylie Derrickson, Daniel Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Internationally publicized cases of police violence against unarmed black men have led to calls for accountability in policing. Increased footage of police–public interactions, specifically through the form of police body-worn cameras (BWCs), is encouraged and considered an innovation that can improve the policing profession. However, BWC adoption is likely more feasible in big city departments than in small and rural departments, who respond to many of the same issues as their larger counterparts. The purpose of this study is to explore perceptions of BWC among leaders of small and rural police departments. Design/methodology/approach: Using a mixed methods approach, the authors surveyed 349 chiefs of small and rural Pennsylvania police departments and conducted qualitative follow-up interviews with 53 chiefs. Findings: The results indicate that both adopters and non-adopters esteem BWC in a positive light, particularly toward the ability to improve professionalism and police–community relations. Other findings and implications of these results will be discussed. Originality/value: This study focuses on small and rural police departments, which make up the majority of police departments but are often understudied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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