CRF Blog

How Body Cameras Curbed Police Use of Force in Rialto

by David De La Torre

In How Body Cameras Curbed Police Use of Force in Rialto for Zocalo Public Square, Alex Sutherland and Barak Ariel report on their findings.

In 2012, we joined with the Rialto Police Department in conducting the world’s first randomised experiment of the effect of body cameras on relations between police and the public. This experiment came about through the foresight of then-police chief Tony Farrar, with whom we — two academics with expertise in criminal justice — co-authored the research. The original project began as a way of cutting red tape, but ended up influencing policing and criminal justice systems around the world, with far-reaching implications.

At the time of the experiment, the Rialto Police Department handled 3,000 property and 500 violent crimes per year, as well as six to seven homicides annually (nearly 50 percent higher than the U.S. national rate per 100,000). [more]

For a related free classroom lesson, see “Police Body Cameras and the Use of Force.” It is available from CRF’s Bill of Rights in Action Archive. It is currently only in PDF and you will have to register (if you haven’t already), which is free.