Earlier this week, US President Obama proposed $US263 million to improve law enforcement, including $US75 million for a Body Worn Cameras Partnership. Now, it's been announced that university researchers will be provided access to body camera footage to study police confrontations.
Body cameras have bee shown to help reduce police violence against civilians, but they also provide a rich seam of data which can be used to better understand — and improve — modern-day policing. Now, reports Technology Review, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles will be granted access to footage from between 50 and 100 officers in 2015.
"While we focus attention on things that escalated all the way to extreme outcomes, we know a lot less about other events. Things that went down a dangerous path and ended up being ok. Why did it end up that way? That would provide a huge benefit in terms of training."
The researchers will use software to categorise footage, sorting it into actives such as talking with citizens, walking, driving and so on. That in itself will prove a challenge because of the constantly changing field of view the cameras provides.
Regardless, such sorting will allow the researchers to dip into specific clips to understand police reactions in specific scenarios better than ever. With any luck, that will serve to improve the work that the police do. [Technology Review]