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Milwaukee Police Department Body Cameras evaluation Project

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)
Original Solicitation

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $624,206)

The Smart Policing Initiative seeks to build upon the concepts of offender-based and place-based policing and broaden the knowledge of effective policing strategies. The most convincing research demonstrates that place-based or hotspot policing reduces violent crime and neighborhood disorder. This initiative addresses the need for effective policing that requires a tightly focused, collaborative approach that is measurable, based on sound, detailed analysis and includes policies and procedures for accountability. This grant program seeks to build upon data-driven, evidence-based policing by encouraging state and local law enforcement agencies to develop effective, economical, and innovative responses to precipitous or extraordinary increases in crime, or in a type or types of crime within their jurisdictions.

The city of Milwaukee Police Department (MPD), will utilize SPI funds in partnership with a research partner, Urban Institute, to deploy 150 body worn cameras in an 18-month random control trial (RCT). MPD and Urban will conduct focus groups with line officers and citizens and analyze baseline data on the nature and volume of police-citizen encounters. The goals of the project are to devise an implementation plan for the Body Worn Camera System (BWCS) strategy that addresses the concerns of citizens and line officers; conduct an RCT to determine how the BWCS strategy improves desired outcomes (i.e. reduced citizen complaints and use of force); analyze the degree to which BWCS are cost-beneficial; and generate and disseminate lessons that can inform law enforcement nationwide on methods of camera use and deployment that achieve intended outcomes. The overall goals of the partnership are to implement cameras in a manner that is guided by research evidence and best practice, to test the current assumptions about the benefits of cameras, and to produce operational knowledge on the ideal and reasonable use of these cameras from the perspective of police decision-makers and accountability-minded community members.


Date Created: September 20, 2015