Date of Award
Open Access Thesis
Master of Science (MS)
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Reform is a political tool, long used to ensure the continuation of specific police practices and the police institution itself. Promising increased transparency and accountability and hence legitimacy, Body Worn Cameras (BWC) purport to show the facts of police work and critical incidents precisely as they happened. Invoking and relying upon the objective truth of the image, policy makers, academics and some police themselves see BWCs both as a panacea to arrest police misconduct and a way to guard against spurious allegations. However, placing them in the long history of police reform, BWCs are also usefully understood as a form of pacification, one which seeks to reaffirm police legitimacy specifically by mastering the visual field itself. Relying upon a collection of official documents outlining the efficacy and implementation of BWCs, it is argued here that police advocates seek to shield the institution from scrutiny by invoking photographic truth, while less sympathetic reformers likewise overestimate the ability of the visual to reign in the violence inherent to the police project.
Copyright 2019 Ivan Benitez
Benitez, Ivan, "Pacifying the Visual: Police Reform and the Promise of Body Worn Cameras" (2019). Online Theses and Dissertations. 613.