Study: Metro body-worn cameras reduce use of force incidents

LAS VEGAS - The results are in after a year-long study on body-worn cameras by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officers.

The results found body-worn cameras were associated with significant reductions in complaints of police misconduct and police use of force incidents.

However, some community leaders say Metro still has a long way to go with its body-worn camera program.

"It's a new tool. It's a learning tool. It's a training tool," said Metro Sheriff Joe Lombardo.

Body-worn cameras are helping Metro police officers, the department, and the public, according to a study done by UNLV researchers, and funded by the Department of Justice.

"The more important piece for me is the accountability of body-worn cameras and bringing transparency to the department and public trust," Lombardo said.

The study reveals since officers started wearing cameras in late 2015: Officer misconduct complaints reduced by 30 percent; Police use of force reduced by 37 percent; The process to investigate complaints about officers moved faster --  All of which could save the department an estimated total of $4 million a year.

The study focused on 200 officers out of 400 volunteers.

"We do not share the unabashedly rosy point of view that was presented today," said Gary Peck, NAACP.

Longtime Las Vegas resident and civil rights activist Gary Peck is speaking on behalf of the NAACP.

"We're left in a circumstance where we've got policies that need to be fixed and practices that haven't been fully excavated," Peck said. 

Metro faces criticism for restricting access to the body camera footage which the I-Team asked Sheriff Lombardo about at Monday's press conference.

"I beg of you to find another department as aggressive or progressive as us in transparency in release of video footage and anything reference a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request," Lombardo said.

"There doesn't seem to be clear precise guidelines or rules and standards for when video tapes will be released to the public and when they won't be released to the public," Peck said.

He says he's also concerned about charging citizens who have made false claims about officers.

The sheriff said charges have been recommended for seven people because the body camera footage showed they were lying about an officer.

According to the department, since officers started wearing the cameras in 2015, 462 were cleared of wrongdoing. Forty two were not. They were either disciplined or more investigation was required.

 

 


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