Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Policy

First Advisor

Christian E. Weller

Second Advisor

Michael Johnson

Third Advisor

Jennifer Gregg, Kevin Wozniak, Lillian Kamal


This three-paper dissertation examines the creation of police-worn body camera policies to explain the complexities of the new technology and the impact nonprofit organization (NPO) stakeholders have had on policy development. Making their first appearance in US cities starting in 2013, body cameras are still in their infancy, and “best practices” have not been universally defined or accepted. Without guidance from a federal agency, policies vary between states and cities, resulting in some restrictive policies and others that diminish potential body camera benefits. This research begins by presenting a theoretical model integrating a behavioral economics concept into activity theory to describe the rationale for the expectation that body cameras can decrease police use of force. The second paper is a content analysis of national NPO statements about body cameras to test the proposed “Stakeholder Stance Model.” The model depicts the types of information that appear in NPO statements and may influence NPO policy recommendations. The final paper of this dissertation is a multi-case comparative policy analysis of three New England states, their capital cities, and NPO model policies. Focusing on four critical policy components, this paper evaluates mechanisms of policy diffusion to determine how body camera policy decisions are made in the absence of federal guidelines. The findings of these three papers demonstrate that (1) body cameras can introduce new complexities that may decrease body camera effectiveness at preventing police violence; (2) NPOs reflect a critical community voice that can help shape the future use of body cameras and contribute to the formation of more equitable policies by linking community preferences and academic research to police officials; and (3) NPOs have been more impactful in the creation of body camera policies than has been documented in the research to date.


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