Going into the Field to Understand How "The Record" Goes "Off the Record"
This paper examines how police officers utilize and navigate the technologies in their patrol vehicles. While handwritten logs are not a thing of the past yet, officers are expected to concurrently use mobile data terminals (MDTs) and video equipment to produce measures of accountability. Police video log records were analyzed for one suburban police department and subsequent fieldwork was undertaken to observe the technology use in situ. The findings suggest that fieldwork can provide some evidence to address the gaps in police video log records. As the push for accountability in Anglo-American policing grows, we can expect that our reliance on technology as a form of accountability will also increase. Without a critical examination of in situ use of technology against handwritten records, we cannot know if the technology actually produces increased accountability or merely the appearance of accountability. Police practitioners, the aftermarket manufacturers of video equipment who install and maintain police vehicle fleets and researchers alike will benefit from the findings of this research.
Keywords: Video Technology, Police Practices, Handwritten Records, Accountability
Prof. Jennifer Dierickx
Assistant Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences