The ACLU of Massachusetts believes that body-worn cameras—along with police-civilian receipts, better training, and better data—can be an important step towards greater oversight and accountability of police officers.
We urge cities and towns across Massachusetts to adopt body-worn camera programs that follow three core principles: accountability, privacy, and transparency. Body cameras are not a panacea. But, if combined with good policies, they can build community trust and improve safety on both sides of the badge.
That's why it's not enough for Massachusetts cities and towns to join their peers in other parts of the country that have implemented body cameras—we also need to do it right. To that end, the ACLU has offered our model policy, backed by civil rights groups and community groups. In fact, on June 28, 2016, we sent our suggested model policy to 40 police departments across the state. We selected communities where body-worn cameras might offer a benefit given the concentrations of three potentially vulnerable populations: people of color, non-English speakers, or people living below the poverty threshold.
You can learn more here about why the ACLU supports body cameras done right:
- View a map of body cameras in cities and towns across Massachusetts
- Download comics illustrating the effectiveness of body cameras and the qualities of a good policy
- Read our model policy
- Read our position paper, which identifies the problem of police officers' harming civilians, often people of color, and offers body cameras as a solution
- Read our briefing paper, which addresses why body cameras do not violate the state wiretap law
- Read FAQs about body cameras
- Learn the facts
- See other supporters
- Read media coverage
Click for full-size versions of comics
By Hallie Pope
Read our model policy
Read our position paper
Read our briefing paper
Read FAQs about body cameras
Learn the facts
- Currently, 66 of the 100 biggest police departments in the U.S. have either implemented or are planning to implement police body-worn cameras.
- The ACLU's proposed body-worn camera policies include privacy protections for civilians and disciplinary actions for officers who do not follow protocols.
- The Obama Administration has pledged $75 million to help police departments use body-worn cameras.
Learn more by reading our position paper.
Who supports police body-worn cameras?
- Boston Globe
- Patriot Ledger
- Daily Hampshire Gazette
- The Boston Police Camera Action Team
- We Are The Ones Boston
- Harvard Black Law Students Association
- Boston NAACP
- Digital Fourth
- Daniel Medwed, Professor of Law at Northeastern University and Legal Analyst for WGBH News
Read media coverage
Opinions and Editorials
- ACLU of Massachusetts Central Mass. field organizer Chris Robarge in MassLive: Police body cams in Worcester could have provided more details to incident where officers were seen punching suspects
- Boston Globe: Public's right to know is central to police video debate
- ACLU of Massachusetts Legal Director Matthew Segal in Boston Herald: Police body-cameras can protect public and cops
- ACLU of Massachusetts fellow Nashwa Gewaily in American Constitution Society: The Case for Officer Body Cameras and Sensible Legislation Surrounding Them
- ACLU of Massachusetts fellow Nashwa Gewaily in Boston Herald: Body cams key for modern policing
- ACLU of Massachusetts blog PrivacySOS: Americans overwhelmingly support body cams for cops, but Mass governor warns about privacy risks
- National ACLU: Police Body-Mounted Cameras: With Right Policies in Place, a Win For All
- Boston Globe: Boston to phase in 400 police body cameras after test finds benefits
- WBUR: Volunteers Lacking For Boston Police Body Camera Program
- Boston Globe: Make police body cams happen in Boston
- Boston Globe: Support continues for police body cameras
- WCVB: Boston, big cities move forward with police body camera testing
- Boston Globe: Body cameras are coming - and the Boston Police Dept. needs to accept it
- Metro: Boston police rolling out body cameras amid blurry policy picture
- WBUR: Local Civil Rights Groups Release Proposed Policy On Police Body Cameras
- ACLU of Massachusetts media release: Civil rights groups applaud Boston Police Department decision on body cameras and announce release of model policy
- Boston Herald: Charlie Baker hints he would back state funds for cop body cams
- Boston Herald: Massachusetts Senate president backs body camera grants
- MassLive: Police body cameras in Massachusetts: A simple idea that's hard to enact
- Boston Globe: Boston City Council to consider body cameras for police
- The Daily Beast: Who's Against Videotaping Police?
- Reveal News: Eyes on cops
- The Atlantic: Civil rights rules for body cameras
- Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: MAP: Access to Police Body-Worn Camera Video