Washington State University Researchers Offer First Analyses of Use of Force in Body-Worn Camera Video

At the annual Axon Accelerate User Conference, Axon (Nasdaq: AAXN), the global leader in connected law enforcement technologies, and Washington State University (WSU) announced their intent to form a strategic partnership for further research that may improve law enforcement training and police-community relations.

David Makin

In a set of landmark studies published in 2017, researchers at WSU’s new Complex Social Interaction (CSI) laboratory, led by Dr. David Makin, assistant professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology, have analyzed body-worn camera footage to gain a more thorough and complete understanding of police use of force and police-community interaction. To aid the CSI team in their ongoing research, Axon will provide the researchers with body-worn cameras and access to its digital evidence management solution, Evidence.com, free of charge.

The donated technology will allow researchers to generate their own research footage via cadets enrolled in WSU’s Police Corps program and analyze it along with other data that local agencies choose to share with them. This partnership will provide them with the necessary tools and information for WSU to develop new algorithms for understanding use of force videos.

While statistics relating to police use of force have long been collected and made available to the public, the information provided by those statistics has been limited, indicating only whether use of force occurred and the type of force used.

The CSI lab uses advanced scientific tools and techniques such as data analytics, biometrics and machine learning to examine the complex factors that shape interactions between police and community members. By examining data from body-worn cameras, the team can contextualize use of force, such as how quickly it occurs, the severity and duration.

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