ASU professors prepare national tool kit for police use of body-worn cameras

May 19, 2015

Two ASU criminology and criminal justice professors are the primary authors of a new online tool kit for police departments nationwide to implement the use of body-worn video cameras.

Hosted by the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance, the website draws from the professors' own research and best practices adopted by police agencies worldwide. Criminology professors Charles Katz and Michael White Download Full Image

"This tool kit provides needed infrastructure to police agencies to efficiently and effectively adopt body-worn cameras," said professor Charles Katz, director of the ASU Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety, a unit of the College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

Katz was the principal investigator of a 15-month study involving the use of body-worn cameras by Phoenix Police. It found the use of such technology led to more arrests by officers, an increase in charges filed in domestic-violence cases and a reduction in complaints against officers wearing cameras. The use of body-worn cameras also had drawbacks as it increased the amount of time officers spent on paperwork and the length of time to process a criminal case.

“One of the lessons we learned from the study was the need to have a citywide strategic plan,” Katz said. “There are also training and deployment issues that must be addressed and the need for prosecutors to be equipped to process and handle video evidence.”

The new online tool kit provides information for law-enforcement agencies to make informed decisions on adopting the use of officer-worn video cameras. It includes sections on research, policy, training, technology, privacy issues and creating a dialogue with community stakeholders.

"The tool kit represents a comprehensive information warehouse for police departments who choose to adopt body-worn cameras," said professor Michael White, associate director of the center. “We hope it helps agencies successfully implement a promising new technology.”

White is the author of a Department of Justice analysis of studies done on body-worn cameras. He was asked by the White House to provide subject matter expertise by testifying before the president’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing earlier this year.  

Paul Atkinson

assistant director, College of Public Service and Community Solutions


Costa Rica trip provides ASU students with invaluable education experience

May 19, 2015

Hilary Goodine and 10 other Arizona State University students will step off campus and into the heart of Costa Rica’s tropical rainforests this summer, where they will discover the importance of learning outside classroom walls.

Organizers of the two-week trip through the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College hope the students will take back experiences that they can one day use to inspire their own students. group of students standing on bridge in costa rica Download Full Image

“I want to share my experiences with my students and inspire them to travel because I believe everyone should travel and have as many experiences as they can,” said Goodine, who is training to become a middle school science teacher.

This particular study-abroad trip, which begins May 23, is different from many others: It is a three-credit science course, and it has a strong science focus that is combined with new cultural experiences.

Students will perform service projects at a handful of public, private and rural schools; work with scientists and other professors; interact with children and families; and study ecology of the tropical rainforest.

Traveling with the 11 ASU students is Molina Walters, ASU faculty director and clinical associate professor.

It will be Walters’ fifth time taking students to Costa Rica through ASU since taking over the study-abroad program.

“When I came back after that first year, I thought I could do so much more with it,” Walters said. “There were all of these opportunities for students to come home with background knowledge to what they could be teaching, and it wasn’t being tapped.”

Walters changed the trip to add a strong science focus, stating how the rainforests in Costa Rica are built for learning about science on a global scale.

“Instead of just reading about tropical ecology from a textbook, why buy the book when I can take them and they can see it and experience it and I can teach the main content?” Walters said.

Getting that experience for the first time will be Goodine, a junior getting her degree in elementary education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and a certificate in environmental education.

“I kind of always wanted to be a teacher,” Goodine said. “I love helping and teaching people, and seeing the light bulb go off is a huge reward to any educator.”

Goodine said after she graduates she plans to go back to school and get her master’s in science education. She hopes in the future to teach abroad for a portion of her career.

Junior Abby Greb, also majoring in elementary education, went on the Costa Rica trip two summers ago and is going again this summer as an undergraduate teaching assistant.

She said she wants to enjoy the culture of Costa Rica again, but also she also hopes to learn new teaching techniques.

“For me, because next fall I begin student-teaching, I hope to come away with more of a leadership role since I’m going as a TA,” Greb said. “I want to know more about management and leadership.”

Greb said one adventure she is excited for is seeing the sea turtles.

“When we went on my trip a couple summers ago we did a sea turtle excursion where we helped out leatherback sea turtles, but this year they are doing something with the sea turtles on the other side of Costa Rica so I’m really looking forward to that because that will be a new experience for me,” Gelb said.

Walters said the most rewarding thing about the trip is seeing students change and start to learn more about the world around them.

“You get down there and everybody has an expectation of what life will be elsewhere because they only have the experience of the United States, and watching my students grow on a global scale, I can’t tell you – that’s why I take anybody traveling. There’s no way you can go anywhere and not have a personal growth experience,” Walters said.

Written by Samantha Pell, ASU News

Lisa Robbins

Editor/publisher, Media Relations and Strategic Communications