Pryor Center's Fall Lecture Series Culminates With Presentation on Body-Worn Cameras and Police Accountability

Natalie Todak
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Natalie Todak

In the final Pryor Center Presents fall lecture series event, the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences hosts Natalie Todak, assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, for a presentation on 'Body-Worn Cameras and Police Accountability: High Hopes, Lackluster Evidence.' 

The lecture will be held via Zoom at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, and registration is required

Beginning with the death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer in 2014, a tragic string of high profile and controversial deaths of black men by U.S. police spurred a nationwide legitimacy crisis, characterized by public concerns about systematic racism and use of excessive force. 

Amidst this crisis, body-worn cameras emerged as a suggested tool for improving police accountability systems, increasing public trust in police, and reducing disparities in criminal justice outcomes. However, the research on police body-worn cameras has not largely engaged with these hypotheses. 

In this talk, Todak covers the existing research on police body-worn cameras. In doing so, she highlights the problematic disconnect between public expectations and reality and calls for an increased focus on how the technology can better contribute to police reform.

Making use of qualitative and mixed methods, Todak's main research areas are police technology, diversity, and community relations. Her doctoral dissertation was the first study to evaluate tactics used by police officers to de-escalate encounters with citizens. In partnership with Routledge Press, she is writing a book on the underrepresentation of women in law enforcement supervision and leadership.  

Todak is published in leading journals such as CriminologyCriminology and Public PolicyJournal of Experimental Criminology, and Police Quarterly

About the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History: The David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History is an oral history program with the mission to document the history of Arkansas through the collection of spoken memories and visual records, preserve the collection in perpetuity, and connect Arkansans and the world to the collection through the Internet, TV broadcasts, educational programs, and other means. The Pryor Center records audio and video interviews about Arkansas history and culture, collects other organizations' recordings, organizes these recordings into an archive, and provides public access to the archive, primarily through the website at The Pryor Center is the state's only oral and visual history program with a statewide, seventy-five county mission to collect, preserve, and share audio and moving image recordings of Arkansas history.

About the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences: The Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most academically diverse unit on campus with three schools, 16 departments and 43 academic programs and research centers. The college provides the core curriculum for all University of Arkansas students. 

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


William A. Schwab, executive director
Pryor Center

Andra Parrish Liwag, director of communications
Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences


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