If Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson had been wearing a camera when 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed last week, the details of the case would almost assuredly be indisputable.

But the effort to lesson unnecessary police force may not be as simple as slapping a body cam on every officer in the country.

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"There have been a lot of claims in favor and against [body cameras], and there are only five studies in the entire body of literature on the subject," said Michael White, an associate professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University, who recently concluded in a report for the U.S. Department of Justice that there is not enough evidence to make a recommendation for or against them.

"There's enough evidence that if a department is interested they should proceed, but with caution," he said.

Currently more than 1,000 U.S. police departments are equipping officers with body cameras. The cameras are a step beyond police patrol car dashboard cameras, whose footage have helped piece together incidents for decades.

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In the Ferguson case, White thinks police body cams could have helped ease tensions.

"In cases like we're seeing in Ferguson, we're hearing two very, very different versions of events. If he had worn a camera they could have gone to the video, and the potential would have been for it not to escalate: if the bystanders view was accurate and it was murder, then they could have proceeded with the firing and arresting and prosecuting of the officer. Or if the flip side were true, then work could have been done with the community stakeholders to explain what happened step by step."

The details can be both complex and cumbersome, however: Officers and unions -- who may be reluctant to adapt the technology -- must be on board with a mandate. And even something as seemingly simple as storing the data becomes prohibitive when deployed on such a massive scale. Then there are bigger issues, such as privacy.

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"The same technology that lets us do these things can also be abused," said Dan Gillmor, who teaches digital media literacy at Arizona State University. "I think we all deserve a zone of privacy in our normal lives, and these devices we carry around are just dandy as surveillance on us. But there's a growing belief that for people who have life and death power over others, it's quite proper for them to have ongoing recordings of their interactions with the public."

The ideal scenario, White said, would be for police departments to garner support from the ground up: involve officers, unions, and the community in decision-making, and address privacy concerns and resources up front, he suggests.

Of course, it's not only police officers who can record a crime. In fact, most police chiefs advise officers to assume that everything they're doing is being recorded.

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"It's a sad comment on the state of law enforcement, but I now encourage people who see the police doing something that seems out of the ordinary to document it with pictures or video and save it (if not post it online)," wrote Dan Gillmor,in The Guardian.

But even those who espouse citizen involvement, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, are rooting for police cameras.

"The use of cameras to document the abuse of power is an important development," Gillmor said. "But the ideal thing would've been for the police themselves to be wearing cameras."

The public seems to agree:  Two online citizen petitions calling for police to wear cameras have garnered over 150,000 signatures.

And despite his inconclusive research, White predicts that police body cameras may follow the same trajectory as Tasers, which became common in police departments within a span of a decade.

"This technology has the potential to expand that quickly if all the concerns are addressed," he said.

The price of the cameras have dropped substantially in the last 18 months, White said, and last week, Taser stock prices increased 10 percent, which most attribute to demand for its body cameras.