New Jersey Governor Signs Law Requiring Police To Wear Body Cameras

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Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation Tuesday that requires police officers to wear body cameras while on patrol, numerous sources reported.

S1163 requires all uniformed officers at the state, county, and municipal level to wear a body camera, with some exceptions for including for officers on undercover assignments or those meeting with confidential informants. 

The other bill, A4312, requires officers to keep the camera activated when responding to service calls or during investigative encounters. Officers are required to tell subjects that the camera is activated, and may deactivate it if requested by the subject, according to the law. (RELATED: Federal Task Force Officials Will Wear Body Cameras In ‘Specific Circumstances,’ DOJ Says)

“We’ve made it clear that New Jersey will be second-to-none in enacting vital reforms to promote transparency and boost public confidence in law enforcement,” Murphy said Tuesday in a statement.

“Body worn cameras are a wise all-around investment in public safety that not only redouble our commitment to transparency and accountability, but also ensure that members of law enforcement are equipped with an important tool to help them carry out their sworn duties.”

The legislation also stipulates that funding could come from multiple sources, including state budgets and federal grants, which was a change that Murphy added in a conditional veto in October. Before the condition was proposed, the bill said funds would come from a state account with only $1 million in it.

Roughly 12,000 officers in New Jersey wear body cameras, which is a third of the total number of officers, according to the Associated Press. The law requires the remaining departments to provide cameras to their officers on patrol.

Estimates show that to equip the remaining 23,000 officers with cameras could cost around $56 million, which is an amount not included in the legislation, however pending legislation would set aside $58 million for the cameras, the AP reported.

Multiple other states have begun to require police officers to wear body cameras following protests that began in May following the death of George Floyd, who died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck.