On Tuesday (November 24), New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a new law requiring all police officers in his state to wear body cameras. While there are currently around 12,000 officers (representing just a third of the state’s police force) in New Jersey who wear the devices, the governor’s office says it will cost an estimated $56 million to equip the remaining 23,000 officers with body cameras.
“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,” said Governor Murphy 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. Today represents another step down what we know is a long road to full understanding and lasting trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, added that the bill will provide more transparency to officers. “New Jersey has made great strides to promote a greater degree of professionalism, accountability, and transparency within our law enforcement agencies, and our state is committed to ensuring that our officers feel supported when they are in the line of duty. This legislation being signed today is about developing greater accountability and establishing trust between police officers and the people who rely on them every day to keep our communities safe.”
A second bill, which focuses on specific rules for using the body cameras, was amended after Murphy’s veto. Its passage is still pending.
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