Will Introduce Legislation Requiring Officers To Wear Video Devices While On Patrol
TRENTON — To better protect police officers and those they interact with while on patrol, Senator Shirley Turner wants law enforcement personnel in New Jersey to be outfitted with body cameras. Senator Turner will introduce legislation requiring all patrol officers be equipped with the small video devices.
“The tragic shooting death of Michael Brown in Missouri and the fatal encounter between New York City police and Eric Garner have underscored the importance of outfitting officers with video cameras that record what happens when incidents occur while on patrol,” said Senator Turner. “This protects police officers as well as the public and will make law enforcement more effective.”
Disputes about the actions of the officers and those they arrest, subdue or interact with in any way, including instances when deadly force is used, would be more easily resolved with video evidence, Senator Turner added. This would protect the police against false accusations at the same time it would provide more incentives to follow proper procedures. Additionally, the use of body cameras could potentially result in a cost savings for taxpayers due to fewer lawsuits filed against the agencies.
“It is important police officers have the trust and respect of the communities they serve and it is just as important that they be accountable for their actions and have evidence to support their decisions,” said Senator Turner. “The technology is available, it should be employed. Studies have shown that body cameras are an effective tool for helping police officers control unruly behavior when individuals know they are being recorded, and our police officers deserve to have the tools needed to make their jobs easier, especially when so many police departments are understaffed.”
Legislation has already been sent to the governor that would give police departments the option of requiring body cameras or vehicle-mounted devices. The bill Senator Turner plans to introduce would require the deployment of body cameras so that interactions that occur outside the view of an in-car camera are recorded.
“I support the legislation now before the governor but I believe our next step should be to ensure that all police actions are covered. Requiring body cameras for all on-duty officers is a commonsense way to do that,” said Senator Turner.
Senator Turner noted that the cameras would be paid for with drug forfeiture funds. She plans to introduce the legislation on Monday, September 15.