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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New jersey Globe)

Murphy signs law requiring police to wear body cameras

By David Wildstein, November 24 2020 1:17 pm

All law enforcement patrol officers will be required to wear a body camera after Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation on Tuesday, a move intended to enhance police transparency and increase trust between police officers and their communities.

“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 in a virtual bill signing conducted on Facebook Live.  “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 bill was sponsored by State Sens. Shirley Turner (D-Lawrence) and Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro), Assemblywomen Cleopatra Tucker (D-Newark), Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Trenton) and Shavonda Sumter (D-Paterson), and Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-Delran).

Law enforcement union officials praised the new law.

“This bill will ensure transparency for both the public and our law enforcement members,” said Pat Colligan, president, New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association.  “It will enhance officer safety and help us continue the extraordinarily high level of service we continue to provide the residents of our state.”

Wayne Blanchard, the president of the State Troopers Fraternal Association, praised the level of dialogue between law enforcement and government officials that resulted in the new plan.

“When we have conversations, we get results that equal progress,” he said.

Murphy also signed an executive order establishing an interagency working group to offer recommendations to implement the new law.

He charged the group with identifying barriers to body cameras and seeking technology option to implement the new law.

“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,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, “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.”

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