Assemblyman Paul Moriarty applauded Tuesday’s announcement by the state Attorney General that all state troopers assigned to patrol duty will begin wearing body cameras, a move he hopes will pave the way for local officers to follow suit under a bill he has pending in the legislature.
“I applaud the Attorney General’s office for taking this necessary and much-needed step,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “This move will make New Jersey a leader in ensuring justice for innocent civilians while also protecting law enforcement officers as they serve the public. I hope this will also pave the way for all law enforcement officers throughout New Jersey to become equipped with these cameras.”
Moriarty was the prime sponsor of legislation (A-2280) signed into law last year requiring police cars to be equipped with dashboard cameras, a measured inspired by his own personal experience when he was arrested on drunk driving and other charges and later acquitted after police video footage substantiated his claims of innocence.
“As we saw in the Sandra Bland case recently, dashboard cameras do not capture everything, especially when interactions between law enforcement and civilians move outside the vehicle,” said Moriarty. “Body cameras can fulfill a crucial, two-fold purpose. Not only do they provide a means for civilians to seek justice when they are wrongfully targeted or abused, but they can also provide vindication for law enforcement who might be accused of misdoings while rightfully performing their duties.”
To that end, Moriarty introduced another bill (A-3852) last fall that would require all state, county, and municipal law enforcement officers who are primarily assigned to patrol duties to wear a body camera. The cameras would be funded through a mix of surcharges imposed on individuals convicted of driving while intoxicated; forfeiture funds received by the Attorney General as instrumentalities of crime; and an additional surcharge to be imposed on anyone convicted of a sex offense under Megan’s Law.
This bill is now pending before the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.