Legislation enabling municipalities to purchase body cameras for local police officer, sponsored by Assembly Democrats Benjie Wimberly, Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, Cleopatra Tucker, and Thomas Giblin, was approved by the full Assembly, 65-5-9. The Senate passed the measure 40-0.
The legislation would provide a supplemental appropriation of $58,000,000 to the Department of Law and Public Safety toward Grants-in-Aid to establish a New Jersey Statewide Body Worn Camera (BWC) program to support police departments in purchasing this equipment. On or after January 1, 2022, a law enforcement agency that purchased body worn cameras prior to the effective date may apply for reimbursement from the appropriation under the substitute for the cost of the body worn cameras.
The sponsors Assembly members Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic), Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer, Hunterdon), Tucker (D-Essex) and Giblin (D-Essex) issued the following statement on the bill:
“The recent events we’ve witnessed nationwide involving police officers have urged states to do more to increase the safety of residents, communities and its officers during law enforcement stops in the State.
“Municipalities are now searching for sources of funding to purchase body camera equipment helping to ensure accurate documentation of both the citizen and the officer during any interaction. The cost for body camera equipment varies, which includes not only the one time purchase of the equipment but also maintenance, data storage, oversight, and replacement due to wear and tear.
“Fitting all of the necessary members of a police force with body cameras is a large task but required and capable in these times. This legislation will help municipalities create their programs and provide body cameras to their officers.”