New Jersey spending $57.5 million to buy body cameras for police agencies statewide

(The Center Square) – New Jersey is funding roughly $57.5 million in requests from 487 law enforcement agencies across the Garden State to buy 28,214 body cameras for officers.

The state Attorney General’s Office is administering a statewide body-worn camera (BWC) grant program to reimburse agencies $2,038 per camera. In December 2020, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law appropriating $58 million to support the BWC initiative.

“We are witnessing a new chapter in policing in New Jersey with the reforms we are implementing in partnership with law enforcement and community leaders,” Murphy, a Democrat, said in a news release. “And, with the body cameras we are funding, we will literally have an objective witness to how police carry out their duties.”

In November 2020, Murphy signed S-1163/A-4312 to require uniformed patrol officers in New Jersey to wear body cameras while on duty. The mandate took effect June 1.

Officials previously said there were an estimated 12,000 cameras in use by the more than 35,000 local, county and state law enforcement officers in New Jersey, leaving two-thirds of officers without body cameras.

In a news release, Camden Mayor Victor Carstarphen said the city implemented body-worn cameras in 2016. The cameras helped the city to realize “a significant drop in violent crime,” adding that Camden’s neighborhoods “are now the safest in decades.”

“This technology has not only proven to be an effective public safety tool but helps to protect our police officers and our community,” Carstarphen added.

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