State Watch

New Jersey governor signs mandatory police body cam bill

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) on Tuesday signed into law legislation requiring law enforcement officials to wear body cameras while on the clock.

The two bills, S1163 and A4312, will require all uniformed state, county and municipal patrol law enforcement officers to wear body cameras and keep them turned on while responding to a call for service or when initiating an investigative encounter. Exceptions include places where civilians can expect privacy, such as schools or medical facilities, or while officers are engaged in any type undercover or confidential work, among others, according to a statement on the governor's website.

Murphy cited the need for transparency while signing the bills during a live-stream event.

"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," he said. "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."

He added, "Today represents another step down what we know is a long road to full understanding and lasting trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve."

Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, said the new bills enhance Garden State law enforcement's commitment to professionalism, accountability and transparency while also "ensuring that our officers feel supported when they are in the line of duty."

The new legislation comes after protests broke out across the nation earlier this year over multiple incidents of officer-inflicted civilian deaths, particularly against Black Americans.

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