The Christie administration announced Tuesday that it would spend $4 million to outfit the New Jersey State Police with body cameras as part of an effort to strengthen community policing, as well as fund a grant program to provide cameras to local police.
In conjunction with that announcement, acting state Attorney General John Hoffman released a policy for body cameras. It doesn’t dictate that local police departments must deploy them, but encourages them to do so and provides a set of best practices for guidance. For instance, the state does not set the procedures that must be met when deploying body cameras but says when local communities do determine procedures they must be based on objective criteria and be the same for the entire department.
Under the plan, the state will purchase 1,000 body cameras to be worn by state troopers, at a cost of $1.5 million. All troopers on the road will be equipped with them at one time.
Local communities will be encouraged to apply for a part of a $2.5 million grant pool to obtain body-camera “packages,” which include related equipment.
Recent state regulations require newly purchased patrol cars to be equipped with mobile video-recording systems. Because the statutory requirement can be satisfied if an officer in the car is wearing a body camera, and body cameras are more versatile, the state expects police departments to acquire body cameras instead of dashboard cameras.