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Pending Bill Mandates the Installation of Cameras in all Police Cruisers

September 16, 2013

Pending legislation would require all police vehicles in the State of New Jersey to be equipped with dashboard cameras, commonly called “dash cams.”  The purpose behind the bill is to protect against false police accusations.

Although all state police officers currently have video equipment installed in their vehicles, many municipal police cruisers do not.  The reason not all police vehicles have video cameras installed is due to the high costs associated with the technology.  The legislation, however, proposes a $100 DWI surcharge in the event of a conviction.  A percentage of that fee is given to the municipality to finance the installation of the technology. 

For individuals charged with drug and alcohol offenses, video recordings are very useful in defending the charges.  In fact, the bill was introduced by Assemblyman Paul Moriarty after he was charged with DUI.  The video of the arrest in his case helped him prove that most of the allegations against him were untrue.  As a result, his DUI charges were ultimately dismissed and the Washington Township officer was charged with tampering with records.

While videotapes in some cases may help prove an individual’s innocence, whether a video is helpful or harmful for a particular DUI defendant depends on the facts of the case.  What is certain, however, is that video cameras do not lie.  Moreover, the mandatory installation and use of video camera for serious offenses ensures that officers – who are aware that their conduct is being videotaped – will not bring false accusations.  Thus, we strongly support this long overdue legislation.

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