New Jersey announces plans for police body cameras
New Jersey announces plans for police body cameras

[JURIST] New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s [official website] office announced [press release] Tuesday that the New Jersey State Police will spend $1.5 million to acquire 1,000 body cameras for troopers, in addition to the implementation of new guidelines aimed at expanding disclosures about investigations of officers’ use of force. This will be first time New Jersey troopers will have cameras on them and the gear is expected to come out within the next few months. The agency will purchase the cameras using money from its general equipment fund and the Attorney General’s Office [official website] will provide $2.5 million in forfeiture money to local police departments for the purchase of cameras for police officers. The New Jersey guidelines state that police are required to have their body cameras turned on when making an arrest and while searching someone. The officer can turn off the camera if it can reveal the identity of an undercover officer or if an individual who is stopped requests it to be turned off, at the officer’s discretion.

Policing incidents related to body cameras and racial profiling have been a highly contested issue dating back to the Ferguson, Missouri shootings [BBC report] from last year. In February the self-defense products company TASER International Inc. [corporate website] announced that Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office will be receiving [JURIST report] an order of cameras which will be worn by officers to record their actions in the field. Under the sales agreement, TASER would deliver 700 body cameras, costing an estimated $1 million. Last year the UN Committee Against Torture [official website] urged the US [report, PDF] to open investigations into all cases [JURIST report] of police brutality and excessive use of force by police officers. In 2013 the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] accused [press release] governmental surveillance centers of invasion of privacy and reliance on racial and religious profiling in their Suspicious Activity Reports urging [letter, PDF] the centers to adopt stricter standards [JURIST report] of reporting