A New Jersey lawmaker who had a bad experience with a local cop wants all police cars used for traffic stops to be equipped with dashboard cameras.
The bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-Gloucester County) was accused of drunk driving last year, but the charges were dismissed and the officer who pulled him over has been indicted for false arrest.
Moriarty says he’s grateful there was a camera in that cruiser.
“If it weren¹t for the videotape I probably would have been convicted,” said Moriarty. “No one would have ever believed me, and it would have been devastating for my family, but as it turned out the videotape showed that I had done nothing wrong.”
Moriarty says the cruiser camera recordings provide evidence that can protect citizens and police from false accusations.
“The videotape doesn’t lie. It doesn’t alter the facts. It doesn’t forget. It’s a perfect record of what went on. It’s good for the police officer, it’s good for the citizen, and I think it’s good for evidence in court.”
When the New Jersey State Police was required to install cruiser video cameras as part of a consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department, some troopers initially balked. But many were won over after videos were used to exonerate troopers who were falsely accused. Many departments say they would like to install more cameras, but are worried about the cost.
The legislation calls for a $25 surcharge for drunk driving convictions to fund the cameras.