Gov. Murphy signs body camera legislation into law

(Emma Lee/WHYY)

(Emma Lee/WHYY)

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed two bills and an executive order on Tuesday requiring law enforcement officers across the state to wear body cameras.

“Body cameras are a wise all around investment in public safety and justice,” Murphy said in a livestream of the signing. “When used properly, they ensure that there’s an impartial record of the facts that can be used in investigations in our courts, or to provide the best possible training for our police, ensuring that all departments across the state are adhering to uniform rules and requirements for body camera use is critical for this technology to be successful.”

The two bills require officers to wear body cameras, and regulate their use. Murphy also signed an executive order establishing a 14-member interagency working group to provide tech-related recommendations for easing implementation.

State Sen. Shirley Turner, D-Mercer, who sponsored the legislation, said that while it wasn’t a panacea, it would help bridge the gap of trust and confidence in law enforcement among New Jersey’s Black and brown communities.

“Over the last several years, we have seen far too many horrific and heartbreaking police-involved shootings and deaths,” Turner said. “And while body cameras can not prevent them, they will help to increase the transparency and accountabilities.”

Last month, Murphy vetoed earlier versions of the two bills, citing concerns over funding and citizen privacy. Since then, state lawmakers have pledged $58 million to pay for the body cameras, which Murphy previously said would apply to more than 35,000 local, county and state law enforcement officers.

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