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Bill to require police video cameras on Christie’s desk

Video cameras would be required in most new police cars in New Jersey under legislation waiting for Gov. Chris Christie’s signature. 

Police cameras
Larry W. Smith, Getty Images

“This bill makes it mandatory that any new police cruisers or newly leased police cruisers that are used for traffic stops, need to be outfitted with motor vehicle recorders,” said bill sponsor, Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-Turnersville). “Motor vehicle recorders do not lie. They don’t alter events. They don’t forget. It’s an accurate record of what went on.”

Christie has until September 8 or the next time the General Assembly is in session, whichever comes first, to take action on the measure.

The cameras would be activated when a police officer turns on the overhead lights and would stay activated until those lights are turned off. The bill was introduced as a result of a personal experience Moriarty had.

“I was driving down the road obeying all the laws and I was pulled over by a police officer who said that I had cut him off, and then questioned whether I was sober. I had not had anything to drink, but the officer still arrested me for drunken driving and subsequently he’s been charged with 14 criminal counts.  That never would have happened if we did not have video evidence of what took place that day,” Moriarty said.

The measure increases the surcharge imposed on anyone convicted of driving while intoxicated. The funds collected through the surcharge would help offset the cost of equipping police cruisers with cameras.

“There would be a $25 surcharge that would be tacked onto a fine for people convicted of DWI so it’s not paid for by taxpayers. It’s paid for by people doing something wrong.” Moriarty said. “The cameras are good for the motorist, good for the officer and it’s a perfect document to be used in a court of law.”

In January, Christie pocket-vetoed the bill by taking no action on it and did not give a reason why.

 

 

 

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