Should police wear body cameras?
Assemblyman Paul Moriarty has been in the forefront of supporting a bill that would mandate certain police cars be equipped with cameras, or body cameras worn on the policeman's uniform.
He should know since he was the victim of a wrongful DWI stop by a police officer who, since, had been cited for 14 counts of official misconduct.
The last time the bill was up for a vote, it was pocket vetoed by Governor Christie – who passed on signing it into law.
This time around, the assemblyman has reintroduced it – and is hoping for the Governor to sign it into law – which he has to do before August 10th, or the bill automatically becomes law.
Now if you’ve ever been stopped by a traffic cop and feel that the cop’s behavior went beyond the bounds of professional, you’d probably be in support of this law.
Or if you’re a police officer who’s been accused with conduct unbecoming an officer and subsequently being sued – the proof would be right there on a camera to exonerate you.
This is also a timely bill that should be considered in light of the confrontation police had with a man selling untaxed cigarettes on Staten Island resulting in the man’s death after police placed him in a chokehold.
"We shouldn't even be debating cameras in [police] cars. Cameras are everywhere in our lives and are used everyday to solve crimes," said Moriarty, noting its already a requirement for State Police vehicles. "This provides an unbiased, accurate record to what transpired. It's good for police officers, it's good for the public and it will reduce the amount of court cases, court time and lawsuits."
While it’s true that most everyone has a cell phone with a recording device – along with the ubiquitous presence of security cameras, you’d think a law like this wouldn’t be necessary. Not so since you’d have to rely on the angle of the security camera, plus hope one would be within range of a police/citizen encounter.
So do you think it’s a bad idea that a camera, not much bigger than your average cellphone, should be affixed to a police officer’s uniform? I don’t think it would be too much of an encumbrance; and they wouldn’t be cost prohibitive.
Either way it adds an extra layer of protection for both the police and the average citizen.
Should police be made to wear body cameras?