These 37 NJ towns to share $500K to buy police body cameras
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More than three dozen police agencies in the state will share $566,000 in federal grants to help purchase 1,132 body-worn cameras for police officers.
The federal grants were awarded by the state Attorney General’s Office, which said Wednesday that all 37 agencies that applied received grants. For most of the agencies, the grants will cover the full cost of the cameras.
This is just the latest round of funding for body cams, which have been touted by law enforcement officials and reform advocates as a way to protect community trust in the police.
The state in 2015 set aside $4 million in criminal forfeiture funds to purchase police body cameras.
State Police used $1.5 million to equip every trooper on patrol with a body camera and $2.5 million was awarded to 176 police departments for cameras.
“This new round of funding for body cameras will keep New Jersey in the vanguard nationally in using this technology, which promotes transparency in policing while protecting officers in their difficult and dangerous jobs,” state Attorney General Christopher Porrino said Wednesday.
The amount announced Wednesday is almost equal to the estimated amount that state Municipal Courts collected last year in a drunk-driving surcharge was supposed to be used by police departments to buy dashboard cameras for police vehicles.
But the law and the surcharge were abolished early last year by the Council on Local Mandates, a state panel charged with striking laws that impose unfunded mandates on local governments.
Courts, however, continue to collect the $25 fine — even though some state officials believe doing so is illegal — and state officials have not been able to explain how the money has been used, New Jersey 101.5 reported last month.
Body cam grants
|South Bound Brook||8||$4,000|
|Lower Alloways Creek||2||$1,000|