In November of 2020 Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation, P.L. 2020, Chapters 128 and 129, mandating by June 1, 2021, that “every uniformed State, county, and municipal patrol law enforcement officer” wear a body worn camera (“BWC”) that records audio and video while acting in the performance of their duties. On the same day this legislation was enacted, Governor Murphy also signed Executive Order 201, establishing the Interagency Working Group on Body Worn Cameras. The 14-member working group was tasked with reviewing any obstacles in regards to the implementation of the new law, as well as providing recommendations for solutions to these barriers.
Last week, the working group released a report, providing four recommendations, which focus mainly on the significant costs associated with not only the initial purchase of the BWC but also the storage and necessary review and redaction of certain footage. The four recommendations include:
- Review and evaluation of long-term migration plan for a statewide BWC storage system,
- State negotiation of an increase in volume discounts for state contract vendors,
- Migration to cloud-based storage, with requisite privacy and data security protections, and
- Expansion of law enforcement officers who should wear BWC.
The Governor’s announcement of the Report also came with a reminder for municipalities to apply for grant funding to assist with the costs of the purchase of BWCs. The grant program is made available through the Office of the Attorney General. Application packages must be submitted to BWCGrants@njoag.gov, by April 30, 2021. Additional information and instructions for applying for the grant program can be found on the Attorney General’s website.
The League will be following closely the efforts being undertaken by municipalities to
comply with the new state mandate. Municipalities should carefully monitor and track the costs associated with compliance.
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., Associate General Counsel, FMarshall@njlm.org or 609-695-3481 x137.