A New Jersey bill that would eventually equip all police cars in the state with dash cams took the first step this week toward passage.
Currently, all New Jersey State Police vehicles come equipped with dashboard cameras. However, municipal police vehicles do not.
The Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee voted unanimously on Monday, Nov. 18, to advance a bill that would require all new or used municipal police vehicles that are primarily used for traffic stops to be equipped with cameras.
Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, D-Gloucester/Camden, introduced the bill following his arrest a year ago for drunken driving and other charges. All charges were later dropped after law enforcement reviewed dashboard camera video from the officer’s car.
According to published reports, officer Joseph DiBuonaventura now faces multiple charges related to falsifying information about the July 2012 traffic stop. He was suspended without pay from the Washington Township Police Department.
Moriarty said he’s grateful that a camera provided a visual record of his traffic stop.
“Without that dashboard camera, who knows how my case would have proceeded, and that’s a scary thought,” Moriarty said in prepared remarks. “... I now want to make sure everyone in New Jersey eventually gets that same benefit and ability to protect their rights.”
Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, D-Camden/Burlington, said it is the right thing to do for everyone.
“It protects motorists, but it also would protect police officers from false claims of harassment and abuse. That’s just as important. In the end, everybody wins,” Lampitt stated.
To foot the bill for adding cameras, drunken driving fines would include a $25 surcharge.
The bill, A4193, awaits further consideration on the Assembly floor.
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