Bill would mandate cameras in police cars

TRENTON – The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee released a bill Monday that would have video cameras installed in police cars.

Specifically, under the provisions of this bill, municipal police vehicles that are primarily used for traffic stops are required to be equipped with a mobile video recording system.

A $125 surcharge would be issued in addition to other fines if the person was pulled over for driving while intoxicated. Of that $125, $50 would go to the state and $75 to the municipality where the offense took place, of which $25 would toward the video equipment installation.   

Sen. Donald Norcross, (D-5), Camden, the prime sponsor of the bill, said the legislation was inspired by the incident involving Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, (D-4), Washington, who was the subject of police harassment. Electronic footage had absolved him of any wrongdoing.

“I can’t imagine what he’d be going through right now had the tape not existed,” Norcross said.  

Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman, (R-16), Neshanic Station, asked about the total cost of the program, but a fiscal note was not immediately available.

On July 31, 2012, Moriarty’s car was stopped by Officer Joseph DiBuonaventura, who said Moriarty had cut him off on the roadway, resulting in a false DUI charge.

The assemblyman disputed the charges, and filed an internal affairs complaint with the Washington Township Police Department, as well as private criminal complaints against the officer. Videotape evidence from the officer’s car contradicted DiBuonaventura’s version of events.

The police officer was suspended without pay. In addition, DiBuonaventura was indicted on three counts of fourth-degree false swearing, three counts of tampering with public records, a third-degree crime, three counts of falsifying records, and five counts of second-degree official misconduct.

  Bill would mandate cameras in police cars