A law requiring all new municipal police vehicles to be equipped with video cameras was signed into law on Wednesday, Assemblyman Paul Moriarty said. Moriarty, who sponsored the bill after an in-car camera captured his 2012 DWI arrest and provided evidence that lead to a dismissal of all charges, said Governor Chris Christie signed the bill Wednesday evening.
The bill requires all municipal police departments to equip newly purchased or leased vehicles that are used primarily for traffic stops with an in-car camera, or equip patrol officers with body cameras as a more affordable option. A $25 surcharge on DWI convictions was set aside by the legislation to provide funding for the new equipment. The bill was initially approved by both the state Assembly and Senate during the last legislative session, but was pocket-vetoed by the governor when he declined to either veto or sign the bill.
Moriarty re-introduced the legislation this spring, and was approved by the Assembly in May and the Senate in June. The impetus for the bill came from Moriarty’s 2012 arrest on DWI charges in his hometown of Washington Township, where he previously served as mayor. A recording of the arrest showed multiple discrepancies between the arresting officer’s pursuit of Moriarty and what the officer wrote about the incident in subsequent police reports. Moriarty has said that the video of the incident was crucial to proving his innocence.
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