State panel strikes down police camera law over funding

A state panel has repealed a police camera

A state panel has repealed a police camera law over funding concerns. (Credit: File Photo)

TRENTON - A law requiring all new police vehicles in New Jersey to be equipped with cameras has been struck down by a state panel.

The Council on Local Mandates ruled Wednesday that the law passed in 2014 is unconstitutional because it created a financial burden on local governments. The state's constitution requires that any state mandates have funding behind them.

The council had temporarily suspended the law in November after Deptford argued that the $25 surcharge on people convicted of driving while intoxicated that was created to pay for the cameras wasn't sufficient.  Deptford says it averages less than eight DWI convictions a month.

Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, who sponsored the law in 2014, released a statement following the panel’s ruling.

“Dashboard and body cameras serve the dual purpose of making it easier for innocent civilians to pursue justice and protecting the vast majority of diligent officers who act in good faith as they serve the public. The value of this law cannot be cast aside simply because of a single claim made by one unauthorized and unqualified entity.”

Moriarty sponsored the law after he said he was wrongly charged with DWI in 2012. He later had the charges thrown out using dashboard video.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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