All NJ police officers to wear cameras by June; state police struggle to get recruits

All police officers in New Jersey will be expected to wear body cameras over the next couple of months.

News 12 Staff

Apr 13, 2021, 2:39 AM

Updated 1,139 days ago

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All police officers in New Jersey will be expected to wear body cameras over the next couple of months.
It is part of a series of steps to improve policing in the Garden State.
“Body cameras will hold everyone accountable. They will hold police officers accountable, and they will hold the community accountable,” says Dalton Price, the president of Bronze Shields of Passaic County, a Black law enforcement group.
The New Jersey attorney general has put aside $60 million for police departments to pay for body cameras. All officers will be wearing them by June.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal also unveiled last week a police use-of-force dashboard, while lawmakers push for departments to have minority hiring programs.
“You want people in an urban community to understand for one, policing is a respectable career,” says Price.
Price himself is a former Paterson police officer.
“You’re looking to recruit people from that neighborhood with the same mindset from that area, and that’s important when you have police from a community. It helps when they recognize people in the community,” he says.
Price’s group is helping the New Jersey State Police to recruit. But the head of the state police says that applicants are coming up short. Col. Patrick Callahan says that there are only a couple of thousand applications right now. There are usually anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 applicants.
Callahan says that incidents from around the nation could be playing a role.
“I think that the young men and women, when they look around the country and they see things that are going on and question it – I think it’s time for those to step up and be a part of igniting change,” he says.
There are several incidents in New Jersey that are under investigation when it comes to use of force.
“In the climate that we’re living in, I can say that a lot of what we see on video when it comes to policing, it looks bad. And a lot of it looks bad because it is bad,” says Price.
Price says that police reform could weed out those who got into law enforcement for the wrong reasons.
Online applications for the New Jersey State Police are expected to be up for another 10 days. But Callahan says that the deadline could be extended to help get the word out.


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