New directive in Newark includes plainclothes police officers wearing body cameras
Community leaders in Newark say they are taking one more step in making policing more transparent by issuing body cams to plainclothes officers.
The new directive will go into effect immediately, meaning plainclothes officers in the city will wear body cams at all times, with a few exceptions.
The directive has been in the development as police were first issued body cameras just last year. According to city leaders, as part of the directive, all officers assigned to "take-down" arrests must wear the bodycam. Officers assigned to work street-level enforcement in a plainclothes capacity have the option of wearing their uniform while operating unmarked or conventional vehicles in the field, as directed by their supervisor.
In a statement from Mayor Ras Baraka, he says, “We are making immense strides in making Newark a safer city, and our police division a more transparent one. Last year, we were proud that our officers did not fire a single shot."
There are three exceptions to the order, including:
Personnel assigned as liaisons to federal, state, or county agencies will be guided by those agencies' policies.
Officers assigned to surveillance duties only will not be required to wear a bodycam. However, all officers assigned to the "take-down" arrest in such cases must wear the bodycam.
Officers who make a written request to the public safety director and receive his or her authorization not to wear the bodycam, but those requests must give the operational or safety reasons for not wearing the bodycam.
Public Safety Anthony Ambrose says it's about building trust and transparency with the people they serve.