Maplewood and South Orange police will be able to purchase body cameras through grants announced on Monday by the New Jersey Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman.
Maplewood will receive $22,500 to purchase 45 cameras, while South Orange will receive a $30,000 grant to purchase 60 cameras.
Hoffman announced the grants as two of 176 grants totaling $2.5 million being distributed to police departments across the state. (See the full list of grant distributions here.)
“We clearly are leading the nation when it comes to our efforts in New Jersey to deploy body-worn cameras to promote transparency and mutual accountability of police and civilians,” said Hoffman in the release. “The overwhelming response we received from law enforcement to our offer of funding demonstrates that police officers are embracing this technology to protect themselves, assist them in their work, and foster stronger police-community relations.”
At the same time that he announced the funding for body cameras, Hoffman issued a statewide policy designed to promote best practices and uniformity in using the devices. The new policy – which guides police departments statewide that decide to deploy body cameras – establishes foundational requirements while allowing individual police departments to tailor policies to local needs. Read the policy here.
Reached for comment, Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca noted that “during the 2015 budget hearings, the Township Committee supported obtaining body cameras for our department. The grant from the Attorney General’s office is a huge step forward and we believe will help Maplewood’s officers in the performance of their duties.”
“I’m very pleased to learn that the Maplewood Police Department was successful in the grant process and that our department is receiving funding for Body Worn Cameras through the New Jersey Body Worn Camera Assistance Program,” said Maplewood Police Chief Robert Cimino. “The implementation of our Body Worn Camera Program is expected to increase officer’s safety and to further validate the professionalism that officers exhibit as they serve and protect the community, so we look forward to moving ahead with the program.”
South Orange Village President Sheena Collum also expressed gratitude for the grant.
“The Village has made a significant commitment to public safety technology to ensure that our Police and Fire Departments have the best available equipment and technology to serve and protect our residents,” wrote Collum in an email. “Our Public Safety Committee has, for several months, been evaluating camera systems and manufacturers as well as developing policies and regulations for their use, beginning with the Model Guidelines issued by the New Jersey Attorney General; all in anticipation of purchasing and implementing a Body Worn Camera program. We are grateful to Essex County for making these funds available which will lessen the cost to the Village and, ultimately, to our taxpayers. We look forward to adding Body Worn Cameras to our growing inventory of state of the art technology and equipment that is keeping the South Orange Police Department at the forefront of law enforcement as we continually strive to ensure the safety and well-being of our community.”