Brick Township this week approved a six-figure purchase of body-worn cameras to comply with a state mandate requiring additional police personnel to wear the devices.
Under a new mandate by the state attorney general, effectively all police officers except those strictly undercover or meeting with confidential informants, must wear body cameras. The policy was adopted in the spring and set to become effective this summer. In an earlier measure, the state legislature appropriated $58 million to cover the cost of cameras, however that figure is dwarfed by the actual cost of having the program implemented in every municipality statewide.
Brick was already part of a pilot program that had funded body-worn cameras for its officers, part of which was funded by the state in a separate grant program. The newest contract will see Brick Township spend $204,794 to purchase additional cameras, with $85,000 of that figure being funded by the state and the remainder bonded.
“The cameras are needed to be in compliance with the attorney general’s guidelines that all police officers, including the SERT team and investigators, have cameras,” said Councilman Vince Minichino.
SERT is an acronym that stands for Special Emergency Response Team, Brick’s name for what is often called a SWAT team. Detectives must also now wear cameras during the course of their daily work. Officers assigned to administrative or desk duties are not required to wear cameras.
“Because of their power to promote transparency and accountability, body worn cameras are a vital tool for building trust between our police officers and the diverse communities they serve,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement when the police was developed in the spring.
The contract was awarded to WatchGuard Video of Allen, Tx.