Executive Order No. 201 (2020) -

Executive Order No. 201 (2020)

Governor Philip D. Murphy

Executive Order No. 201 (2020)

An Order to Bring Changes to the Use of Body Worn Cameras by New Jersey Law Enforcement

Issued: November 24, 2020.

Effective: November 24, 2020.

WHEREAS, the State of New Jersey is committed to serving as a model for the nation on effective policing practices and criminal justice reform; and

WHEREAS, the Attorney General has sought, through the "Excellence in Policing" initiative, to promote the professionalism, accountability, and transparency that are hallmarks of New Jersey's best law enforcement agencies; and

WHEREAS, ensuring trust between the police and the communities they serve is a critical component of public safety; and

WHEREAS, the vast majority of New Jersey's 38,000 law enforcement officers serve the public in accordance with the highest standards of professionalism and integrity; and

WHEREAS, the deployment of body worn camera systems by law enforcement agencies can be a powerful tool for building community trust, both by creating a record of law enforcement professionalism in interactions with the public, and by providing evidence of officer misconduct when it does occur; and

WHEREAS, body worn camera footage can also be utilized to improve training for law enforcement officers, by enabling scenario-based review of past encounters with the public; and

WHEREAS, Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive No. 2015-1 establishes mandatory standards for the handling and storage of body worn camera footage; and

WHEREAS, as of September 23, 2020, 237 of the State's 537 law enforcement agencies now equip some or all of their officers with body-worn cameras; and

WHEREAS, many more law enforcement agencies recognize the benefits of body worn camera systems, but find the adoption of such systems to be prohibitively expensive or logistically difficult; and

WHEREAS, a significant factor in the cost and utilization of body worn camera systems is the ongoing expense of storing and retrieving body worn camera footage, which currently requires that law enforcement agencies individually contract directly with private vendors; and

WHEREAS, New Jersey's municipal government structure provides municipalities with the authority to establish their own services, but which can have the effect of hindering cooperation on problems common across the State; and

WHEREAS, my Administration is dedicated to promoting and supporting shared services as a way to reduce costs borne by individual municipalities and take advantage of economies of scale; and

WHEREAS, a statewide, centralized solution for the storage and retrieval of body worn camera footage could leverage the State's purchasing power to significantly reduce the costs associated with doing so, which would lower the financial and logistical barriers to system adoption for law enforcement agencies, and

WHEREAS, reducing the costs associated with adopting a comprehensive body worn camera program will accelerate the implementation of body worn camera systems across the state; and

WHEREAS, the review of a statewide solution for the storage of body worn camera footage has not previously been conducted; and

WHEREAS, a statewide, centralized solution would facilitate the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability's review of use of force and death in custody incidents, thereby streamlining the process to ensure timely release of video footage to the public pursuant to Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive 2019-4; and

WHEREAS, such a solution would benefit from the input of stakeholders across State government and law enforcement in New Jersey;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, PHILIP D. MURPHY, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

1. There is hereby created the Interagency Working Group on Body Worn Cameras ("Working Group"), which shall be responsible for providing advice and recommendations to the Governor's Office and to the Attorney General regarding technology solutions to facilitate the statewide implementation of body worn cameras in law enforcement agencies.

2. The objectives of the Working Group shall include the following:

a. Consulting with law enforcement agencies to identify barriers to the adoption of body worn camera systems;

b. Identifying and recommending potential technology solutions to facilitate the adoption of body worn camera systems by police departments, including the potential provision of centralized statewide or regional storage systems;

c. Developing recommended strategies for implementation of a body worn camera solution for police departments, including any actions that must be taken by agencies of state government; and

d. Recommending any necessary changes to existing policies, whether by executive action or legislation, related to the deployment of body worn camera systems or the storage and handling of body worn camera footage.

3. The Working Group shall consist of the following fourteen members:

a. The Attorney General, or designee; who shall serve as Chair;

b. The Superintendent of the State Police, or designee;

c. The Director of the Division of Criminal Justice, or designee;

d. The Chief Technology Officer of the Office of Information Technology, or designee;

e. The Chief Innovation Officer, or designee;

f. The New Jersey State Treasurer, or designee;

g. Four members of the public, including at least one member of the faith-based community and one criminal justice advocate, who shall be appointed by the Governor;

h. Two members of county or municipal law enforcement agencies, who shall be appointed by the Governor;

i. A member of a police union, who shall be appointed by the Governor; and

j. A County Prosecutor, who shall be appointed by the Governor. The appointed County Prosecutor may designate a representative for participation in the Working Group.

4. All members and designees shall serve at the pleasure of the appointing department or agency, or in the case of those appointed by the Governor, at the pleasure of the Governor, and all shall serve without compensation.

5. The Working Group shall be authorized to call upon any department, office, division, or agency of this State to supply it with information or other assistance as the Working Group determines to be necessary to discharge its duties under this Order.

6. Each Executive Branch department and agency is hereby required, to the extent not inconsistent with law and consistent with budgetary constraints, to cooperate fully with the Working Group within the limits of its statutory authority and to furnish the Working Group with such assistance on as timely a basis as is necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Order. To the extent necessary, the Department of Law and Public Safety shall provide professional and clerical staff to the Working Group.

7. The Working Group may consult with experts or other knowledgeable individuals in the public or private sector with respect to any aspect of its mission.

8. The Working Group shall organize and meet as soon as practicable to begin performing the charges set forth in this order.

9. The Working Group, which shall be purely advisory in nature, shall issue a report of its findings and recommendations to the Governor's Office and Attorney General no later than March 31, 2021. The Working Group shall expire upon the issuance of this report.

10. Nothing in this Order shall be construed to supersede any federal, State, or local law.

11. For purposes of this Order, "Executive Branch departments and agencies" shall mean any of the principal departments in the Executive Branch of State government and any agency, authority, board, bureau, commission, division, institution, office, or other instrumentality within or created by any such department, and any independent State authority, commission, instrumentality, or agency over which the Governor exercises executive authority, as determined by the Attorney General.

12. This Order shall take effect immediately.

(Published January 19, 2016 in the New Jersey Register at 48 N.J.R. 247(a). Published November 24, 2020 in the New Jersey Register at 52 N.J.R. 2158(a).)

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