The Newark Police Department is rolling out its body and dash cam pilot program, as the embattled department continues to implement reforms as part of its five-year federal consent decree.
Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose says 80 body worn cameras and 15 dashboard cameras, donated by Newark based tech giant Panasonic, will be outfitted to officers in the city’s south ward beginning Monday.
“I think that this falls directly in line with the consent decree, with what the Department of Justice found when they did their investigation with the Newark Police Department, so I’m excited, anything that we can (use to) build trust and partnerships with the community, for the officers safety, and more importantly for transparency."
The cameras, which can be triggered by a patrol vehicle’s lights and sirens or at the push of a button, will be operated according to the state attorney general's guidelines.
Mayor Ras Baraka says the new cameras will take the Newark Police Department into the 21st century.
“We are incredibly excited about this here in Newark, and we believe that it will help us improve the level of policing and the quality of policing that we do in the city every single day, while at the same time making our residents feel more secure and more safe around the constitutionality of their stops.”
The program is being rolled out as the department remains under the watchful eye of independent federal monitor Peter Harvey, following the 2014 Department of Justice investigation that found widespread civil rights violations. The first report on the department's progress was released earlier this week.