More News:

January 15, 2017

More South Jersey police departments to wear body cameras

Technology Police
041615_bodycamera Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Steve Tuttle, vice president of communications for Taser International, demonstrates one of the company's body cameras.

More police departments in South Jersey will be implementing the use of body worn cameras after state officials unveiled more than $500,000 in funding this week to improve safety and accountability.

New Jersey Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced Wednesday that 37 law enforcement agencies, including 14 across four counties in South Jersey, have been awarded a total of $566,000 grants to buy 1,132 body cameras.

“This new round of funding for body cameras will keep New Jersey in the vanguard nationally in using this technology, which promotes transparency in policing while protecting officers in their difficult and dangerous jobs,” Porrino said in a statement.

State officials have embraced the notion that the use of body cameras helps build trust in the community after the recommendation by President Barack Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which was co-chaired by former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. Since 2015, the state Attorney General’s Office has provided more than $4.5 million to help agencies purchase the equipment.

This year's awards, $500 per camera, were reserved for departments that had not received grants last year. Currently, nearly half (240) of the state's 500 law enforcement agencies have body camera programs.

The following agencies in South Jersey received grants:

• Atlantic: Hamilton Township ($20,000), Longport ($3,000) and Northfield ($4,500) 
• Burlington: Bordentown Township ($11,500), Cinnaminson ($14,000), Delanco ($3,000), Eastampton ($9,000), Mansfield Township ($7,000), Maple Shade ($18,500) and Medford ($16,500)
• Gloucester: Elk Township ($6,00), Mantua Township ($12,500) and Wenonah ($3,500)
• Salem: Lower Alloways Creek ($1,000)

The funding was provided from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program through the U.S. Department of Justice.

In the Philly area, several agencies have recently enacted body camera programs, including Cherry Hill, all Bucks County departments, SEPTA Transit and the New Jersey State Police.