A New Jersey law requiring all new police vehicles be equipped with mobile camera systems has been struck down after a state panel found it created an unconstitutional financial burden on local governments.
The Council on Local Mandates — a little-known body that reviews laws to make sure they’re in line with the state constitution’s “state mandate, state pay” amendment — ruled on Wednesday that the 2014 police camera law did not meet that requirement.
The decision, which the council’s head claims is not subject to appeal, comes as police departments across New Jersey and the United States grapple with implementing dashboard and body-worn camera systems amid a climate of scrutiny of police practices.
The law mandated that every new municipal police vehicle used primarily for traffic stops be outfitted with a dashboard camera. Alternatively, departments could avoid equipping cars with video systems if their officers wore body cameras.
The law created a $25 surcharge on those convicted of driving while intoxicated that would help pay for the cameras.