Pursuant to legislation signed by Governor Phil Murphy in 2020 and Directive 2021-5 issued by the Attorney General (NJOAG), effective June 18, 2021, Chief of Police Thomas J. Falco Jr. has issued a General Order within the Matawan Police Department mandating the use of Body Worn Cameras (BWCs).
NJOAG Directive 2021-5, and the accompanying Body Worn Camera Policy, requires all uniformed patrol officers be equipped with body worn cameras (“BWCs”), expands the law’s mandate to additional officers, and ensures appropriate use of BWCs.
In accordance with this legislation and the accompanying directive and policy promulgated by the NJOAG, the Matawan Police Department is currently employing the use of Body Worn Cameras (BWCs). Although the department is currently awaiting funds appropriated for the purchase of BWCs through a Municipal Capital Improvement Plan, in addition to funds being dispersed by the NJOAG through the state-wide BWC Grant Program, Chief Falco proactively worked with the selected vendor to comply with the directive even though the funding was not yet available by obtaining eight (8) “loaner” BWCs to deploy until the funds are received and the department’s order is filled. Currently, those officers working uniformed patrol and the agency’s support services officer are equipped with BWCs. By year’s end, the agency will take delivery of twenty-eight new generation Panasonic Arbitrator BWCs that will fully integrate with the agency’s Mobile Video Recorders (MVRs) in all marked front-line patrol vehicles. The Matawan Police Department was one of the first agencies in the area to utilize MVRs, deploying the first equipped vehicles in the year 2000 with VHS equipped recorders.
The Panasonic Arbitrator Body Worn Camera (pictured) will be worn by Matawan Police Officers in accordance with the NJOAG Directive and Department General Order. It is the policy of the Matawan Police Department to utilize BWCs to assist agency personnel in the performance of their duties by providing an accurate and unbiased recorded account of an incident.
BWC recordings are an invaluable to law enforcement for evidential purposes. BWCs have demonstrated their value in providing unbiased evidence for the prosecution of criminal, traffic, and other related offenses and to protect civilians and personnel from false claims of misconduct. Additionally, this equipment will provide valuable instructional material that can be utilized for in-service training programs as outlined in the current policy.
The BWC initiative is designed to continue the process of building public trust by promoting professionalism, enhancing transparency, and ensuring accountability across the law enforcement profession.
View the Body Worn Camera Order.