By Mike DeNardo and Syma Chowdhry

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — It’s now the law in New Jersey:  new police cars have to have video cameras installed, under a bill signed last night by Governor Christie.

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New local police cars are required to have dashboard video cameras, under the bill sponsored by Washington Township assemblyman Paul Moriarty, who was cleared of drunk-driving charges after police video showed him passing field sobriety testsThe officer who arrested him now faces charges of harassment.

At a news conference in Cherry Hill today, Moriarty said cameras can help to protect both police and average people.

“Two years ago, I was just another lying politician. No one believed me. I wouldn’t have believed me if it weren’t for the cameras,” he said with a smile.

He says he hopes dashboard cams in police cruisers will help ensure that evidence and testimony are accurate.

Meanwhile, state senator Donald Norcross says he plans to introduce a bill that would require all police to wear body cameras.

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“If a picture is worth one thousand words, then a video is priceless,” Norcross said.

“We are definitely planning to implement the body cameras; now, it’s just trying to narrow down a vendor,” agreed Cherry Hill Police Chief William Monaghan.

(A Cherry Hill police officer wearing a body camera.  The green ring indicates the camera is recording.  Photo by Mike DeNardo)

(A Cherry Hill police officer wearing a body camera on his chest.  Photo by Mike DeNardo)


The police car cameras are being funded by a $25 surcharge on DWI convictions.  Norcross says his bill may use drug forfeiture money to help pay for the body cams.

Meanwhile, police in nearby Evesham Township have been using body cameras since July.

“Why shouldn’t we capture the 100% – have that level of transparency on both sides, for the community? Because we owe it to them and also to our officers,” said Chief Christopher Chew, of the Evesham Police Department.

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The new law goes into effect in six months.