TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — A law requiring new police cars in New Jersey to be equipped with dashboard cameras or for officers to wear body cams has been thrown out by a state panel.
The reason? Money.READ MORE: Fiston Ngoy, Charged In Rape On SEPTA Train, Held For Trial
Most people probably never heard of the Council on Local Mandates. They’re in place to ensure that anything mandated by the state is paid for by the state. The panel ruled Wednesday that the camera law, enacted in 2014, provided inadequate funding to municipalities and promptly threw it out.
Deptford Township Mayor Paul Medany brought the action before the panel.
“At the end of the day it’s about finances,” Medany told KYW Newsradio. “We’re pinching every dollar just like every municipality and even the State of New Jersey’s pinching every dollar and that’s what it’s about.”READ MORE: Philadelphia City Council Calling On SEPTA To Take Action After Several Violent, High-Profile Incidents On Transit System
Medany argued a $25 fee assessed to convicted drunk drivers was nowhere near enough given it would cost 80 grand just to get the equipment in his township.
“It would have taken us over 17 years to pay off that 80 thousand dollars,” he said. “So that’s just not a funding mechanism. That wasn’t going to work.”
And that estimate doesn’t include the cost to store those digital recordings or of retrieving them if and when they might be demanded under an Open Records Act request.
So what’s next?MORE NEWS: EXCLUSIVE: Heartbroken Mother Of 16-Year-Old Kanye Davis Speaks After Son Shot 8 Times, Killed
Supporters of the original legislation are calling on the state Attorney General to appeal the decision. Just one problem. No one is quite sure that this decision can be appealed.