Governor Murphy signed two bills of great importance to the State PBA today prior to the end of his first term in office. The State PBA had initiated the drafting and quick movement of the bills to address two serious and pressing needs for PBA members across the State. These bills close out a highly successful legislative session for State PBA initiated bills to protect and enhance the law enforcement profession in New Jersey.
First, in order to address a law and AG policy that prohibited an officer from reviewing their Body Worn Camera (BWC) footage when writing their initial reports, the State PBA proposed Assembly Bill 5864 to correct the policy. The bill signed by the Governor today expressly permits an officer to review their BWC when writing initial reports except in certain matters relating to the use of a firearm, death, violation of the excessive use of force policy or other similar serious matters.
The law will ensure accuracy in countless police reports and assist officers to properly record a situation. The State PBA is grateful to the bill sponsor and State PBA member, Assemblywoman Shanique Speight, for her leadership in pushing the bill and to Governor Murphy for working with the State PBA on it.
Second, in order to address the depletion of public safety spending on officer salary and equipment in Atlantic City since the State takeover of the city, the State PBA worked closely with Senate President Steve Sweeney and the State FMBA on a bill to establish a $2 room fee on every casino hotel guest room that will be set aside in a special fund for use only for officer salary, training, retention and equipment.
Senate Bill 4311 will raise millions per year that will restore Department funding and officer morale to the Atlantic City Police Department. The bill will assist in retaining officers in the Department and provide much needed finances to restore officer salary that was cut before and after the State takeover six years ago. The State PBA is truly grateful to Senator Sweeney for immediately saying yes when asked to sponsor this bill and, along with Speaker Coughlin, for making it a lame duck priority. We applaud Governor Murphy for working with us to develop additional language to ensure that the money is secured and its spending prioritized to benefit the Officers and the City.