Police body cameras assisting efforts at Stockton, Rowan
Take a picture; it’ll last longer.
That’s essentially the mindset behind colleges and universities in the Garden State that are equipping their campus officers with body-worn cameras. Only instead of a picture, they’re taking video.
Stockton University became the latest campus in New Jersey to jump on board with police body cameras. They started rolling in early October.
“Obviously, with everything that’s going on and has been going on nationally with law enforcement, we’re very big on maintaining our transparency,” said Stockton Police Chief Cynthia Parker. “We want to make sure that the community knows what we’re doing, when we’re doing it.”
Stockton students come from all over, Parker said, so the university has to counter any negative perceptions these students may have of their hometown law enforcement.
Even before the cameras were introduced, Stockton has been keeping track of the race and gender of each person involved in an arrest or motor vehicle stop.
Per university policy, supervisors are mandated to conduct a monthly review of their officers’ cameras.
Rowan University, in April, became the first campus in New Jersey to go live with police body cameras.
“In our case, our police officers are in and out of residence halls, in and out of buildings, so just having (a camera) on a police car is not as good as having one on your body,” said university spokesman Jose Cardona.
Officers have been properly trained on how to operate the small cameras, as well as the privacy issues that come along with a portable recording device.
When involved in an incident with others, Cardona said, an officer must announce that the camera is rolling.
According to the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities, The College of New Jersey is considering the use of cameras on its campus. Drew University – not a member of the association – decided against them.