Aiming to provide better protection – and accountability – for both inmates and staff at his jail, Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton has bought dozens of body cameras.
Although there currently is no mandate from New Jersey's attorney general to equip county jails with the devices, Cureton said the 80 cameras for his corrections officers reflect a “growing trend” in law enforcement toward transparency.
On one hand, the sheriff said, bodycams protect against bogus allegations of assault and/or improper conduct against the officers.
At the same time, they protect inmates from unjust treatment, he said.
The cameras “serve the agency as a training tool and reduce the amount of internal affairs investigation involving officers,” Cureton said.
In the end, he said: “People who know they are being observed and recorded on video tend to act better than those not under observation.”
Surveillance cameras put the lie to an inmate’s accusations in a lawsuit that sheriff’s officers beat and pepper-sprayed him when he refused to wear a straitjacket, investigators have said.
Body cameras would’ve been even more conclusive, Cureton said.
Although the sheriff has already purchased 80 cameras for Axon $500,000, including outfitting, from his department’s capital budget, he anticipates needing more as an agreed-upon transfer of inmates from the soon-closing Passaic County Jail continues.
SEE: Bail Reform Fuels Deal For Bergen County Jail To House Passaic County Inmates
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