NY governor signs bill mandating troopers wear body cameras

Troopers must wear them at all times and turn them on any time they are interacting with the public or responding to a call

Denis Slattery
New York Daily News

ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Cuomo signed legislation Tuesday requiring New York State Police officers to wear body cameras while on patrol.

The measure is one of several sweeping police reforms passed by the Democrat-led Legislature last week in the wake of widespread protests against police brutality and racism.

“The relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve isn’t working,” the governor said. “New York is the progressive capital of the nation, and we are leading the way by enacting real reforms to increase transparency in policing, promote accountability among our law enforcement agencies and ultimately mend that frayed relationship between the police and the community.”

Under the new law, state troopers must wear body cameras and turn them on any time they are interacting with the public or responding to a call.

Cuomo also signed a separate measure creating the “Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office” within the state Department of Law.

The unit will review, study, audit and make recommendations to police agencies to help increase public safety and protect civil liberties and civil rights.

Lawmakers approved a total of 10 police reform bills last week as civil unrest engulfed the nation over the death of George Floyd, a black man killed in Minneapolis when a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

On Friday, Cuomo signed four of those bills into law, including one repealing a statute known as 50-a that helped police departments shield officers’ disciplinary records.

Other measures already signed by the governor include a ban on police chokeholds like the one used on Eric Garner, a black man who died on Staten Island in 2014 when a then-NYPD officer used the maneuver on him, and a bill outlawing false race-based 911 calls.

Bills mandating cops report within six hours of discharging their gun and ensuring anyone in custody has access to either medical and mental health assistance were also signed by Cuomo on Monday.

During a briefing at the Capitol earlier Tuesday, the governor stressed his belief that an executive order signed last week requiring local police departments to implement community-engaged police reforms by April 1 of next year — or risk losing state funding — will lead to change.

“We have 289 days to do the legislation on a local level, and once you have the legislation and you have a relationship that works for both parties, you can have reconciliation,” Cuomo said. “But this has to be done, and it has to be done community by community."

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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