Do South Orange Police Officer’s currently wear body worn cameras?


Currently, South Orange Police Officers do not use body worn cameras. Several years ago the Department investigated acquiring them, but due to budgetary constraints the decision was made to delay that purchase. At that time, and currently, the State of New Jersey mandated that Mobile Digital Video Recorders (the in-car camera systems) be installed in all marked police vehicles. Body cameras were not required equipment and the State currently allows localities to determine if they will use them. Purchasing both systems would have required major investment in the initial equipment purchase as well as ongoing maintenance and data storage costs. Using the limited resources available the choice was made to modernize and fully replace the MDVR system. Township and Department administration are currently investigating the purchase and implementation of a body camera system.

Each marked patrol vehicle is equipped with two forward facing cameras and one rear facing cameras, known as MDVR’s (mobile digital video recorders). South Orange Police Officers utilize a rechargeable microphone that officers wear on their person to capture sound. The vehicle camera system can be activated one of two ways. The first way of activating the camera system is by turning on a vehicle’s emergency lights. The second way a camera system can be activated is by an officer manually turning on the system. A South Orange Police Officer is required to record the following police actions:

  • Traffic stops, criminal enforcement stops, motorist aids, motor vehicle crashes, and pedestrian enforcement actions
  • Vehicular pursuits
  • Major crime scenes
  • Any situation that should arise wherein the officer, by reason of their training and experience, determines that the incident should be documented on video tape.

A South Orange Police Officer shall not cease recording an incident at the request of any person or entity other than a police supervisor. A supervisor must have an objectively reasonable justification to direct the cessation of recording. All MDVR recordings may be reviewed and are stored and retained according to state-wide standards directed by the NJ Attorney General.

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1. What is the hiring process like to become a South Orange Police Officer?
2. What type of continuing education and or training does a South Orange Police Officer receive during their career?
3. Why is the word PROUD written on the back of all of the department’s police vehicles?
4. Do South Orange Police Officer’s currently wear body worn cameras?
5. What is the Primary function of the Internal Affairs Unit at The South Orange Police Department?
6. Does the South Orange Police Department have an early warning system which identifies problematic behavior or actions prior to them becoming a much larger issue?
7. Can an anonymous person file a complaint against a South Orange Police Officer?
8. Does the South Orange Police Department have a Use of Force policy?
9. Are South Orange Police Officers trained to verbally de-escalate a situation before resorting to using force?
10. Are there any circumstances where a South Orange Police Officer is permitted to use excessive force?
11. Can a South Orange Police Officer shoot at or from a moving vehicle?
12. Are South Orange Police Officers required to intervene if they witness another officer using excessive force?
13. Are South Orange Police Officers required to report incidents where they have used force?
14. What is the difference between a Use of Force Report and a complaint of excessive force?
15. What use of force options are available to a South Orange Police Officer?
16. Under what circumstances may a South Orange Police Officer use physical or mechanical force?
17. Under what circumstances may a South Orange Police Officer use deadly force?
18. Are South Orange Police Officers permitted to use chokeholds?
19. If a South Orange Police Officer uses force during an encounter, are they trained to administer the necessary medical aid to the subject should it be required?
20. Do the South Orange Police Department’s policies and procedures regarding Use of Force align with the “8 Can’t Wait” campaign?
21. Does the South Orange Police Department have any options in place to redirect juvenile offenders out of the criminal justice system?
22. What is the level of police involvement with youth and in schools (specifically, DARE, LEAD, SROs, and athletics)?
23. Does the South Orange Police Department currently have a civilian review board?
24. What types of calls for service does a South Orange Police Officer respond to? What other resources does South Orange have to reduce the number of calls to the police?
25. Does the racial makeup of the South Orange Police Department reflect the community it serves?
26. How can I obtain a copy of a police report?
27. How do I apply for a firearms ID card and/or a handgun permit?