Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Requiring New York State Police Officers to Wear Body Cameras and Creating the Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office

  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation requiring all New York State Police officers to wear body cameras while on patrol (S.8493/A.8674); and creating the Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office (S.3595-C/A.10002).

"The relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve isn't working," Governor Cuomo 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."

Requiring Use of Body Cameras (S.8493/A.8674)
This new law requires all New York State Police patrol officers to use body-worn cameras while on patrol to record immediately before an officer exits a patrol vehicle to interact with a person or situation; all uses of force; all arrests and summonses; all interactions with individuals suspected of criminal activity; all searches of persons and property; any call to a crime in progress; investigative actions involving interactions with members of the public; any interaction with an emotionally disturbed person; and any instances where an officer feels any imminent danger or the need to document their time on duty. The law also requires law enforcement to keep video records of all these interactions.

Creating the Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office (S.3595-C/A.10002)
This new law establishes the independent Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office within the Department of Law to review, study, audit and make recommendations to police agencies in the State with the goal of enhancing the effectiveness of law enforcement; increasing public safety; protecting civil liberties and civil rights; ensuring compliance with constitutional protections and local, state and federal laws; and increasing the public's confidence in law enforcement. The Office will also handle misconduct complaints statewide about any local law enforcement agencies. Unlike the Special Prosecutor, which is triggered only upon a law enforcement related death, this will allow for an independent review of complaints of misconduct for any local law enforcement agency. For state police agencies, the State Inspector General and the MTA Inspector General and Port Authority Inspector General have their jurisdiction expanded to receive complaints of law enforcement misconduct.

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