Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a series of bills into law on Monday he and state legislators hope will start the path toward police reform in New York.
The first bill requires all New York State Police officers to wear body cameras while on patrol, and to begin recording immediately before an officer exits a patrol vehicle, or before all uses of force, all arrests and summonses, and before all interactions with people suspected of criminal activity. They’ll also need to turn on the cameras for all searches and more.
“As one of the largest state police agencies in the country, the New York State Police should be one of the first agencies to set an example, to show others how to properly use body cams to deliver transparency and accountability to the public,” said Brooklyn Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, in a release. “This legislation will help bring to light when excessive force is used, and hopefully ultimately reduce the number of ‘use of force’ incidents, and take a critical first step in repairing the trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
The other bill creates the Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office, intended to study, audit, review and recommend to police agencies regarding how to improve the effectiveness of law enforcement.
The office also is expected to handle misconduct complaints statewide about any local law enforcement agencies — even if it doesn’t involve a death.
“The relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve isn’t working,” Cuomo said, in a release. “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.”