All New York state troopers will be required to wear body cameras while on patrol, according to legislation signed Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The body cameras must begin recording immediately before the officers exit their vehicles to interact with the public or respond to a call for service. The law requires that law enforcement keep video records of all interactions.
“The relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve isn’t working,” Cuomo said in a statement, adding that the measure would aim to increase transparency and accountability in policing.
The New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association, a labor union representing state police, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The law mandates the creation of an investigatory misconduct office within New York’s Law Department to review, study, audit and make recommendations to police agencies, according to a press release from Cuomo’s office.
The new office aims to enhance law enforcement’s effectiveness and increase public safety and trust, but it will also handle misconduct complaints about local law enforcement agencies throughout New York, Cuomo said.
The new law follows police reform legislation package signed by Cuomo on Friday that criminalized the use of chokeholds and amended a controversial law that prevented disciplinary records for police officers, firefighters or corrections officers from being released without their written consent.
Cuomo also signed oa bill that designates the attorney general as an independent prosecutor for matters relating to the deaths of unarmed civilians caused by law enforcement, technically codifying an executive order he mandated in 2014 in the wake of Eric Garner’s death.
The police reform bills, opposed by police unions who feel the laws will result in unfair policies, follow weeks of protests nationwide after the deaths of several African Americans at the hands of the police.