By Bradford Mason

Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka and Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose announced this week that all plainclothes Newark Police Division Officers will wear bodycams, starting immediately.

The move comes after the New Year’s Day police killing of 39-year-old Carl Dorsey III. Detective Rod Simpkins of the Newark Police Department fired his service weapon at Dorsey when Simpkins responding to gunfire in the area.

Simpkins was not wearing a bodycam at the time of the shooting and no firearm was recovered from Dorsey or his immediate area. New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal released a recording from a security camera that captured a portion of the

There will be only three exceptions to the new bodycam order:

  • Personnel assigned as liaisons to federal, state, or county agencies will be guided by those agencies’ policies.
  • Officers assigned to surveillance duties only will not be required to wear a bodycam. However, all officers assigned to the “take-down” arrest in such cases must wear the bodycam.
  • Officers who make a written request to the Public Safety Director and receive his or her authorization not to wear the bodycam. Such requests must give the operational or safety reasons for not wearing the bodycam.

“We are making immense strides in making Newark a safer city, and our Police Division a more transparent one,” Mayor Baraka said. “Last year we were proud that our officers did not fire a single shot. This year, we are taking our standards and procedures to a higher level, to ensure that our officers protect and serve their residents properly, and our residents and visitors can feel safer.”

“The policy that I implemented today is yet another step in the right direction to continue building trust and transparency with the people whom we serve,” said Director Ambrose.

Officers assigned to work street-level enforcement in a plainclothes capacity shall have the option of wearing their uniform while operating unmarked or conventional vehicles in the field, as directed by their supervisor.

Officers assigned to work street-level enforcement in a plainclothes capacity shall have the option of wearing their uniform while operating unmarked or conventional vehicles in the field, as directed by their supervisor.

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