If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a video with audio worth?

Flickr User Tom Link

New legislation approved by the Assembly Law and Public Safety committee would require new police cars in New Jersey to come equipped with dashboard mounted video recorders.

"This bill makes it mandatory that any new police cruisers or newly leased police cruisers that are used for traffic stops need to be outfitted with motor vehicle recorders," said bill sponsor, Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). "Motor vehicle recorders do not lie. They don't alter events. They don't forget. It's an accurate record of what went on."

The cameras would be activated when a police officer turns on the overhead lights. The cameras would stay activated until those lights are turned off.

The measure increases the surcharge imposed on anyone convicted of driving while intoxicated. The additional surcharge is payable to the municipality where the conviction was obtained for the cost of equipping police vehicles with cameras, as required by the bill.

"There would be a $25 surcharge that would be tacked onto a fine for people convicted of DWI so it's not paid for by taxpayers. It's paid for by people doing something wrong." said Moriarty. "The cameras are good for the motorist, good for the officer and it's a perfect document to be used in a court of law."

The bill defines a "mobile video recording system" as a device or system installed or used in a police vehicle that electronically records visual images depicting activities that take place during a motor vehicle stop or other law enforcement action.