Assembly Panel Advances Surveillance Notification Bill
By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. October 15, 2012
A New Jersey Assembly committee has advanced a measure that would require police from other states to provide notice before conducting surveillance operations in the Garden State.
The bill’s primary sponsor is Assemblyman Charles Mainor who is also a police detective in Jersey City.
He says the legislation was prompted by the New York Police Department’s secret surveillance of Muslim businesses, mosques and student groups in North Jersey.
“Now we all understand that there have been things that have taken place in the past, but you can’t focus one group who is completely innocent. It came into my backyard into Jersey City, and it was uncalled for, and this is what we have to do to stop that.”
Mainor says without proper notification, New Jersey authorities could get into unnecessary confrontations with undercover out-of-state officers.
“If it’s a group of people that sees someone sitting in a van with binoculars, we don’t know if they’re looking to scope out a house. We don’t know if they’re looking to burglarize an area. We don’t know and it can create a big problem. The police come, you’re trying to identify, you have a weapon, we have a weapon. Many things can happen.”
The bill requires a county prosecutor to be informed about the surveillance. Federal agencies would be exempt from the requirement.