With school elections firmly behind us, Boards of Education are now looking forward to their January re-organization meetings and, in some cases, new Board members taking office. But as everyone knows, December can be a hectic rush, with more and more competing demands for our increasingly limited time and attention. As a result, sometimes the requirements of N.J.S.A. 18A:12-1.2(a), that every newly elected or appointed member of a Board of Education must complete a criminal history background investigation “within 30 days of election or appointment,” can be overlooked in all the holiday hubbub.
In the wake of recent high-profile excessive force incidents, police departments are being pressured by the public for greater accountability and transparency in law enforcement. Police departments, cities, towns, and other municipalities have become subject to seemingly endless scrutiny, and they have seen a sharp rise in law enforcement watchdog groups, media coverage, investigations by the Department of Justice, and protests. Police Departments have responded with police-worn body-cameras, but they have still seen an increase in cases of citizens using cell phones and other devices to record police encounters. But, is that legal?