To better document encounters between officers and the public, video recorders will be mounted in police cars of the Delaware River Port Authority.

The DRPA board approved a plan Wednesday to spend $343,987 to install the recorders in 48 cars used by officers who patrol the authority's four toll bridges and the PATCO commuter rail line.

The cameras will be purchased from Computech International of Great Neck, N.Y.

They will automatically record an officer's actions, providing "indisputable documentation" of all encounters and improving internal investigations of public complaints, the DRPA said.

Such onboard recorders are quickly becoming standard equipment for police forces around the country, providing evidence both for prosecutors and defense attorneys.

In a recent, well-publicized case in Gloucester County, evidence from an officer's car-mounted video recorder was pivotal in traffic charges being dismissed against Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D., Gloucester) and official-misconduct charges being brought against the arresting officer, Washington Township Patrolman Joseph DiBuonaventura.

In other business, the board approved spending about $400,000 to upgrade electronic toll-collection equipment at the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Betsy Ross, and Commodore Barry toll bridges.

The software and hardware will be purchased from HMW Enterprises Inc. of Waynesboro, Pa., and TransCore L.P. of Hummelstown, Pa., following TransCore's analysis that much of the system it installed in 1999 had reached the end of its useful life.