The New Jersey State Police have for the first time fully complied with all court-ordered reforms aimed at eradicating racial profiling from its ranks, says a new independent monitors’ report quoted by the Newark Star-Ledger. The report found improvements in areas of training, supervision, and quality control where deficiencies were found in a report last fall. State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes said that if troopers remain in compliance through this fall, the state may ask a federal court to end oversight as early as the end of the year.
The state signed a federal consent decree promising reforms after a 1998 shooting on the New Jersey Turnpike. Two state troopers fired on a van carrying four unarmed minority males, injuring three, putting New Jersey in the focus of a national debate over racial profiling. Attorney General Peter Harvey said the report shows the state was correct to emphasize training, managerial oversight, and new technology to eliminate racial bias in highway stops and searches. The new report praises front-line sergeants for correcting, counseling, and retraining troopers when they make mistakes.