New Jersey’s scattershot system for monitoring how often police officers use painful holds, punches, kicks and other types of force in the line of duty will get an overhaul after NJ Advance Media investigation, reports NJ.com.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, along with local, county and state law enforcement officials as well as the heads of major police unions — said they would be “working together to design a new system for obtaining use-of-force data in New Jersey.”
The announcement comes less than a week after the debut of The Force Report, a 16-month investigation by NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, which found major disparities in how police officers use force and who they use it against, as well as paltry oversight and no standard reporting practices.
The news organization filed 506 public records requests and invested more than $30,000 to collect and analyze 72,607 use-of-force reports from 2012 through 2016, the most recent year available. The resulting database, now available at NJ.com/force, includes use-of-force data for every municipal department and the State Police.
Its release prompted calls for reform as well as criticism from some police leaders, who said the self-reported data by law enforcement agencies did not present a complete picture of the circumstances surrounding use of force.
“The articles make one thing clear: although individual municipalities, departments, or counties may have effective systems in place, our statewide data collection system requires a complete overhaul,” the officials’ new statement said.
They said the records in the NJ Advance Media database “may be inaccurate in some cases and may cause those relying on the data to draw incorrect conclusions about the state of law enforcement in New Jersey.”