New Jersey Expands Police Reform Efforts

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New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced initiatives designed to increase trust between police and local communities, including an expansion of the state‘s use-of-force database and a proposed licensing program for law enforcement, Politico reports. The measures were detailed amid protests against police brutality after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Grewal outlined steps the state will take as part of the “Excellence in Policing” initiative started last year to foster increased accountability, transparency and professionalism in law enforcement. The state’s use-of-force database  will add police departments that don’t yet have access by July 1. By the end of the year, New Jersey will use information from the database to update its use-of-force policies for the first time in two decades to “reflect the values of today,” Grewal said.

The state will launch a pilot program in Paterson, Trenton, Atlantic City and Millville to expand crisis intervention team training, in which law enforcement partners with mental health professionals to respond to crises involving mental health. The state also will establish an incident response team to “serve a vital role in defusing tensions and healing a community after a moment of collective trauma,” Grewal said. The team will go local areas after major civil rights incidents. Grewal requested the Police Training Commission to implement a statewide licensing program for all law enforcement. “Just as we license doctors, nurses, lawyers … we must ensure that all officers meet a baseline level of professionalism,” Grewal said, adding that those who don’t meet the standard cannot work in New Jersey.

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