On April 6 New Jersey made data available to the public on every use of physical force by police officers statewide. This is the culmination of more than two years of work overseen by the state Attorney General’s Office. The interactive portal and data are viewable and downloadable from the Internet.
This new data has roots in “The Force Report,” a 2018 NJ Advance Media investigation that covers the period of 2012-2016. During this time, documentation of Use of Force (UOF) by the police was not recorded as effectively and the information was not entirely accurate. Under current policy within 24 hours of an incident all NJ law enforcement officers are required to submit detailed information about every UOF they perform or witness onto a new online form.
Other significant statewide policing reforms implemented by the state Attorney General’s Office include:
- Establishing a mandatory 10-step process for conducting independent criminal investigations involving any serious UOF or death-in-custody incident in New Jersey.
- Requiring that all state, county, and local law enforcement agencies create and maintain an “early warning system” to identify at-risk officers and provide remedial services before their conduct escalates.
- Overhauling the statewide protocols for the internal disciplinary process for police departments, imposing new oversight and ensuring thorough investigations on faster timelines.
- Issuing a series of new directives designed to strengthen trust between law enforcement officers and historically marginalized communities, including immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, at-risk juveniles, and victims of sexual assault.