The Garden State announced it will update its use-of-force policy for law enforcement officers with the aim of reducing violent interactions with civilians.
The statewide policy — which was last updated two decades ago — will emphasize de-escalation techniques and prohibit officers from using force except as a last resort.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said it was the first overhaul of its kind in the country.
“You might see similar policies in individual jurisdictions, but not done in the way we’re doing it statewide with the type of training we’re doing,” Grewal said.
The new use-of-force policy will take effect in 2022, after all of the state’s 38,000 law enforcement officers receive a new scenario-based training on de-escalation techniques and other strategies for limiting the use of force.
Grewal also said the state will launch a public portal where police must report use-of-force incidents within 24 hours that will be reviewed by superior officers and available to the public, a win for criminal justice advocates who have called for more transparency in policing
“The Attorney General’s use-of-force directive incorporates measures that have extraordinary potential to protect people’s rights and safety, and it creates important accountability requirements for law enforcement,” said ACLU-NJ executive director Amol Sinha, in a statement, “with the understanding that even the strongest use-of-force policies are only as effective as their implementation and enforcement.”
The policy also creates a new “duty to intervene” for police officers who witness a fellow officer using illegal or excessive force.
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