Black law enforcement group: No one consulted us on NJ reforms
A black law enforcement group has said it was left out of discussions leading to statewide police reforms recently announced by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.
National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives New Jersey Chapter President Jiles Ship said in a written statement "New Jersey's leading law enforcement professional organizations were not included in the development of the policies that will largely impact the communities that we serve."
Grewal has said a sweeping set of policing reforms is moving forward, with the aim of promoting a culture professionalism, accountability and transparency. The policies, known collectively as the Excellence in Policing Initiative, were first implemented in December.
This month, the state attorney general also issued guidance banning chokeholds and neck restraints by police, except in cases where the use of deadly force is necessary. And New Jersey has since announced police will have to disclose when officers are subject to serious discipline.
The state is also compiling a database of use-of-force incidents involving officers in New Jersey departments, though it's not clear what of that information will be made public, and when.
Ship said that while Grewal has consulted with community groups over the past two years, NOBLE was "disappointed and offended that we were not invited to be at the table last year with the Attorney General to share our experience and expertise."
He continued "Who better to provide insights about needed reforms than law enforcement professionals who have for decades walked the streets in the neighborhoods of New Jersey, communicating with local residents and working collaboratively with community leaders?"
"We have tremendous respect for Mr. Ship and everyone at NOBLE, which is why we regularly consult them on our law enforcement initiatives," Attorney General's Office Communications Director Sharon Lauchaire said in a written response to New Jersey 101.5 News.
Lauchaire added "We look forward to continuing our partnership with NOBLE as we work to make New Jersey a national leader on policing reform."
New Jersey's uise of force policy governs when the state’s 36,000 law enforcement officers may—and may not—use force against civilians.
Public comments are being taken on proposed reforms until August and the Office of the Attorney General said it will organize community listening sessions in all 21 counties.
Those will be launched by Grewal with an online forum on June 24.
Ship said NOBLE was glad that Grewal "will be reaching out to other stakeholders to involve them in the further development of the recommendations," adding "We hope that NOBLE, NJ Association of Chiefs of Police and other law enforcement executives, will be included."