TRENTON – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and social distancing measures remain in effect, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal recently announced a series of virtual meetings that, despite the public health crisis, will provide an opportunity for continued community engagement with law enforcement.
The tenth virtual meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 24, at 12 p.m. The session will be an online forum to discuss New Jersey’s current Use of Force Policy and describe some of the revisions under consideration. The Attorney General will be joined by Jonathan Parham, who previously served as the Chief of the Linden Police Department and now serves as the Director of Countywide Police Policy, Planning, and Training at the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Jiles H. Ship, Commissioner, New Jersey Police Training Commission and President, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), New Jersey Chapter and Quovella Spruill, Director of Public Safety, Franklin Township Police Department and Executive Vice President, NOBLE, New Jersey Chapter.
Anyone wishing to participate in Wednesday’s virtual event can do so by registering here.
“The Use of Force Policy affects everyone, and so everyone should have the opportunity to weigh in on its revisions,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We want to hear from a broad cross-section of our state: police officers, civil rights advocates, religious leaders, victims’ rights organizations, and community members. We especially want to hear from young people, people of color and those who have had negative experiences with law enforcement officers because we are committed to getting this right. By engaging residents across New Jersey, we will ensure that the updated policy reflects New Jersey’s values.”
Earlier this month, Attorney General Grewal first announced his intention to revise the Use of Force Policy, the first update in two decades. The initiative is part of the Attorney General’s Excellence in Policing initiative, a sweeping set of policing reforms launched in December 2019 to promote the culture of professionalism, accountability, and transparency that is the hallmark of New Jersey’s best law enforcement agencies.
In addition to the listening sessions, the revisions process will include an online portal for public comments. The public comment portal, available at nj.gov/oag/force, will accept submissions through August 1, 2020. The portal allows residents to submit comments about any aspect of the Use of Force Policy.
These virtual meetings are part of the Attorney General’s 21 County, 21st Century Community Policing Project, “21/21” for short. 21/21 was launched in 2018 as a way to promote stronger police-community relations by bringing together law enforcement and community stakeholders in every county for face-to-face town hall meetings, roundtable discussions and other outreach events. One part of the Use of Force initiative will include community listening sessions in all 21 counties. Each of New Jersey’s County Prosecutors will host an in-person or virtual event to obtain the public's view on police use of force, and these views will be shared with the Attorney General as part of the revision process.
Videos from past sessions and information on statewide listening sessions can be found on the 21/21 Community Policing Project website.
In addition to Wednesday’s session, Attorney General Grewal will host a lunch and learn to continue discussions on bias on July 1, at 12 p.m. Attorney General Grewal will be joined by Jonathan Greenblatt the Chief Executive Officer of the Anti-Defamation League and Detective David D’Amico, President, NJ Bias Crimes Officers Association and Chief Investigator, Middlesex County Department of Corrections. Those wishing to participate in the lunch and learn can register here.