NJ officials seek residents input on use of force policy reform

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal (Photo by Tim Larsen/Office of the Attorney General)

Officials in New Jersey will look to residents when deciding on revamped use of force policies, the state announced Friday.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal's office has launched an online portal for concerned citizens to submit their comments on policy reform. There will also be community listening sessions in all of the state's 21 counties.

Many have called for reform of policing policies in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Organizers have marched to end police brutality in cities across America, and civil unrest has at times sparked violent riots and instances of looting. 

RELATED: Philadelphia city council proposes legislation on police reform, including ban on chokeholds

At the heart of the protests and calls for reform, outspoken protesters have urged police offices to update their use of force policies. Some municipalities have since banned officer's use of the most aggressive de-escalation techniques like chokeholds.

New Jersey will call on residents to submit their input to an online portal through August first. Residents may issue comments on any aspect of the Use of Force policy, but specifically requests input on topics that will be discussed as part of the revision process, including:

  • Specific tactics designed to subdue a subject (e.g., chokeholds, neck restraints, strikes to the head and face, use of police dogs)
  • Engaging subjects with serious mental illness or substance abuse issues
  • Exhausting all other reasonable means (e.g., verbal warnings) and pursuing de-escalation before resorting to deadly force
  • Applying force proportionate to the subject’s alleged conduct (e.g., limiting the use of force when the subject has committed a non-violent offense)
  • Less-than-lethal uses of force (e.g., bean bag shots, rubber bullets, disabling netting)
  • Duty to intervene when another officer engages in excessive use of force
  • Firing a weapon at a moving vehicle
  • High-speed car pursuits
  • Reporting and training requirements

“The Use of Force Policy affects everyone, and so everyone should have the opportunity to weigh in on its revisions,” Attorney General Grewal said.

FROM PA: Delaware County Sheriff's Office bans use of all chokeholds

Additionally, listening sessions will be held by New Jersey County Prosecutors either in-person or virtually on dates to be announced. Attorney General Grewal will begin the sessions with a virtual public forum on June 24th to discuss the Use of Force Policy and describe some of the revisions under consideration. 

Those interested can register for the forum here.


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