NJ launches new police UOF website with race data, officers' names

All officers in the state are required to submit information about every use of force they perform or witness within 24 hours

By Julie Shaw
The Philadelphia Inquirer

TRENTON, N.J. — The New Jersey Attorney General's Office on Tuesday launched a new website that catalogs police use of force in the state with details including the officer's name and the age, race and gender of the person against whom force was used.

The website, which includes reports completed between Oct. 1 of last year and Feb. 28, has information on whether injuries were sustained and if so, what type; the circumstances that led to the use of force; and the type of force used.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. (Tim Larsen/NJ Office of the Attorney General/TNS)

The data can be sorted by individual police departments or agencies. These details provide the most comprehensive statewide data on police use of force anywhere in the country, state prosecutors said.

Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal launched the website as a way to allow the state — and the public — to monitor and analyze use-of-force trends, including racial disparities. The portal was part of the state's new use-of-force policy that mandates de-escalation training for all 38,000 law enforcement officers in the state and calls for the use of force as a last resort.

"We are committed to making New Jersey a national leader on policing reform, and our Use of Force Dashboard is a central piece of that effort," Grewal said in a statement. " ... We recognize that true accountability is impossible without transparency, and we want to learn how we can make our Use of Force Dashboard as transparent and accessible as possible."

Visitors to the dashboard are encouraged to submit feedback about the site as state officials work to improve it.

All law-enforcement officers in New Jersey are required to submit detailed information about every use of force they perform or witness within 24 hours of the incident.

The unveiling of the website came on the same day state authorities said a man was fatally shot by police in Atlantic County Monday afternoon after he stole a police vehicle, then drove away a short distance before stopping.

The shooting occurred shortly before 3 p.m. in Buena Vista Township after an officer with the nearby Franklin Township Police Department in Gloucester County had an encounter with the man after he stopped, according to the Attorney General's Office, which did not provide further details.

Officers in Franklin Township, which assists the State Police in patrolling Buena Vista, had initially come across the man after he was involved in a motor vehicle accident at Cumberland Road and Tuckahoe Road, the Attorney General's Office said.

After one officer left his vehicle, the man hopped inside and drove away, authorities said. After a short distance, he stopped on East Oak Road, where the fatal shooting occurred.

State prosecutors did not release the man's name, age, or say where he was from. The office said the investigation was ongoing and no further information would be released at this time.

The Attorney General's Office oversees the county prosecutor offices in the state as well as all police departments. It investigates all deaths in the state that occur during an encounter with an on-duty law-enforcement officer.

(c)2021 The Philadelphia Inquirer

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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