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Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

NJ wants to license police officers, Grewal says

By Nikita Biryukov, June 02 2020 3:09 pm

New Jersey will seek to create a professional licensure program for police officers, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced Tuesday.

The announcement, made during Tuesday’s COVID-19 briefing, follows days of mostly peaceful protests against police brutality, spurred by the killing of George Floyd, in cities and towns around the state.

“Long before this week’s protests, we committed ourselves to making New Jersey a national leader in policing reform. And we’re in this for the long haul, not because it’s easy or popular, but because it’s the right thing to do,” Grewal said.

The state, the attorney general said, intends to provide a proposal for a statewide police licensing program to the Police Training Commission sometime later month.

Grewal also announced the launch of a pilot program meant to expand the use of crisis intervention teams in the state (CITs).

CITs provide assistance to police responding to crimes or other situations involving persons with mental health disorders.

Training for such teams, Grewal said, is costly, and a limited number of firms conduct such trainings.

The pilot program will provide police departments in Atlantic City, Paterson, Trenton and Millville — as well as members of the New Jersey State Police assigned to the capital city.

Atlantic City and Trenton both saw protests turn riotous Sunday night.

Grewal further announced his office would update its use of force policy for the first time in 20 years by the end of 2020. The changes will apply to all law enforcement officers in the state.

The attorney general’s office also intends to create a team of community-relations specialists to respond to communities following certain incidents.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Attorney General on this valuable tool to help connect people to care and build trust with the communities most in need of support.” Department of Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson said.

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