Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean (R-Westfield) urged the passage of a bill that would require the state attorney general to gather certain demographic data about individuals who are arrested or charged with a crime.
“All New Jersey residents deserve equal protection under the law,” Kean said. “Collecting criminal justice data in a consistent and uniform matter will give policymakers and the public a more detailed and accurate understanding of how the law is being applied and enforced in New Jersey. This will help us to identify any problem areas and develop appropriate solutions that enhance public safety, protect civil rights, and strengthen police relations with the communities they serve.”
The measure has already cleared the Assembly with overwhelming support, passing its committee vote unanimously and advancing on the chamber’s floor with 78 votes in its favor and none against.
A Senate panel advanced the measure Tuesday morning.
The bill would require authorities to gather information about a defendant’s race, ethnicity, gender and age as long as the defendant was at least 18 years old when they allegedly committed a crime.
“It pains me to hear about the lack of trust between officers and communities, and the danger that creates,” Kean said. “Amassing, analyzing, and learning from this important data will help to restore trust, build hope, and drive equality in neighborhoods across New Jersey.”