Call to Action: Reform

Dear Editor:

We’re in need of serious reform of police in New Jersey and the nation.

There needs to be a New Jersey standards update that makes it difficult for citizens to become police officers. The state police requires a college education and continued learning; meanwhile there are municipalities that require nothing more than a high school diploma and a minimum age of 18 to be hired.

We need to mandate defensive skills training and minimum requirements. We need to repeal laws that shield police officers from lawsuits and accountability. We need to build a database for decertified police officers so they can’t be hired in the next town over.

None of this is controversial. Police officers should be held to higher standards. It should not be a back up career for people who have otherwise failed to integrate into society. We need all of this and more to occur before this country can begin healing. We can’t call for an end to protests if absolutely no corrective action is taken.

I have confidence that effective legislation can be enacted and hope Rep. Mikie Sherrill, Sen. Cory Anthony Booker, Sen. Robert Menendez, Gov. Phil Murphy, Sen. Joseph Pennacchio, and Assemblymembers Jay Webber and BettyLou DeCroce will fight for what is right, not push it off for the future.

Berkant Sivrikaya