Collecting data on the use of force by police

Electronic data collection may help to reduce incidents

Assemblywoman Angela McKnight cosponsored the bill.
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Assemblywoman Angela McKnight cosponsored the bill.

To gain a better understanding of the police use of force in New Jersey, the full Assembly approved legislation on Thursday, Aug. 27, requiring the NJ Attorney General to implement an electronic data collection and reporting system through a secure portal for tracking incidents of use of force by law enforcement officers in the state.

The Assembly voted 69-2-6 in favor of the bill.

The legislation was sponsored by Assemblywomen Angela McKnight (D-Hudson), Shavonda Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic), and Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer, Hunterdon) to require the data collection and reporting.

Fostering better relations 

The system will be searchable by law enforcement agencies and members of the public. The attorney general will develop guidelines to ensure accurate and secure transmission, storage, scrubbing, and analysis of the data.

Currently, the AG operates a pilot program in six municipalities with the database that was to be accessible to law enforcement by July 1, 2020, and to the public at a later date.

The Assemblywomen issued the a joint statement following the passage of the bill.

“With police use of force incidents coming to the forefront across the nation, we need to know where New Jersey stands in all of this. Requiring the reporting and collection of data on these incidents will help us to take steps to reduce these incidents. We will be able to identify trends in the data and help communities and police foster better, more positive relations.”

The bills will need to be approved by the Senate before heading to Gov. Murphy’s desk.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.