The Future of Policing in New Jersey

Police departments across the state will soon undergo cultural sensitivity training, thanks to a new law passed this summer.

Amid an ongoing national conversation surrounding policing and cultural awareness, Gov. Chris Christie signed a new bill requiring the state Department of Law and Public Safety to develop an online course and training materials for police chiefs.

State Attorney General Christopher Porrino, who heads up the Department of Law and Public Safety, said the training would center on topics such as cultural awareness, racial profiling and de-escalation techniques. After undergoing the training, chiefs will draft a “cultural diversity action plan” for the rest of the department, individually tailored to their communities.

The bill represents a compromise reached after Christie vetoed a measure that would have required departments to develop diversity training on a local level. While the governor called that proposal costly and unfunded, he recognized the need for sensitivity training in departments.

The sponsors of the original bill said that while they were disappointed by the veto, the new law “takes us in the right direction.”

According to the newly signed bill, the training will “establish positive relationships between the police and various community groups” and produce “innovative strategies designed to create safe and stable neighborhoods.”

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