Aiming to improve relations between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve, Assemblywoman Angela McKnight sponsors a bill that would mandate biannual community roundtable discussions on police relations in New Jersey municipalities. The Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee advanced the bill on Monday.
Under the bill (A-2654), a municipality’s chief law enforcement officer would be required to sponsor at least two community roundtable discussions on police relations annually. The Superintendent of State Police would also be required to sponsor one community roundtable discussion on police relations in the northern, central and southern regions of the State annually.
The community roundtables would address topics such as race relations and racial profiling; recruitment, selection, and retention of officers; training and education of recruits and supervisors; regulation of body worn cameras; and use of force, police misconduct, and internal affairs investigations.
These events must be held in the evening at a central location in the municipality or region and ample notice must be provided to members of the public to promote participation.
Upon committee approval of the measure, Assemblywoman McKnight (D-Hudson) issued the following statement:
“If we want to make our communities safer, we have to address the concerns between police and the communities they protect and serve. Creating a forum for open discussions with these roundtables is one way to overcome the divisive issues involving local residents and law enforcement. By giving everyone involved the opportunity to talk about difficult, complex issues such as use of force and racial profiling, we can encourage residents and police to work together to build mutual trust and identify the best solutions for their communities.”