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Reynolds-Jackson Bill to Require De-escalation and Intervention Training for Law Enforcement Officers Advances

Bill Also Establishes Accomplice Liability for Officers

In May, the nation watched a video recording of the death of George Floyd. Mr. Floyd was held in a knee chokehold by an officer for over eight minutes without any intervention from the three fellow police officers on the scene.

Legislation requiring de-escalation and intervention training for law enforcement officers was approved by the Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee on Monday. The bill (A-4468) is sponsored by Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer, Middlesex).

“The job of a police officer is one of the toughest jobs in the world,” said Reynolds-Jackson. “We fully expect officers to look out for each other while on duty, but that also has to mean they will intervene when an interaction with a citizen has taken a turn for the worst. New Jersey law must be clear: Doing nothing to prevent the commission of an offense against a citizen is complicity.”

“We cannot rebuild community trust and forge stronger relations between our neighborhoods and police departments without requiring accountability of law enforcement.               This will require de-escalation and intervention training to prepare our officers for these situations.”

The legislation requires a four-hour de-escalation and intervention training for law enforcement officers every three years and establishes accomplice liability when law enforcement officers fail to de-escalate and intervene when another law enforcement officer commits an offense.

Under the bill, a law enforcement officer would be required to act to prevent the commission of an offense by another law enforcement officer by de-escalating and intervening in a confrontation between the other law enforcement officer and a citizen. A law enforcement officer who fails to make the proper effort to de-escalate and intervene in the confrontation would be considered an accomplice to the offense committed by the other officer.

The legislation is now poised to be considered for a vote on the Assembly floor.