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Schaer Expresses Disappointment over Christie Veto of Bill Requiring Diversity Training for Law Enforcement throughout NJ

Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer, the lead sponsor of legislation to better prepare all local and county law enforcement agencies throughout New Jersey to handle racial, ethnic, religious and various other diversities expressed his disappointment Wednesday that Gov. Christie decided to pocket veto the timely measure.

“Given all that we’ve witnessed in the past year or two throughout the country, it’s clear that we need to place a greater emphasis on partnering law enforcement agencies with ethnic, cultural, religious and social organizations to develop strategies that encourage a meaningful understanding of one another. This bill would have done just that with little undue burden on law enforcement officers.

“Gov. Christie is apparently fine with the status quo or perhaps he just didn’t have time to thoroughly read through the bill to understand its intent. I’m dismayed at his indifference to the issue given his law enforcement background.

“Without an inherent understanding of a particular culture, there can be a tendency towards overgeneralization or labeling. This is how stereotyping is born and also how deeply divisive misunderstandings can occur. I intend to continue working with my colleagues to make sure this issue gets the attention it deserves,” said Schaer.

The bill (A-4343) would have required each county and municipal law enforcement department to develop and adopt a cultural diversity training course that includes instruction and exercises designed to promote positive interaction with the racial, ethnic, and religious communities within each department’s respective jurisdiction, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals within the community. Each municipal and county law enforcement officer would have been required to participate in the course as part of in-service training.