Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Benjie Wimberly, Charles Mainor and Gordon Johnson aimed at making law enforcement agencies in New Jersey more representative of the communities they serve gained final legislative approval from the full Assembly Thursday.
The bill (A-4850), approved by a vote of 44-21-2, would expand the Police Training Commission (PTC) membership to include one member each from the Northern New Jersey and South Jersey chapters of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE). The PTC develops and certifies basic training courses for law enforcement officers at the state, county and local level.
“Improving police-community relations starts with making sure officers receive training that equips them to respond appropriately to all the populations they will serve,” said Wimberly. “NOBLE is an organization that exists to promote fairness in the administration of justice. Including its members on this commission will further New Jersey’s ability to ensure that the rights of all people are respected.”
“It’s critical to have a diverse set of voices in the room setting the standards for what constitutes good policing,” said Mainor. “NOBLE members will bring to the table years of experience with law enforcement issues and concerns that impact minority communities.”
“NOBLE emphasizes greater inclusion and diversity at all levels of law enforcement, and its members recognize the significance of cultural sensitivity in policing,” said Johnson. “Adding members to this commission who are aware of factors that create some communities’ mistrust of the police will help make it easier for law enforcement officers to protect people across New Jersey.”
Currently, the PTC is comprised of public members, state officials and representatives of various organizations, most of which are law enforcement associations, including the: New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police; New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, Inc.; New Jersey State League of Municipalities; New Jersey State Lodge, Fraternal Order of Police; County Prosecutors’ Association of New Jersey; Sheriffs’ Association of New Jersey; Police Academy Directors Association; New Jersey County Jail Wardens Association; and New Jersey Juvenile Detention Association.
The measure now heads to the governor’s desk.