In response to a surge in excessive force incidents, as well as protests against police brutality Attorney General Gurbir Grewal launched a new directive, that would require police departments to publicly release the names of officers who committed serious disciplinary violations.
It’s a move toward transparency, one that Jiles Ship supports, “we have to put mechanisms in place so that if anyone comes forward with information about a bad officer, that it’s taken seriously and it’s acted upon very swiftly.” Ship is the president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, New Jersey chapter. He says on top of transparency, departments must have diversity. “You need to have diverse thoughts at the table and representatives of those respective communities they serve in order to have communities to trust what you’re are doing.” Ship, a former Edison Police Officer and Plainfield Safety Director, says he felt slighted when Attorney General Grewal excluded his organization from taking part in developing updated police reform. “To just not have a group of ours. Who comes to the level, who comes to the tables with the level of cultural competency in knowledge, in experience, around these types of issues are relatively short sided. When a person is known to have a lot of complaints against them, that should not be confidential information. If we can’t even find out that basic information about a person how can we make an intelligent decision whether that person should move to another agency and be policing people in the community.”
“How many names would be released under that new directive? There’s slightly over 400 names we were made aware of. We are taking about members that are retired and members who are deceased.” Wayne Blanchard is the president of the state trooper fraternal association. Blanchard says he was compelled to write an open letter to the Attorney General’s office after having no input on the new policy. “We stand by that we want to make progress with the African American and other communities and the legislature and the Attorney General but we haven’t been offered that opportunity to negotiate this policy. To be excluded on one component that so significantly affects the home lives of our members is troubling.”
Blanchard says the union is willing to consider the names of troopers found guilty of excessive force or racially biased incidents if the unions are involved in the decision. He also stressed that they welcome reform and new policies, but still have yet to hear from the Attorney General’s office.