The Berkeley Heights Police Department offers our condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of George Floyd, as well as all those in mourning across the country. We share in the sadness and frustration surrounding the tragic death of Mr. Floyd. The video is truly disturbing and simply hard to watch. The actions of the former officer who was charged with third degree murder, and the inaction of the other officers on scene who failed to intervene are contrary to police training. Police officers have a moral and legal obligation to take appropriate action if other officers are using force improperly.
In recent days, I have been asked about what our police department does to ensure that a situation like this does not happen here. I would like to assure everyone that our department strives to provide the highest level of safety and security to all members of our community in a manner that is professional and compassionate. The men and women of the Berkeley Heights Police Department understand that the foundation of everything we do is based on building public trust and community partnerships. As our mission statement explains, we believe that public trust is sacred and that it must be vigorously maintained. In an effort to strengthen the trust between our department and all members of the community, we have always maintained communication and partnerships with community stakeholders.
As a smaller police agency, we firmly believe that our ability to hire qualified people and maintain a career-long commitment to their personal and professional development gives us the ability to deploy the best possible police officers. Robust training and properly selected and trained supervisors are also critical to serving our community professionally. Our personnel are routinely trained in the prevention of bias-based policing, fair and impartial policing, use of force, and de-escalation tactics. They are sent to Crisis Intervention Training, which teaches them to interact properly with the mentally ill and developmentally disabled. In 2016, our department deployed body worn cameras, which enhances transparency and protects both the officer and the public. In 2018, we implemented an early warning system designed to detect patterns or trends in police conduct - before that conduct escalates. These initiatives and others are representative of our commitment to protect and serve the Township of Berkeley Heights and all people.
We have always felt the support and trust of the public, and we are steadfastly committed to maintaining both. I know that by coming together as a community, as we have always done, we will get through these challenging times.
Chief of Police
Berkeley Heights Police Department