CRANFORD - Chief Ryan Greco of the Cranford Police Department put out a message to the community Monday morning to condemn the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.
Chief Greco's message read:
The events that led up to the death of Mr. Floyd and the complete lack of regard for human life are disturbing, sickening, and heartless. Make no mistake Mr. Floyd’s death should be considered murder at the hands of those police officers. The images and video that we have all witnessed goes against everything that law enforcement officers swore to uphold. The images in Minneapolis have caused public outcry and is a painful reminder that we as a community and police department have a tremendous amount of work to do. We can start by addressing this tragedy in no uncertain terms: we condemn the actions of those officers whose excessive force, directly or through complicity, caused the death of George Floyd.
The events which transpired in Minneapolis have understandably caused demonstrations and protests throughout our country, state, and county. We recognize and support our citizens’ constitutional right to gather, speak, and voice grievances to our government for change. These changes involve organizational policy, policing practices and culture, police use of force, and accountability of law enforcement officers. At the Cranford Police Department, we continue to address these issues in an attempt to become an innovator and leader in our profession, spending countless hours building trust and personal relationships with our residents, visitors, and community stakeholders through public outreach, dialogue, and intense reviews of our officers’ performance in the field.
In the past two years the Cranford Police Department has deployed Body Worn Cameras, launched a dedicated Community Policing Unit, trained our officers in advanced crisis intervention and de-escalation techniques, while instituting mechanisms to identify problem police officers called the “early warning system”. We have been an accredited law enforcement agency since 2006, ensuring that the policies, procedures, and values of our organization fall in line with the best practices of the most successful agencies in the State of New Jersey. These opportunities are all in the spirit of complete transparency to gain, improve, and maintain the trust of our community and its visitors. Many factors can be attributed to the events in Minneapolis: failed policy and oversight, weak recruitment practices, lack of training, and a poor organizational culture. At the Cranford Police Department, we strive to recruit individuals who have high moral and ethical principles and the ability to engage and connect with the community.
With this being said, some protests, most notably covered in the news, have experienced violence and destruction which undermines the collective end goal….change. Although we have made advances and improvements, more change to the policing culture and each organization’s policies and procedures is needed. Moving beyond this pain and frustration by our citizens will require trust, collaboration, and solutions in order to make systemic changes to our profession. We acknowledge that this is hard work, and that no matter what organizational and institutional changes happen, the historic pain will always remain as a reminder of what never to return to in our country. Change is not supposed to be easy, but equally, it is not and must never be considered impossible.
On behalf of the men and women of our organization, I welcome discussion to achieve meaningful change throughout law enforcement in our country.