HACKENSACK, N.J. -- Mayor John Labrosse and the City of Hackensack have taken the first step of former President Barack Obama’s “Mayor’s Pledge” by completing a comprehensive internal review of the Hackensack Police Department’s Use of Force policies, as well as examining statistics on arrests and other police interactions over the last five years.
Mayor Labrosse and the City Council announced last month that they would be taking on the “Mayor’s Pledge” in the wake of nationwide protests following the murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who was killed at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after crushing his neck with the weight of his knee for nearly nine minutes while Floyd laid on the ground during an arrest on Memorial Day. Chauvin has since been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter.
“All Hackensack residents deserve to be able to feel safe in their own neighborhoods, and whether that means reducing crime or improving police-community relationships, the City Council is determined to make that the case,” said Mayor Labrosse. “I would like to thank Captain Busciglio and his staff for their willingness to work with us in this process and their dedication to our city, and I look forward to announcing steps to involve the community in this effort soon.”
City Manager Ted Ehrenburg, who is a former police chief with decades of law enforcement experience, led the city’s initial review of the department’s policies and its use of force statistics. The information provided to the city showed that use of force complaints have declined in recent years, with only one complaint filed each year in 2018 and 2019 and no complaints filed thus far in 2020. The Police Department has also instituted an Early Warning System where every use of force incident is subjected to a meaningful review by a ranking superior. The system is designed to proactively identify officers with multiple use of force incidents so they can be given additional training, counseling or disciplinary action if needed.
The "Mayor's Pledge" is an advocacy initiative by the Obama Foundation and the My Brother's Keeper Alliance, calling on mayors across the county to commit to the following actions:
- Reviewing the police use of force policies in their municipalities;
- Engaging the community by including a diverse range of input, experiences, and stories in your review;
- Report the findings of the review to the community and seek feedback; and
- Reform the communities' use of force policies.