HOBOKEN, NJ - Following up on a promise made just prior to the 10,000-strong peaceful protests that came to Hoboken nearly two weeks ago, Mayor Ravi Bhalla and Chief Kenneth Ferrante have announced the establishment of a Policing Policy Task Force.
The task force is a central component of former President Barack Obama’s “Commit to Action” pledge, calling for the review use of force policies, inclusion of community feedback, and public disclosure of findings within 90 days.
“It’s an encouraging sign that Mayors and police departments all across the country are committing to reviewing use of force policies, with the understanding that approaches such as community policing and de-escalation keeps both our police officers and community safe,” said Mayor Bhalla. “The Hoboken Police Department has set the standard for modern policing with no excessive force incidents in six years, and also with its continued community engagement in all areas of our City. I’m proud of Chief Ferrante and the members of our police department for working with this task force and finding even more ways to improve policing to serve and protect our residents.”
According to a statement by officials, Hoboken’s existing “use of force” order makes it one of the few cities in the tri-state region to meet all eight of the “8 can’t wait” pledge. The eight policies include banning chokeholds, requiring de-escalation, requiring warnings before shooting, exhausting all alternatives before shooting, duty to intervene, banning of shooting at moving vehicles, requiring use of force continuum, and the requirement of comprehensive reporting.
"I am proud of the reforms we have undertaken in the Hoboken Police Department since I became Chief in 2014, which were all done to create a professional law enforcement agency, that as my mission statement points to, is one that is community sensitive to our crime victims, our residents, our government officials, our community leaders and groups, the media, and our own officers,” said Police Chief Ken Ferrante. “We continue to strive to network with all groups that live or visit our great City. While our department has the impeccable record of not having paid out a penny in civil liability of any type in the past 8 years, I support the formulation of this task force because we are always open to finding ways to become better!”
The newly named task force will consist of:
- 3 City Councilmembers: Vanessa Falco, Emily Jabbour and the Chair of the Public Safety sub-committee (currently Councilman Mike Russo)
- 2 Hoboken Police Officers: Lieutenants Johnathan Butler and Steven Aguiar
- 3 Hoboken residents: Agan Singh, Mariah Tarawally and Christy Hoffman
- 1 NAACP and Hoboken Housing Authority Board member: Jason Smith
- 1 retired police officer: Edgardo Cruz
- 1 Hoboken schools representative: Chris Munoz
Over the past six years, the Hoboken Police Department has not had a single civil suit or criminal complaint against any of its police officers for excessive force.
"We support those in New Jersey and Hoboken, as well as those around our nation, who want to protest peacefully against racism and police brutality, and I am committed to doing anything I can to help end racism and improve police-community relations and police tactics," said Ferrante, in an editorial earlier this month.
"Stay safe, be alert, and watch out for one another, and let’s join to make positive change in our country!"
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