JERSEY CITY, NJ - Mayor Steven Fulop has responded to the resignation of Janine Brown from the Jersey City Public Safety Citizen Advisory Board by saying it “would have been more productive if Janine had reached out to address any of her concerns over the last 2 years as she mentioned, rather than first sending a letter to the media at this moment for publicity before trying to improve the situation.”
In her letter or resignation distributed earlier this week, Brown, who describes herself as “a Jersey City Educator obsessed with excellence; Hip Hop Ed. & Restorative Justice Advocate; curator of urban success stories, ” questioned the commitment of Mayor Steven Fulop and Public Safety Director James Shea to bringing sustainable systemic changes to police procedure.
Brown would go on to say that she and her family have historically faced racial profiling and other issues when being confronted by the police in Jersey City. Despite this, she said, she continues to admire the efforts of the school resource office and the dedication of BLESC (Blacks in Law Enforcement Servicing the Community).
Appointed to the position two years ago, Brown said that she was eager to join, believing it would give her better knowledge of the inner workings of the police. The Board, she hoped, would serve as a way to strengthen relations between the community and law enforcement. “Recent incidents,” between community members and the police, she continued, made it clear that the board was ineffective at creating change.
The resignation coincides with efforts by several members of the city council, to establish a civilian body with the power to review possible police misconduct and recommend punishment. Additionally, members of the Black Lives Matter movement and some others in the community have been pushing to defund the police department and divert those funds to local social programs. For her part, Assemblywoman Angela McKnight has also pushed forward legislative efforts to reform policing.
While the majority of the Jersey City Council, as well as Fulop, have balked at the idea of taking that action, Councilmembers James Solomon and Rolando Lavaro have been vocal in their calls to cut back the police budget.
“We appreciate Janine’s feedback and we certainly recognize that cities are working through solutions, none of which are simple,” the statement issued by Fulop’s office said.
“It is public knowledge that the City Council has put in place a committee for next steps on police reform, and we look forward to working with the City Council and their board with regards to the next steps they want to take.”