JERSEY CITY, NJ - The “Use of Force” General Order for the Jersey City Police Department will be amended and clarified to be consistent with best practices, Mayor Steven Fulop announced Thursday.

“I took the pledge last night when President Obama asked mayors to step up and we are starting on Day 1 with changes and clarification where needed” said Fulop.  “We have the best police department anywhere in the country and when it is possible to be even better, we will take steps to get there.”

Over the next few weeks, the mayor said he will work in conjunction with the City Council and the community to make sure that Jersey City remains a national leader in regard to policing policy.

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This change comes in the wake of an incident that took place on Bostwick Avenue last month after police broke up a fight there, at times using both pepper spray and nightsticks. 

The general orders cover when and under what circumstances police are allowed to use force.

“In using force, the utmost restraint should be exercised. The degree of force employed in any situation should be only that reasonably necessary. Officers should exhaust all other reasonable means before resorting to the use of force,” these general orders said.

An officer is required to issue a warning before discharging his or her firearm.

“The use of chokeholds and strangleholds are not recognized tactics as part of the Jersey City Police Department Training, and should only be used as an absolute last resort in circumstances where no reasonable alternative is available to protect the officer’s safety and/or the safety of another person,” said the general order.

A police officer must intervene if he or she believes another officer is violating state law.

The rules cover the levels of threat including Order Presence, Verbal Commands, Show of Non-Deadly force (production of O/C Canister or Impact weapon), Physical Control “Empty hands” Techniques, Hand Held Aerosol Restraint (O/C Spray), Defensive Impact Weapon, Threat of Deadly Force, Conducted Energy Device and Deadly Force. The rules ban firing a weapon solely to disable moving vehicles.