Last night, the Scotch Plains Town Council began its regular meeting by reading a Resolution Condemning Racism and two ceremonial Proclamations, one in observation of Juneteenth, the other commemorating PRIDE month. I wrote the Resolution Condemning Racism and the Proclamation commemorating PRIDE month and was pleased that the Council unanimously supported each.
Each council member spoke after the ceremonial recitals were read. We all supported the peaceful marches and sit-ins in our town and across the world. I was especially moved listening to Councilman Roshan “Roc” White, a Black American and a veteran of our armed forces, as he shared his own experiences about racism and his wish that people of all backgrounds and ethnicities start calling out racism whenever they see it. I agree and think this simple practice would eventually bring an end to the jokes in poor taste, to say the least.
In Scotch Plains, we will continue ensuring that our police officers are properly trained and that deadly force is used only when it is lawful. Many residents inquired about the “#8cantwait” campaign. Chief Ted Conley responded by indicating that our police department’s policy is consistent with all eight topics, such as the banning of chokeholds and strangleholds, the policy of de-escalation and using deadly force only when legally required. Moreover, since the Scotch Plains Police Department is an Accredited Agency, every use of force must be reviewed by the Platoon Commander, and the body worn camera video footage that is recorded of the incident for every officer that is in attendance at the event is reviewed. Additionally, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office performs an independent comprehensive review of every use of force incident in Union County.
As we move forward and the quarantine restrictions being imposed on all of us continue to be lifted, let us all be reminded how fortunate it is to reside in a community such as ours. I believe that residents in Scotch Plains overwhelmingly support their police force and are grateful how hard they work daily to ensure our safety. We also have hundreds of residents volunteering their time to discuss difficult topics, such as racism and discrimination. I believe these conversations will make our town stronger as we proudly and regularly demonstrate that we have zero tolerance for hate and that, on the contrary, we are an open and diverse township that is open to all persons of all races, creeds, ethnicity and sexual orientation.