SPRINGFIELD, NJ — Following the death of George Floyd at the hands of officers from the Minneapolis Police Department, Chief John Cook and the Springfield Police Department have released a statement addressing their shock and sadness over the incident, as well as pledge to uphold ethical and community-first policing methods.
The full text of the statement is below:
The members of the Springfield Police Department, along with the Union County Police Chiefs' Association, are deeply pained and distressed by the death of George Floyd. We are not only disturbed by the improper actions of the former officer charged with murder and manslaughter, but we are equally saddened, upset, and angered that the other three former officers present made no effort to prevent this tragic loss of life.
The reprehensible and deplorable actions of these officers are inconsistent with the values we, as law enforcement officers, believe in and uphold both on personal and professional levels. In addition, the actions of the officers in Minneapolis are contrary to the practices which Springfield and Union County officers use while providing services and protection for our communities.
Union County's police officers receive continual training, especially in the areas most sensitive to law enforcement and the community. This includes extensive training in the proper use of force, substance abuse, implicit bias recognition, techniques for dealing with mentally ill individuals or those in crisis, and many other topics and issues that officers may encounter during their day-to-day interactions with members of our community. This training serves to ensure our officers provide our community with a consistent, safe, and professional police response, no matter what type of call for service they are dealing with.
In addition, all Union County police agencies work under the guidance of the NJ Attorney General’s Office on implementing and executing early warning systems that identify any potential problems with officers, such as use of force patterns, citizen complaints, police policy violations, and other 'red flag' performance indicators of misconduct, to ensure problematic behavior is rapidly addressed. All use of force incidents are documented, thoroughly investigated and then shared for review by the Union County Prosecutor's Office, establishing further transparency. Furthermore, the Springfield Police Department's accredited status through the NJ State Chiefs' of Police Association verifies all of our policies and procedures align with current best practices and protocols, and ensures accountability.
The continued professionalism and respect for the communities that we serve will always be at the forefront of our duties and will continue to be our mission. We welcome citizen groups, Clergy and leaders of our communities to engage one another, as united together with understanding, we can overcome these difficult times.
Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to Mr. Floyd’s family and friends.