‘Step in the right direction.’ Use of Force dashboard seeks to build trust between police and public
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced Tuesday that his office created a website that provides public insight into the use of force by police officers.
The dashboard, which is in its beta version, includes a handful of reforms meant to strengthen public trust in law enforcement.
State and county prosecutors are now investigating an incident in which a young man from Paterson alleges police brutality against two officers. He says that the officers assaulted him in December without reason. It is cases like this that the dashboard is meant to help prevent.
“It’s a step in the right direction. It’s not just transparency, but accountability and public trust,” says attorney David Amanullah.
Amanullah’s firm is representing the Paterson man. He says that reporting all police force used for any reason is a step toward protecting all New Jersey residents.
“You can’t improve a process without measuring it and without reporting it. You’re not measuring it accurately,” Amanullah says. “I think this does create a first step and helps modernize the process.”
Paterson’s police director was not available on Wednesday to comment on the allegations. Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh says that the police department is already working toward more transparency and accountability after, he admits, too many cases of police misconduct in his city. He applauded the new dashboard as a way to protect the public and police officers, and as a way to restore a trust between the two.
“Transparency is paramount. And also trust. This is a matter of trust. We want the community to be able to trust the people who protect and serve them,” Sayegh says.
The use of force dashboard provides details on cases dating back to October. It includes location, what type of force was used, why it was used, and the gender and race of everyone involved.
People who use the beta version of the dashboard are encouraged to complete a short survey to provide feedback.