August 30, 2014
SENATOR TURNER REQUESTS ACTION PLAN TO IMPROVE MINORITY RECRUITMENT AMONG LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES
TRENTON - Senator Shirley K. Turner (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) released the following statement today in response to the report that the State Police graduated fewer minorities in the 154th graduating class. According to recent news articles, the 154th graduating class saw a 20 percent drop in minority graduates.
“Kudos to the State Police for going in the right direction by recruiting more female troopers. However, I am greatly disappointed that the numbers for minorities are moving in the wrong direction. There is a greater need now to step up efforts to recruit a more diverse force. We need a plan to prevent New Jersey from losing the positive ground we have gained to diversify our police forces to reflect the populations they serve and protect.
“A diverse police force not only helps provide officers with greater sensitivity to the people from various backgrounds in our communities, it also helps to improve police relations with the public. This is not the time for backsliding, in view of recent incidents that happened in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as in New York.”
According to U.S Census Bureau data, New Jersey’s population ranks as one of the most diverse in the country. Senator Turner has written to Governor Christie and Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman to request that they provide a plan on how they are going to step up their recruitment efforts to ensure that our law enforcement agencies reflect the diversity of our state’s population.
Senator Turner was the first senator to call for legislative hearings on racial profiling in New Jersey. The hearings were held 15 years ago. Senator Turner also traveled to Washington at the time with members of the Legislative Black Caucus to meet with the U.S. Attorney General’s office on the issue. Last week, Senator Turner wrote to the Port Authority to request information on minority recruitment and promotions within the Port Authority police ranks after learning about the largest graduating class of cadets in the agency’s history.
Senator Turner has recently requested legislation to require all local, county, and state law enforcement agencies to report information on minority recruitment and promotions to help improve diversity and community relations.