Gov. Phil Murphy signs legislation requiring the Department of Law and Public Safety to add implicit bias training to their cultural diversity training curriculum for law enforcement officers.

The bill would also make cultural diversity and implicit bias training mandatory and require every State, county and municipal law enforcement department to provide the training once every five years.

“To build upon on our progress to reshape policing, we must address the systemic and implicit biases that too often negatively impact relations between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” said Governor Murphy. “This action, among other critical reforms led by Attorney General Grewal, is a part of a comprehensive approach to ensure that New Jersey is second to none in demanding the highest standards of accountability and professionalism from our law enforcement officers.”

“Two years ago, we began the long, hard work of providing implicit bias training to the thousands of law enforcement officers and prosecutors who work in our Department, including at New Jersey State Police,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “This initiative required significant time and resources, but it was the right thing to do. This new law codifies these efforts so these trainings remain a permanent feature of the Department, and ensures that future Administrations continue our commitment to racial justice and excellence in policing.”

“I applaud Governor Murphy for his leadership on police reform, as this is a big step in the right direction,” said Jiles Ship, Commissioner of the New Jersey Police Training Commission and President of NOBLE New Jersey. “We are encouraged by his continued support of needed change in a very comprehensive way.”

Primary Sponsors of A3641 include Assemblymembers Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, Carol Murphy, and Britnee Timberlake, and Senators Linda Greenstein and Shirley Turner.

In a joint-statement, Assemblymembers Reynolds-Jackson, Murphy, and Timberlake said, “Implicit bias is the automatic association people make between groups of people and stereotypes about those groups. It has been shown to have significant influence on the outcomes of interactions between police and residents. Implicit bias can be expressed in relation to non-racial factors, including gender, age, religion, or sexual orientation and not only racial incidence. If there is any profession that cannot afford to have or show bias or discrimination in the act of doing their jobs, it’s law enforcement. The rise in police incidences resulting in death of men and women of color has sounded an alarm in communities throughout the nation. We must now focus on providing law enforcement agencies with the tools needed to train the officers to acknowledge implicit bias reactions and instead, keep ad impart compassion in their work in the diverse communities they serve.”

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