Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin issued an Executive Directive that formally establishes the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) within the Department of Law & Public Safety (LPS), which will be led by Assistant Attorney General Lora Fong, LPS’s current and first Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer.
Under the Directive, the Office will be responsible for the overarching strategy, oversight, and implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives within and across the Department, which is comprised of 18 divisions and approximately 7,700 employees, and whose work touches the lives of nearly every New Jersey resident.
In addition, Acting AG Platkin is releasing the Department’s most recent year-end workforce demographic data in the form of a comprehensive report reflecting the race and ethnicity of LPS employees plus gender identity metrics Department-wide and within each of LPS’s divisions, and examining representation within law enforcement, attorney, and civilian roles along with comparative benchmarks. Acting AG Platkin has also released the 2021 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion plans for each of the Department’s divisions. That report is accessible here: https://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases22/2021-Division-DI-Plan.pdf
“As the Department of Law and Public Safety has broad oversight of the State’s legal and law enforcement matters, we recognize how important it is that the Department reflects the diversity of the more than 9 million New Jersey residents we are sworn to serve,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “By formally establishing this Office we further demonstrate our commitment to an organizational culture that values and facilitates diversity, equity, and inclusion and that enables transparency and accountability, which in turn will help us advance our goals for a more representative Department.”
“The creation of this office reflects the commitment of Acting Attorney General Matt Platkin to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion by building capacity and resources in support of the transformative work that Assistant Attorney General Lora Fong has begun,” said Jayné Johnson, Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging in the Governor’s Office. “I look forward to continuing to partner with her, as we work to ensure that our state government is stronger, fairer, and more equitable.”
“Transforming a culture takes top-down commitment and resources, and I thank Acting Attorney General Platkin for his leadership and dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Assistant Attorney General Fong. “The Acting Attorney General has made diversity a priority in the appointments of his executive team and division leadership, and the changes announced today will solidify our efforts to infuse equity and inclusion in the Department’s DNA.”
New Jersey is one of the most diverse states in the nation, ranking among the top 10 U.S. states with the highest diversity index, as measured by the 2020 U.S. Census. In addition, the State reflects great diversity across socioeconomic factors, such as household income and educational attainment, as well as cultural or religious aspects, for example, in the languages spoken or faiths observed in the Garden State.
Decades of research findings establish that diverse and inclusive organizations are more successful, more innovative, and more likely to attract and retain top talent. In addition, the Department’s commitment to working with and understanding the needs and concerns of diverse communities has never been more crucial to the effectiveness and the ability of LPS to carry out its mission.
The Attorney General’s Office is providing additional resources to carry out the work of ODEI, including posting for new roles that include a senior Deputy Attorney General, analyst, and administrative support dedicated to advancing the Department’s DEI mission. Those job postings are accessible here: https://www.njoag.gov/careers/all-job-postings/
Since 2016, Assistant Attorney General Fong has served as a member of the AG’s Executive Leadership team, responsible for leading the Department’s DEI efforts. During this time the Department has established six Employee Resource Groups (Women, Military, Black, Asian, Latino/Hispanic, and LGBTQ+ employees and their allies), expanded LPS’s Diversity Council, and has created Division-specific units in support of DEI, for example, at the New Jersey State Police. The Department has further and intentionally evolved its culture to be more inclusive, promoting cross-cultural programs, delivering training and education, and re-architecting systems and processes to be more equitable and reduce unconscious bias. Though more work remains to be done, the Department is committed to sustained progress.
For more information, please visit: https://www.njoag.gov/programs/diversity-inclusion/