Two major local organizations are plugging in the resources required to help police departments serving diverse communities identify and solve problems before they happen.
A long-running Rutgers University program, the Center on Policing, and PSEG announced an initiative Tuesday that is intended to improve police departments’ relationships with communities of color by proactively addressing practices that result in impartial policing.
As part of that, the PSEG Foundation will be pitching in $300,000 to fund the Community Engagement Police Reform Program.
Linda Tartaglia, director of the New Brunswick-based Center on Policing, explained that it is a resource center that aims to bring in law enforcement agencies for proactive reviews and possible revisions of outdated policies and training curriculum.
“The funding will help us develop this center as well as bring in subject-matter experts to give these agencies a hands-on approach with rewriting policies and providing the technical assistance needed,” she told ROI-NJ.
Tartaglia added that law enforcement agencies sometimes have no idea whether their own internal policies reflect best practices — or whether their operational tactics are seen as appropriate. Additionally, she said community feedback on said policies hasn’t always been incorporated in the past — or in any way considered. That’s exactly what this new initiative is trying to fix.
“One of the issues here is departments are always doing this in a vacuum,” Tartaglia said. “That means not having the community involved. So, we strongly suggest bringing people to the table to develop policies and training curriculum in a more collaborative fashion. That’s something that’s being done in Newark and other cities, not just in New Jersey but around the country.”