According to an article by the Associated Press dated September 28, 2021, Governor Phil Murphy recently signed three bills into law directed at increasing racial diversity among law enforcement officers which will facilitate underrepresented populations to pursue law enforcement careers. Murphy also signed an executive order creating the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. The new office’s responsibilities will include, overseeing training, addressing racial/discrimination inequalities in state government, and expanding opportunities for underserved New Jersey residents.
The three laws require the state’s Civil Service Commission to implement programs to boost diversity and make law enforcement more representative and equitable as follows:
S-2765–This law requires the Civil Service Commission to analyze the racial composition of police agencies in the state to identify those that could benefit from eliminating hiring preferences based on residency. The aim of this law is to ensure the racial makeup of police forces reflect the populations of the towns they serve.
S-2766–This law requires the Civil Service Commission to establish a mentoring program for law enforcement applicants who reside in underprivileged areas. The goal of this program is to connect applicants with mentors who will assist them in navigating the application and hiring process.
S-2767–This law requires the Civil Service Commission to set up a universal background application and to develop and provide a database to collect all background information submitted by applicants, and track hiring decisions. The database will be confidential.
The purpose behind these three newly enacted laws is to address the alleged “challenges” that underrepresented groups disproportionately face; and to bring more diversity to police forces and other law enforcement agencies by reducing or eliminating the alleged “obstacles” that make it difficult for minorities to join the ranks. It will be very interesting to see the operability of these new laws and whether they have the true desired effect that the Democratic Governor, House and Senate believe that it will. In essence, other than S-2766, all that these new laws truly do is create a few studies in regard to diversity within our state’s law enforcement departments. As far as I am concerned, this information is already readily available and easily discernable. If the politicians truly seek to diversify our state’s law enforcement departments for the better, common sense dictates that a lot more than this must be done. Time will tell whether we give them an “A” for effort, or if this will be nothing more than another “feel good” project that does nothing to bring this state and country back together.