Mayor Ravi S Bhalla of Hoboken has established a task force To fulfill the recent “Obama Pledge” asking mayors to commit to action on the police use of force policies, in the Hoboken Police Department. Mayor Bhalla signed an Executive Order creating the parameters of the task force, with the support of Police Chief Ferrante, which consists of nine civilian members and community advocates, and two members of the Hoboken Police Force. The task force, a central component of President Barack Obama’s “Commit to action” pledge, will review use of force policies and other relevant practices in the police department, seek community feedback, and report findings publicly within 90 days.
Mayor Bhalla and Chief Ferrante also noted that the City of Hoboken’s “use of force” order already in place has established Hoboken as one of the few cities in the tri-state region to meet all eight of the “8 can’t wait” pledge. The eight policies, which include banning chokeholds, requiring de-escalation, requiring warnings before shooting, exhausting all alternatives before shooting, duty to intervene, banning of shooting at moving vehicles, requiring use of force continuum, and the requirement of comprehensive reporting, are already in place and have previously been met by the Hoboken Police Department prior to Friday’s demonstration.
“It’s an encouraging sign that Mayors and police departments all across the country are committing to reviewing use of force policies, with the understanding that approaches such as community policing and de-escalation keeps both our police officers and community safe,” said Mayor Bhalla. “The Hoboken Police Department has set the standard for modern policing with no excessive force incidents in six years, and also with its continued community engagement in all areas of our City. I’m proud of Chief Ferrante and the members of our police department for working with this task force and finding even more ways to improve policing to serve and protect our residents.”
“I am proud of the reforms we have undertaken in the Hoboken Police Department since I became Chief in 2014, which were all done to create a professional law enforcement agency, that as my mission statement points to, is one that is community sensitive to our crime victims, our residents, our government officials, our community leaders and groups, the media, and our own officers,” said Police Chief Ken Ferrante. “We continue to strive to network with all groups that live or visit our great City. While our department has the impeccable record of not having paid out a penny in civil liability of any type in the past 8 years, I support the formulation of this task force because we are always open to finding ways to become better!”
The task force consists of the following criteria and members:
3 City Councilmembers: Vanessa Falco, Emily Jabbour and the Chair of the Public Safety sub-committee
2 Hoboken Police Officers: Lieutenants Johnathan Butler and Steven Aguiar
3 Hoboken residents: Agan Singh, Mariah Tarawally and Christy Hoffman
1 NAACP and Hoboken Housing Authority Board member: Jason Smith
1 retired police officer: Edgardo Cruz
1 Hoboken schools representative: Chris Munoz
The Hoboken Police has already distinguished itself as one of the few departments in the region that has not had a single civil suit or criminal complaint against any of its police officers for excessive force over the past six years.
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