5 out of 16 Hudson County law enforcement agencies have tasers, AG survey says

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Five out of 16 Hudson County law enforcement agencies have tasers, ranking the county 12th out of 21 in New Jersey, according to a survey released by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.

Photo via loonylabs.org.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The survey includes state, county, and local law enforcement agencies, as well as college campus police, a school district police department, and bridge police.  It does not include federal agencies.

The 217 agencies with conducted energy devices (CEDs), or tasers, have a total of 3,184 CEDs.  The survey represents a snapshot of CEDs currently owned by law enforcement agencies and does not include CEDs that are in the process of being acquired by agencies.

“As we re-examine our state’s use of force policy, we must also continue to look for ways to equip officers with additional tools to do their jobs safely and effectively,” Grewal said in a statement.

“In addition to the statewide Crisis Intervention Teams that we are currently piloting and traditional de-escalation techniques, CEDs represent one more tool our officers can add to their toolkits to resolve otherwise dangerous encounters without the use of lethal force.”

Data from the survey shows that the Jersey City and Union City Police Departments both utilize 10 tasers, while the North Bergen Police Department reports 32.

Additionally, the Hudson County Department of Corrections has seven CEDs, while the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office has an even 30.

The Attorney General Supplemental Policy on Conducted Energy Devices, a statewide policy enacted in 2016, governs the use of CEDs by law enforcement officers in New Jersey and establishes training and reporting requirements.

The decision to equip officers with CEDs is left to each agency, but any agency that elects to use CEDs must comply with the Attorney General policy. The policy states that, in appropriate circumstances, CEDs can be a lifesaving alternative to deadly force.

The mandatory training for all officers equipped with CEDs includes a course on de-escalation techniques to address individuals who have special needs or mental health issues, as well as a course on de-escalating confrontations with a person from a different culture or background.

Citing the survey, Grewal indicates that 217, or 40 percent, out of the 537 law enforcement agencies in New Jersey are equipped with tasers.