Bhalla creates Hoboken Policing Policy Task Force to review use-of-force policies

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Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla has signed an executive order creating a Policing Policy Task Force to review the local police department’s use-of-force policies.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The task force, a central component of President Barack Obama’s (D) “Commit to Action” pledge, will review use of force policies, as well as other relevant practices in the police department.

The group will then seek community feedback and report findings publicly within 90 days.

“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,” Bhalla said in a joint statement.

“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,” Ferrante added.

Both officials said that the “8 can’t wait” policies have already been implemented following the signing of the Obama Pledge, seven of which were already in place prior.

Those polices 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.

The task force consists of the following criteria and members:

3 Council members

Vanessa Falco, Emily Jabbour, and the chair of the Public Safety sub-committee: Mike Russo

2 Hoboken police officers:

Lts. 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

Former Det. Lt. Edgardo Cruz

1 Hoboken schools representative

Christopher Munoz

The city also reiterated that the Hoboken Police Department has not had a single civil suit or criminal complaint against any of their officers for excessive force over the past six years.