Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said that the notion that COVID-19 testing was hindered for the sake of paying for police de-escalation training is “entirely false” during a virtual forum hosted by the Journal Square Community Association last night.
“There was a tremendous amount of misinformation around this and people were saying that we took money from COVID testing to give to the police department and deescalation training – that was entirely false, that was just made up information,” the mayor stated.
“We’ve actually used our police department to subsidize our testing early in the pandemic because the federal government and state government were not providing those dollars. If anything, it was the exact opposite.”
On June 18th, the city announced they would allocate $1 million for a a dual-pronged, eight-month police de-escalation training program for the entire department.
Their exact wording on how the endeavor would be paid for said “the million-dollar investment will repurpose funds recently refunded to the city for COVID-19 testing
to expand tactical awareness and communications training currently implemented in the JCPD’s Emergency Service and Counterterrorism Units.”
That, along with the fact that COVID-19 antibody testing in the city was briefly halted at the beginning of this month, inevitably led to people believe that proactive public health efforts were being scaled back in favor of aiding the JCPD.
Nevertheless, Fulop said that he’s proud of the efforts the city has made during this public health emergency, exclaiming that Jersey City has done more coronavirus testing than anywhere else in the state – and was the first to do so without state or federal funding.
“As federal funding and state funding became more available for our partners, it made sense that we widen who we can test and how we facilitate that … Lies travel around the world while the truth is getting its shoes on.”
The Jersey City Council has not voted on either aspect of the de-escalation contract yet.
More information regarding where COVID-19 testing is available in Jersey City can be found here.