Fulop: Jersey City police de-escalation training is underway, Tomahawk contract on hold

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In June, Jersey City announced that their police department would participate in a $1 million dollar, dual-pronged de-escalation training program that Mayor Steven Fulop confirmed is underway – though the interactive portion of the training remains on hold.

“We’ve held off on the Tomahawk scenario training, which is really the one that was really being questioned, and some of the public wanted more clarity and the council wanted more clarity so we’ve held off on that and we’re doing now more mediation – basic training,” Fulop said in an interview on the steps of City Hall yesterday.

“We think we have what’s regarded as the best in the industry doing this. He did de-escalation and hostage negotiation programs for the NYPD for a long period of time … the goal is to make sure that the police department continues to have the resources that they need.”

The mayor also stated that he thought the training was “a smart investment” for a department that does “a great job.”

In the June announcement, the city indicated that Jack Cambria, a retired Commanding Officer of the NYPD Hostage Negotiation Team, would teach verbal de-escalation and crisis communication for about four months, followed by a four-month session with Tomahawk Strategic Solutions to focus on interactive training in hostile situations.

While Tomahawk has previously run active shooter drills with the JCPD and other Hudson County law enforcement agencies, they received some public backlash due to having no persons of color on their team.

Fulop didn’t put a timeline on when Cambria’s portion of the training started or would end, though sources said he began his work in Jersey City some time last month.

“I have responded to and served on many high profile assignments such as both World Trade Center disasters, plane crashes, and a variety of hostage and barricade situations, particularly violent and suicidal individuals,” Cambria’s bio says.

Retiring as an NYPD lieutenant after 33-and-a-half years of service, he has also provided international hostage negotiation training and has also been a consultant in the entertainment industry on major films such as “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”

As far as the Tomahawk aspect of the training, the mayor still had nothing but good things to say about their active shooter simulations, crediting them for playing a major role in preventing the December 10th domestic terrorism incident in Jersey City from being an even bigger tragedy.

Still, he reiterated this part of the program was on hold and would remain so until all stakeholders can agree on a vendor.

“With regards to the training going forward, we’re going to work with the city council, like we said, and the Black Caucus of Hudson County to make sure that we have a program that everybody feels comfortable with.”