Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said today that promoting local police and giving officers more training led to no fatal police shootings between 2015 and 2021, according to The Washington Post’s database.
“Part of the reason why we put the table of organization together as far as seniority goes and being diligent about promoting is so we have more supervision to help make better decisions,” Fulop told HCV during a phone interview this morning.
“We were very clear a couple years ago when Director [Tawana] Moody came on that we’d have more training. I get a weekly report on use-of-force, we monitor it very closely, and we investigate those situations thoroughly.”
He also emphasized that the JCPD, which has a little less than 1,000 officers, has been dedicating a lot more time to classes – with Deputy Chief Ben Dailey responsible for the training bureau.
Dailey was one of 11 captains promoted to deputy chief in March at a ceremony where 39 officers earned the rank of sergeant.
Furthermore, Fulop said that the city will be building a de-escalation center for the department on Linden Avenue to further facilitate better outcomes in dire circumstances.
Fatal police shootings aren’t terribly common in New Jersey, with Newark having eight and Paterson having seven during that same aforementioned six-year time frame.
“First of all, in an urban area that is complicated, police face many split-second decisions that impact many lives, including their own, and The Washington Post has shown that many cities are not moving in the direction that Jersey City is moving,” he explained.
“George Floyd brought this front and center, so if you’re actually going to build strong bonds with the community, it starts with trust and not using use-of-force in a way that compromises trust.”
WaPo wrote that 2021 saw a record high 1,047 fatal police shootings nationwide, while city officials have noted that the infamous December 10th, 2019 domestic terrorism incident at a kosher deli in Greenville that claimed four innocent lives is a state police incident (the police aspect of the shooting was also deemed justified).
Recently, Jersey City updated their Public Safety Department page with violent crime stats as of November 27th: 12 homicides, 66 shooting victims, and 52 shooting incidents.
Conversely, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, there were 17 and then 23 homicides, 93 and then 99 shooting victims, and finally 82 and 71 shooting incidents, respectively, the city website says.
“We’re having a positive year as it relates to the trends in overall crime in the city. The more you invest in training, the better outcomes you’re gonna get. We saw that same result in investment of training on Dec. 10, 2019,” Fulop said.
Out of the 12 homicides in the city this year, one was a fatal police incident: when Joseph Robertson, 59, was killed at a BP gas station after police received a 911 call about a domestic violence incident involving a man with a gun.
When asked if he felt the police budget could be handled better, given that they have gone millions over budget several times in the past few years, Fulop indicated that the overtime was necessary.
“We have invested in overtime because there’s some areas of need. We’re thankful that we’re seeing a decrease in shootings and homicides and less use-of-force. The community and police are building better relationships,” he replied.
He also indicated that there would be a press conference next week to discuss end-of-year crime stats and other topics related to the police department.