Posted November 29, 2018 at 10:07 AM | Updated November 29, 2018 at 04:32 PM
By Carla Astudillo | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
You have never seen anything like this in New Jersey.
For the first time, you can now search to see how often your local police officers use any kind of force — from punches and kicks to baton blows and shootings — against someone.
See how they compare against other officers in their department, as well as officers in other departments across the state. And there are some huge disparities depending on where you live.
SEARCH YOUR TOWN OR YOUR LOCAL POLICE OFFICERS NOW
What is police use of force?
What is The Force Report?
A 16-month investigation into New Jersey’s broken system for tracking and stopping overly aggressive police officers before they cause unnecessary injuries and costly lawsuits. NJ Advance Media reporters filed 506 public records requests and collected 72,607 use-of-force forms covering 2012 through 2016, the most recent full year available.
Read the Frequently Asked Questions about The Force Report.
What did the investigation find?
New Jersey’s system for tracking police force is broken, with no statewide collection or analysis of data, little oversight by state officials and no standard practices among local departments.
Among the findings of the investigation:
- While using force is a normal and necessary part of policing, NJ Advance Media found glaring disparities across the state that warrant review.
- Whenever police use force, the stakes are high. At least 15,000 people were injured by police from 2012 through 2016.
- Statewide, a black person was more than three times more likely to face police force than someone who is white.
- The system for reporting use of force by police is a mess.
- New Jersey fails to monitor trends to flag officers who use disproportionately high amounts of force.
Read the full story about the investigation’s major findings.
What’s the state’s response?
In response to the investigation, state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal conceded the entire system for tracking police use of force was broken and promised a major overhaul.
“The reporting that you’ve done and the hoops you had to jump through to get this data are completely unnecessary,” Grewal said. “It shouldn’t have taken you a year and 500 OPRA requests, and we’re committed to making this data more available, not just to the media but to the public.
“Folks have a right to know this information.”
Read more about how N.J. failed to stop potentially abusive police officers.
Is ‘force’ the same thing as ‘excessive force’?
No. Using force is a normal and necessary part of policing to protect both the public and the officer. But experts agree it should be closely monitored in order to intervene with officers who may be pushing the boundaries of what’s acceptable or who are being outright excessive.
Read our detailed methodology about how we did this investigation.
What will I find in the database?
The database covers uses of force from 2012 through 2016 for every municipal police officer and State Police trooper. It includes detailed breakdowns on race of subjects and officers, types of force used, reasons for using force, injuries and more. And it’s all available for the public’s use now on nj.com/force.
Enter the name of your local department or any officer for their statistics and how they compare.
Search the database now.
Have a tip?
We want to hear from you about stories or trends you find in the database, or other issues related to police use of force that you think should be investigated. You can reach our team of reporters directly at email@example.com or check out our many ways to securely submit a tip at nj.com/tips.
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Read more from The Force Report:
Carla Astudillo, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, November 29, 2018, “See how often police in your town punch, kick or use other force, and how they compare to others”, https://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2018/11/see_how_often_nj_police_punch_kick_or_use_other_fo.html