TapInto.net Soma Staff report
SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The following letter to the community has been issued by Police Chief Kyle Kroll, with a request that it be made available to the community at the earliest possible time:
To Our South Orange Community:
Far too often, law enforcement personnel remain silent when we should be leaders in holding others in our own profession and ranks accountable. Our lack or perceived lack of moral courage to speak can easily lead the public to believe we are complacent.
As Chief of the South Orange Police Department, I want you to know that like you, I watched the video footage of George Floyd being murdered at the hands of law enforcement. It was appalling, unnecessary, inhumane, tragic, and unacceptable. All four officers involved must be held accountable for both their actions and their inactions. Notably, not one officer intervened to protect George Floyd, a complete dereliction of their duties.
I commit to you that in our community, we are listening and working every day to do better and involve those we serve in helping us become stronger, both as a police department and a community.
Some actions we’ve taken include the following:
- Worked to ensure that our department racially reflects the community and visitors we serve. Since 2015, eleven of 18 new hires have been people of color.
- Implemented biannual use-of-force and internal affairs training and hired consultants to train our command staff in both de-escalation and lawful/unlawful application behind use of force.
- Implemented implicit bias and differential treatment training on an annual basis.
- Developed diversion programs within our Juvenile Aid Bureau while working closely with both our middle school and high school.
- Partnered with the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice to focus on situational awareness and intellectual development.
- Partnered with the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives on programs aimed at reducing tension and fear while promoting education and safety between the community and law enforcement.
South Orange has also established a Community Police Collaborative (“CPC”) in which members of the public will be involved with reviewing data, developing community outreach strategies, and evaluating training modules and professional development for our officers.
Lastly, we've committed ourselves to transparency and public notifications when officers don't hold themselves to the highest standards our community demands. Trust needs to be earned and not expected just because we wear a badge. What we all witnessed in Minneapolis was tragic beyond words and truly demoralizing to the righteous hardworking men and women of our profession. I promise you that we will continue to be forthcoming and will work diligently to remove this stain from our profession in order to restore your faith.
As protests occur both locally and nationwide, I ask all of our residents to be safe. Respectfully,
Kyle Kroll Police Chief
To read the full letter, click here