|Contact: Richard T. Smith
4326 Harbor Beach Blvd. #775
Brigantine, NJ 08203
|NJ State Conference of NAACP Branches|
Trenton, NJ, January 16, 2014: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the New Jersey State Conference of Branches, has taken a progress report of the 2000 Consent Decree with the New Jersey State Police. The consent decree states that the New Jersey State Police will increase the number of minorities in its ranks. The NAACP has worked closely with the Attorney General’s Office and State Police to hold them accountable to the court order.
“We have had mixed results since the 2000 consent decree.” Said Richard Smith, President of the NJ NAACP. “African American numbers have dropped, but we have seen an increase in Latinos and women. As a caveat to that, African American women are almost nonexistent.” The NAACP is looking for an increase in African American male and female populations.
Melvin Warren, Criminal Justice Chair for the NAACP, said “We have to continue to work on recruitment, making sure more African Americans apply and make it through the training to become state police.” Attorney General John J Hoffman has worked with the NAACP to reevaluate the disqualification factors, specifically the association criteria, for joining the state police. With the new review process, more African Americans have been considered for the state police and in the 152nd and 153rd classes, there were increases in minority inclusion. The NAACP hopes to continue that progress.
Smith adds, “We want the Attorney General to ensure that whoever takes over the responsibility of promoting minority inclusion, that there is additional oversight.” The NAACP has found the lawsuit by retired Maj. Gerald Lewis to be concerning. If the allegations prove to be true, the NAACP would want to see a cultural change in the State Police for an atmosphere that allows for diversity throughout the various ranks.
The NAACP along with the National Action Network and black clergy are collectively committed to continue to ensure that the New Jersey State Police ultimately reflects the diversity of the State of New Jersey. “Anything other than that would be unacceptable,” said President Smith.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout New Jersey and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our five “Game Changer” issue areas at NJNAACP.org.