The recent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis during a routine police arrest has caused shock and heartbreak throughout our country. The images of George Floyd’s death, which were filmed and streamed throughout the world, are deeply disturbing. Americans across the nation have stopped to ask – how did this happen and why, and more importantly, what must change to keep this from happening again. George Floyd’s death must not be forgotten or dismissed. Our nation is in mourning and our hearts go out to his family.
As protests emerged in Minneapolis, then in other cities and states across the country, empathy grew as did unease. There have been protests joined by people of all races, nationalities and faiths in NJ – Camden, Newark, Trenton, Englewood, Paterson, Morristown, Ridgewood and Oakland to name a few. Most of the protesters are peaceful and wishing to share their outrage at a life lost so senselessly and to demand reforms. Sadly, there are some who are looting and damaging properties. As George Floyd’s younger brother eloquently stated on television yesterday, the looting and violence does nothing to honor his brother’s life and memory or work towards any positive change that may result from the tragedy.
I want to reassure everyone that we have been and continue to be fully committed to the safety of all of our residents and providing fair, just and professional policing in the Borough of Upper Saddle River.
Our Police Department was one of the first in Bergen County to receive law enforcement accreditation through the NJ State Association of Chiefs of Police in 2012. This is a rigorous, progressive and time-proven method of assisting law enforcement agencies to assess and improve their overall performance. The foundation of Accreditation lies in the adoption of standards containing a clear statement of professional objectives. Participating agencies conduct a thorough self-analysis to determine how existing operations can be adapted to meet these standards and objectives. When the procedures are in place, a team of trained, independent assessors verifies that the applicable standards have been successfully implemented. Accredited status represents a significant professional achievement. Accreditation acknowledges the implementation of policies and procedures that are conceptually sound and operationally effective.
Recertification is conducted every three years. The USR Police Department has been successfully re-accredited twice. The Department continues to implement new directives, mandated training and policies from the NJ Attorney General and the Bergen County Prosecutors’ Office as recommended.
The NJ Attorney General just this past fall issued a comprehensive package of policy initiatives designed to reinforce and clarify the state’s commitment to excellence in policing. These statewide reforms were designed to promote the culture of professionalism, accountability and transparency that are hallmarks of New Jersey’s best law enforcement agencies.
To further illustrate the Borough of Upper Saddle River’s resolve to provide fair and just policing and treatment of all, members of the Upper Saddle River Police Department and I will be participating in NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal’s webinar, “Let’s Talk About It: Building Police-Community Trust Across New Jersey”. This is scheduled to take place tomorrow.
The program will be a candid conversation regarding investigating officer-involved shootings and other use-of-force incidents, strengthening trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve, and promoting a culture of professionalism, accountability, and transparency among New Jersey’s law enforcement community.
May George Floyd rest in peace and may his family find solace in our nation’s shared grief and demand for progress.